Pop-tart Appetizers 1.13 Concert Interruptus
“Two out of three formerly psychotic enemies - not bad. There, Pop-tart appetizers to tide you over till the pizza comes.”
For the jam filling:
2 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp cornstarch (for later)
For the Poptart:
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour,
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 and ½ sticks of butter, cut into tiny cubes (about the size of peas)
¼ cup coconut oil, chilled
¼-½ cup ice cold water
For the Icing:
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp heavy cream
A couple drops of red food coloring
Start by making the jam.
Place a small plate in the freezer to later test the thickness of your jam.
Add the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice to a medium-sized saucepan over high heat and stir gently to combine. Allow to reach a boil then lower the heat to medium.
Simmer the strawberry mixture over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour the strawberry mixture into a blender or use an immersion blender if you have one. Blend until smooth.
Take the chilled plate out of the freezer and scoop a dollop of the jam onto the plate. Wait for 30 seconds, then tilt the plate at a 45 degree angle. The jam should slowly run down the plate if it’s ready. If the jam is runny and slides down quickly, put the jam back over medium heat and cook for an additional two minutes.
Once the jam is thick enough, pour into a jar or other container. Allow to cool to room temperature then place into the fridge to cool completely.
Next, make the pastry.
After you cut the butter into pea-sized cubes, place in a small bowl and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of flour. Use your hands to fully coat the butter in flour. Store the butter in the freezer for at least 5 minutes but keep in the freezer until you’re ready for it.
In a food processor, combine the flour, both sugars, and salt.
Add the butter and coconut oil and pulse in the processor about 4-5 times or until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Pour the flour mixture into a large mixing bowl. Slowly add the water, by using a tablespoon and pouring in one tablespoon at a time. Using your hands, form a dough. If your mixture is dry, continue adding water until you are able to form a ball of dough. Be careful not to get the dough too wet. Be sure your water is as cold as possible and that you don’t handle the dough too much with your hands. You don’t want the butter to melt into the dough.
Separate the dough into 2 halves and wrap with plastic wrap or beeswax and place in the fridge for at least 3 hours.
After chilling, take out of your dough sections and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out to a 9x12 inch rectangle, using a knife or pizza cutter to trim the edges. Tip: Place the dough on parchment paper or a silicone mat to make it easier to lift the dough once it’s cut.
Then cut that rectangle into 9 equal rectangles, each measuring 3x4 inches. Place these rectangles on a lined baking sheet and place in the freezer.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take the other section of dough from the fridge and complete the same process to create 9 more 3x4 rectangles.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Beat the egg in a small bowl, then brush over the first 9 rectangles. These will be your pop-tart bases.
Mix the jam and the cornstarch to make your filling. Add about 2 tablespoons of the filling to each pop-tart base.
Place another rectangle from your second set on top of each of the bases to create the pop-tarts. Use your fingers to seal the seams.
Using a fork, create steam holes in the top of the pop-tarts. Be gentle! You can also use the fork to create a crimped patter along the edges of the pop-tarts.
Place the nine pop-tarts in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or until golden brown.
After you take the pop-tarts out of the oven and while they are cooling, prepare the icing.
In a medium bowl, mix the powdered sugar and the vanilla extract.
Add the heavy cream one tablespoon at a time, stirring between each addition. You want a thick, spreadable icing. If the icing is too thick, add more cream, but go a teaspoon at a time.
If you want pink icing, add the food coloring.
Once the pop-tarts have completely cooled, spread the icing across the top of each one.
Top with sprinkles if you wish!
Ah pop-tarts. One of the most iconic foods of Gilmore Girls, if not the most iconic. I was nervous to make these because of their Gilmore fame, and they were definitely a labor of love. When I started out to make them one afternoon, I didn’t realize quite how labor intensive they were, but when I had my first bite, it was all totally worth it. Obviously boxed pop-tarts are a staple in the Gilmore household, but I think if Lorelai and Rory ever got their hands on one of these, the box of premade pop-tarts would be kicked to the curb. Okay, maybe not all the way to the curb because the girls hate cooking, BUT they would have Sookie make these for them all the time. Naturally, I had to serve my pop-tarts in the Lorelai Gilmore way, with an apple for balance.
Now you can make your own strawberry jam for this recipe if you want, or you can use store bought jam- either is totally fine (wow, that sounded like Ina Garten [WWTBCD?]). It was fun to make my own jam, but it does add an extra few steps to an already lengthy bake. When I tested the thickness of my jam by dropping a little on a chilled plate and watching it run down, I was delighted when it formed a strawberry shape! Foods must have memories. I want to try other flavors of pop-tarts now that I have the dough making down. Growing up, my favorite flavor was brown sugar cinnamon, but I think it would be fun to attempt to make the smores flavor. What is your favorite pop-tarts flavor?
The tricky part of this recipe is working with the crust. You want to make sure to keep everything as cold as possible so that you get a nice buttery, flaky crust. When you roll out the dough after it’s chilled, you’ll want to work fairly quickly and make it as thin as possible. If you have trouble peeling the dough rectangles off your parchment paper or silicone mat, use some flour and a spatula to gently ease the dough off. If your dough does rip, that’s okay. You can gently roll the dough back out to a 3x4 rectangle if needed. Another “whoopsie” that might happen is your jam filling leaking out while the crust bakes. If this happens, it’s totally okay! When you spread the icing, it will cover up any leaks and tastes just the same. You can get creative with your sprinkles for a personal touch. I recently found Fancy Sprinkles, and I love how many fun options there are!
One of my favorite character arcs on this show is Paris Gellar’s, and this episode is pivotal in her development. I don’t feel like her bonding with Rory in this episode is forced. Though Paris agrees to go to the concert reluctantly, she ends up having fun, even in tracking down Louise and Madeline. Which by the way, I’ve never really understood how she’s friends with those two. I guess if you’re private school girls your entire lives, friend options are limited. But this episode gives us such a great Paris moment when she whispers to Rory, “you know what? I think this is the best night I’ve ever had.” Gets me right in the feels every time!
Lorelai shows us a different side of her motherhood again in this episode- the disciplinarian side of her. We got to see a little of this side in the last episode when she finds out that Rory and Lane lied to her and Mrs. Kim. We also saw it in Rory’s Dance when Rory comes home after being out all night with Dean. However, this is the first time that energy is not directed at Rory. What I like about Lorelai in this episode is that she is the fun mom that she always is, taking Rory and the girls to the concert, but as soon as she finds out that Louise and Madeline have snuck off, she changes into this new mom- the protective mom, and I am here for it. Lorelai is fleshed out a little more in this episode, and I like how she has evolved because she would have been the one to sneak away to a frat party during a concert when she was their age.
We also are introduced to Rachel in this episode. I think all of Luke’s love interests on this show are very...interesting. While I don’t really care for Nicole and don’t even get me started on how much I loathe Anna, I actually really like Rachel. I can picture her history with Luke. She ends up in Stars Hollow for a photography assignment of some sort; she falls in love with Luke because he’s charming, dependable- we know the appeal of Luke. But being the adventurer that she is, Rachel can’t stay in small town Stars Hollow forever. I think this plotline is very believable, especially because we all know that Luke is stubborn and likely wouldn’t change his ways. The storyline of Rachel popping back into Stars Hollow works really well, and it also makes Lorelai confront her feelings for Luke...or at least Sookie does.
What are your thoughts on Rachel? Let me know!
If you missed what I made last episode, catch up here!