Every month or so, I’ll be partnering with one of my favorite local sites, Brooklyn Based, to bring you an exclusive song by a Brooklyn band, recorded at Nadim Issa’s state-of-the-art recording studio in Gowanus, Let ‘Em In Music. Then, I’ll create a recipe with — or inspired by — the featured artist. This month’s mp3 is The Shondes’ cover of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” (get the free mp3 and read my feature on them here), and here are the homemade Pop-Tarts I baked with drummer Temim Fruchter.
Homemade Pop-Tarts (recipe here)
When Shondes drummer Temim Fruchter and I were brainstorming what we could make inspired by Pat Benatar, she suggested Pop-Tarts as a nod to the ’80s (so, Pop-Tarts were actually introduced in the ’60s, but kind of like I associate creamsicles with the ’90s, Pop-Tarts are her ’80s) — not to mention the obvious pop pun, and sugary sweetness of that era’s music. While writing their new record, Searchlights, The Shondes spent a lot of time listening to ’80s pop/rock for its “punky, defiant exuberance,” she said. (You can read more about that over at <a href="Brooklyn Based.)
Pastries + icing. Adapted (but not much) from Smitten Kitchen
Makes about 15 Pop-Tarts
I’ll preface this by saying that we had a couple of small missteps due to some absent-mindedness on my part. The jam oozed out of the pastries, the dough was a bit too thick, and I was reminded that I could never be a pastry chef, as I have very little patience for any treats that involve a measuring tape! That said, these still tasted great, though, not surprisingly, not quite like actual Pop-Tarts.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 more large egg (to brush on the dough)
3/4 cup jam (perhaps from this recipe?)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water (I forgot to do this part! We only used jam and it was still OK; but otherwise mix all of this together)
• Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
• Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
• Use your hands to mix in the butter until the lumps of butter are the size of peas and the mixture holds together when you squeeze it.
• In a separate bowl, whisk the first egg and milk together. Stir them into the dough, mixing just until it holds together. Knead briefly on a well-floured counter if necessary.
• Divide the dough into two pieces and shape each half into a smooth rectangle, about 3×5 inches.
• Roll the first rectangle out to about 1/8″ thick; trim the sides so it’s an even rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle into nine even pieces — as even as you can get; I am not going to encourage strict measurements, as we totally didn’t have the patience for them! Roll the extra dough from the trimmings into another rectangle and cut pieces as close as you can to the first few. Repeat with the second half of the dough.
• If you’re like us, your rectangles will NOT all be quite the same size. So, pick through them and match them up with the pieces that are closest to each other. One side will be the top and one will be the bottom. Whisk the second egg in a bowl and use a pastry brush to brush it on half the rectangles; the ones that will be the bottom.
• Scoop about a tablespoon of the jam mixture onto each of the bottom pieces, leaving about half an inch on every side.
• Now take the top halves of the pastry and set on top of the bottom half, pressing down with your fingers around the jam to seal it. Then use the teeth of a fork to seal the pastry further. Try not to leave any little holes around the edges… but if you do, like we did, it will still be OK! Lastly, use a toothpick to poke holes in the top of the pastries.
• Place on the baking sheet and stick the pans in the fridge for 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Bake the pastries for about 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden around the edges.
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons honey
A few drops of vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
• Beat all ingredients together with a whisk or electric mixer. Add more powdered sugar if it’s too thin.
• When the pastries are completely cooled, use a spatula to add the icing; top with sprinkles. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge.