Blackberry Pop Tarts

What does one do with a load of fresh blackberries? Why, make home spun pop tarts of course. I used the dough recipe from smitten kitchen, swapped some whole wheat flour for part of the white flour and made up my own version of blackberry jam for the filling. What I love is that these pop tarts aren’t terribly sweet. The flaky crust has a noticeable hint of salt and the deeply-colored, jammy filling is dense with pure berry flavor.¬†Shouldn’t every day start this way? Probably not, actually. These are a great weekend treat.

      • For the filling:
      • 2 cups fresh blackberries, rinsed and picked over
      • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
      • 1 teaspoon corn starch
      • 1 teaspoon cold water
        • For the dough:
        • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
        • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
        • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
        • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pats
        • 2 large eggs, divided
        • 2 tablespoons whole milk
        • Confectioners’ sugar, for serving

  • Place the blackberries in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. When the berries begin to release their juices, add the sugar and stir until combined. Turn the heat up to medium high and allow the berries and sugar to come to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and allow the mixture to simmer until slightly syrupy and reduced by 1/3, about 20 minutes. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and the cold water, then add it to the saucepan with the berries. Stir for about a minute, then remove it from the heat and allow it to cool slightly before proceeding. Once the filling is cooled, you can cover it and refrigerate for up to a day.
  • For the dough, combine the flours, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel chopping blade. Pulse the machine a few times to mix the dry ingredients together. Add the butter to the bowl, then pulse until there are pea-sized lumps of butter distributed throughout the dough mixture. Transfer the mixture into a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk 1 egg with the milk. Make a well in the center of the dough, then pour the egg and milk mixture into it. Stir until the dough begins to come together. Turn the ball of dough out onto a floured surface and knead it gently to work in any crumbly pieces that remain. Divide the dough into two balls, then shape them into flat rectangles to roll out. At this point, you can chill the dough if you wish. Wrap each half tightly in plastic. You will want to allow the dough to come back to room temperature before rolling it out, or it will be difficult to work with.
  • To roll out the dough and assemble the pop tarts, start with one ball of dough. I found it helpful to have a small bowl of flour nearby for the rolling pin, counter surface and even my hands. If your kitchen is a bit warm, the dough can be difficult to work with and the flour keeps it from sticking to everything. Roll out the first lump of dough into a large rectangle, about 8 x 12 inches. Trim the excess dough from the sides (more on what to do with that below in the tips) so you have a perfect rectangle with square corners. You can incorporate the trimmings into the other ball of dough, if you’d like, or set them aside. Cut the dough in half horizontally so you have two halves that are each 4-inches in height. Then, make three vertical cuts so you have eight rectangles, each sized to roughly 4 x 3 inches (yes, I realize that the picture to the right shows my dough oriented in a 12 x 8 inch rectangle, which is a quarter turn from what I’ve just described, but you get the idea). Following the same procedure with the second ball of dough, you should have another six to eight rectangles (depending on whether you added the dough trimmings into the second ball of dough or not).
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully transfer half the dough rectangles to the parchment paper. Beat the remaining egg in a small bowl. To assemble the pop tarts, you will need a pastry brush for the egg, a fork to crimp the edges, a small spoon for the filling and a toothpick. Get these items in place before you begin to make the process smoother. Brush the rectangles on the parchment paper with egg, then place a few teaspoons of blackberry filling along the center. Be careful not to let the filling get too close to the edges, or you will have a hard time sealing them without getting sticky jam all over the place. Place the remaining rectangles on top of the jam-filled bottom rectangles and use your fingers to bring the edges together. With a fork, crimp the edges to seal. Use a toothpick to poke holes in the top of the pastry in order to let steam escape and keep them flat. See tips below about freezing the tarts at this point.
  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. While you are waiting for the oven to warm, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour.
  • Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and bake the tarts for 25 to 30 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Cool tarts on a rack.
  • To serve, dust tarts lightly with confectioners’ sugar and serve slightly warm. Store leftover tarts at room temperature in an airtight container.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. Of course, this project takes a bit of commitment. It’s an afternoon project for a rainy day. Or a hurricane, as the case may be. The beauty of it is that you can freeze your assembled, unbaked tarts between layers of wax paper. If you want to have some for later, just place frozen tarts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
  • 2. Part of the benefit of “real” pop tarts (i.e. the kind that never spoil, scary as that may be) is that you can just pop them right in the toaster and have breakfast ready in a few minutes. These homemade pop tarts are a bit delicate for a regular toaster, but if you bake up the entire batch, you can easily rewarm them a few at a time for a minute or two in a toaster oven.
  • 3. To frost or to dust? That is the question. I chose to dust, but if you can’t imagine a pop tart without frosting just thin a few tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar with some milk. When the mixture is a smooth (but not runny) consistency, spread it over the hot tarts as they come out of the oven. The frosting will melt a bit and spread out, which is why you don’t want it too thin in the first place. If you really want to get authentic, you could even sprinkle them with a bit of unnaturally bright colored sugar.
  • 4. Oh, yes, about those scraps. I formed mine into a small ball, which I rolled out into a circle. I placed the remaining few teaspoons of filling in the center, folded the edges in slightly and created a little rustic crostata. So cute!

Preparation time: 1 hour(s) 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 8

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