We can all agree that food around a table is the greatest conversation starter, whether at first bite or over a full bottle!
And when your meal's centerpiece dish is one from every guest's childhood dreams, a wave of nostalgia carries the tide of dining dialogue.
In this case, the Pop-Tarts®-inspired hand pie is the perfect plate to bring guests back to their early years of extra-sweet mornings.
I learned recently that Kellogg has been recreating and reimagining Pop-Tarts®since the 1960s; and yet here we are today, over half-a-century later, pining over and preparing our own versions.
Personally, the brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tarts® held my top spot of favorite breakfasts as a kid (Eggo cinnamon waffles weren't far behind!). I was not allowed to indulge in one every morning for understandable reasons, but Friday mornings became into a ritual for the toasted treat.
Today, this summery, strawberry jam hand pie proves to be an excellent choice for coffee-accompanied breakfast, a brunch spread or even an afternoon snack.
This recipe is a great summer afternoon baking project to involve your kids or your girlfriends, delivering flaky and extra buttery layers and prompting little pieces to flutter off when you take the first bite. The center, which you can swap for nutella chocolate or another fruit jam if preferred, is ooey-gooey yet light enough to contrast the traditional, less sweet shortbread taste.
You'll soon find yourself doing what I always practiced as a kid on my Pop-Tarts®—savoring every little bite, first from the outer rim and eventually into the most coveted jam-filled center bite. Perhaps I took so long as a kid to eat my breakfast to avoid arriving early to elementary school!
Photos by Christen Jones
Makes 9 hand pies
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cubed
2 eggs, divided
4 tablespoons milk, divided
1 jar strawberry preserves
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it is the size of peas and the mixture begins to hold together. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and milk and add to the dough. Mix until well-combined. Knead briefly on a floured surface, if necessary, until the dough comes together.
3. Divide the dough in half. Roll out one piece of dough to about ⅛-inch thick and about 9 1/2x12 1/12 inches. Using a sharp knife, pastry wheel or bench scraper, trim the rectangle to 9×12 inches. Cut the sheet of dough into nine 3×4-inch rectangles. Using a spatula, transfer the rectangles to a baking sheet.
4. In a small bowl, whisk egg and add a splash of milk. Brush egg wash on each of the rectangles. Spoon a tablespoon of jam into the center of each rectangle, leaving a half-inch space around the edges. One at a time, place a second rectangle of dough on top of the nine assembled ones. Press around the seams of the dough to make sure they are sealed. Press the tines of a fork around the edges of the rectangles, then prick tops of the rectangles to allow steam to escape.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes, or until slightly brown. Transfer to a cooling rack immediately. Meanwhile, prepare icing by adding milk to the sugar, 1 teaspoon at a time until the desired consistency is reached. Pour glaze over the pies once cooled and sprinkle with decorating sugar or add strawberry garnish, if desired.
*Dough may be refrigerated for up to 2 days. If you refrigerate the dough, let it come to room temperature for about 15 minutes before rolling out.
*Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container.