Pastry chefs, bakers put new twist on hand pies

BY JACKIE BURRELL
San Jose Mercury News
Modified: November 6, 2012 at 5:26 pm •  Published: November 6, 2012
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photo - Put a homemade spin on pop-tarts while satisfying our grown-up palates. Here, berry jam pop-tarts. (Mark DuFrene/Contra Costa Times/MCT)
Put a homemade spin on pop-tarts while satisfying our grown-up palates. Here, berry jam pop-tarts. (Mark DuFrene/Contra Costa Times/MCT)

Orange marmalade and mascarpone

Peanut butter and jelly

Nutella and bananas

Pumpkin and fresh sage

Pesto with fresh ricotta

Spinach and feta cheese

Ham and Gruyere

Sauteed mushrooms

Cheese, tomatoes and basil

Mashed potatoes with sauteed onions

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SOUR CHERRY “TOASTER” TARTS

Makes 12

Dough:

2 cups flour

¼ cup confectioners’ sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in chunks

1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons whole milk

Filling:

¾ cup sour cherry jam

2 teaspoons cornstarch mixed with 1 teaspoon cold water

1 large egg beaten with

1 teaspoon warm water

Glaze:

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 teaspoons whole milk

2 teaspoons corn syrup

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Sprinkles (optional)

1. For dough: In a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add butter and process until it looks like coarse crumbs. Add yolk and milk; process until dough just comes together. Dump dough onto 2 large sheets of overlapping plastic wrap. Press into a disk, wrap and chill 30 minutes or overnight.

2. In a saucepan, cook jam and cornstarch mixture over medium heat, stirring, until slightly thickened and bubbly.

3. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough in half; form into rectangles. Roll one out to 16 by 9 inches. Using a ruler and pizza cutter, cut dough into 12 3-by-4-inch rectangles. Set on a baking sheet and chill while you repeat with remaining dough.

4. Lightly brush half the rectangles with beaten egg. Dollop a tablespoon of cooled filling into the center of each. Spread it, leaving a ½-inch border. Top with a plain dough rectangle, pressing edges together with your fingertips. Don’t let the filling ooze out. Crimp edges with a fork. Put 6 tarts on each baking sheet, and prick the centers all over with the fork. Refrigerate.

5. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake tarts, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, 15-18 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

6. Whisk glaze ingredients until smooth. Spread on the tarts and decorate with sprinkles, if you’d like.

—Kim Laidlaw, “Williams- Sonoma Home Baked Comfort” (Weldon Owen, $34.95, 224 pages)

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BLUEBERRY POP TARTS WITH BLUEBERRY GLAZE

Makes 6-8

Pastry dough:

8 ½ ounces flour

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces cold butter, cut in cubes

2 egg yolks

1 ½ ounces whole milk

Filling:

1 pint fresh blueberries

3 tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste

1/8 teaspoon salt

Zest, juice of ½ a lemon

Glaze:

10 ounces powdered sugar

3-5 tablespoons blueberries

1. In a mixer fitted with a paddle, combine flour, sugar, salt and butter, mixing until butter is the size of marbles. Combine yolks and milk; add to flour mixture all at once. Mix until dough barely comes together. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

2. Dust work surface with flour and roll dough out about 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 4- to 5-inch circles. Cover and chill.

3. For the filling: Combine the blueberries, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring frequently, cook until thick and bubbly, 10-15 minutes. Add lemon juice. Let cool.

4. For the glaze, puree 3 to 5 tablespoons blueberries until smooth. Strain through a sieve. Mix puree, a tablespoon at a time, into the powdered sugar until the glaze is thick but spreadable.

5. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place half the pastry rounds on parchment-lined baking sheets. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling onto each round; wet edges with a little water. Top with remaining rounds, pressing edges to seal. Bake until golden brown, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.

6. Spread glaze over each tart. Let set, then serve.

—Annette Picha, pastry chef, Tender Greens

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SAVORY PUMPKIN POP-TART

Pastry dough:

8 ½ ounces flour, sifted

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

8 ounces cold butter, cut in cubes

2 egg yolks

¼ cup milk

Pumpkin filling:

½ pound Fairytale or Cinderella pumpkin

2 ounces butter

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Pinch nutmeg

Salt, pepper to taste

2 ounces pecans, coarsely chopped

½ tablespoon chopped sage

1 tablespoon mascarpone cheese, optional

Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

1. Combine flour, sugar and salt in an electric mixer. Add butter to the dry ingredients. Using the paddle attachment, carefully knead dough until butter is the size of marbles. Mix yolks and milk; add to flour mixture and mix until dough barely comes together. It should look shaggy.

2. Transfer dough to work surface and with your hands, press dough until it just comes together. There should be visible streaks of butter throughout. Form into a disk and chill for 4 hours.

3. Dice pumpkin into ½-inch pieces. In a heavy saute pan, heat the butter until it starts to brown slightly. Add pumpkin, brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Saute until nicely browned and tender.

4. Add chopped pecans and sage. Transfer to a bowl and cool completely. Mix in mascarpone.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough in half and roll out 1/8 inch thick. Cut into 3-by-4-inch rectangles. Repeat with other half.

6. Lay half the pastry rectangles on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place a dollop of filling in the center of each, leaving enough space to crimp the sides. Brush the edges with egg wash; top with another pastry rectangle. Crimp edges with a fork and cut a small incision in the top to vent the steam. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown.

—Sean Canavan, executive chef, Tender Greens