Rye-Pastry Pop-Tarts with Cherry Amaretto Filling and Almond Glaze

How to make Rye-Pastry Pop-Tarts with Cherry Amaretto Filling and Almond Glaze

Experimenting in the kitchen today. I've been contemplating homemade pop-tarts/hand pies for a while now and I came across a fellow blogger who was doing just that, only she was using a rye pastry that really tickled my fancy...

For a very long time, all pastry intimidated me. I wanted to make baked goods as lovely as what I'd seen in pastry shops, on the covers of food magazines, and on websites. A few year back I spent one very long pre-Thanksgiving night sweating and swearing over pie crust, my frustration removing all of the inherent pleasure I usually get from being in the kitchen. What I failed to realize is that practice makes perfect. Pastry is, in fact, rather simple to make, and the results are almost always delicious even if the first attempt doesn't exactly look the way you want it too. By the second attempt, the results are dramatically better and by the third attempt I'm usually satisfied with not only the taste, but the look of my finished product (I say usually because both macarons and cronuts took more than 3 tries to get right.)

A couple of things I decided to change from the start. First, the original recipe used a homemade rhubarb filling. I had a jar of rhubarb preserves so I used that to fill half the pies. I also had leftover sweet cherries in my fridge, so I figured I'd whip up a simple cherry pie filling. Since I used amaretto in the cherry filling, I went ahead and made a simple almond glaze to go on top. The end result, divine.

First, let's start with the filling

Cherry Pie Filling
I bet this would work even better with sour cherries, but sweet was what I had, so sweet was what I used.

1/2 lb fresh cherries, pitted
3 tblsp water
1/4 cup amaretto
pinch of salt
2 tblsp sugar (or more to taste, my cherries were sweet so this was plenty)
2 tsp lemon zest
1 tbslp cornstarch

Make a slurry with the cornstarch and 1 tbslp of water and set aside.

Place the cherries, remaining 2 tblsp water, amaretto, salt, sugar and lemon zest in a pot and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, remove from the heat, mix in the cornstarch slurry then bring back to a boil, stirring constantly until the filling has thickened. Done. Easy right? Then just place your filling in a bowl to cool and once it is room temperature, toss it into your fridge until you are ready for it.

Cherry Poptarts with Rye Pastry and Almond Glaze
Adapted from 729layers recipe here

These pop-tarts are really special because of the rye pastry. The recipe I started from adapter hers from the book Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce. It's got such and interesting flavor that I may have to get the book and try out more.

Pastry Ingredients:
150g rye flour
175g AP flour
1 tblsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
224g butter, cut into pieces and frozen
1 tblsp rye whiskey
7-8 tbslp ice water

Okay, first off, let me explain the whiskey. In pie dough, I always use vodka or applejack, to keep my dough from getting tough (alcohol won't let the dough develop gluten.) The rye pastry recipe uses no alcohol (since its a modified laminate dough, like shortcut puff pastry) but did use cider vinegar as a tenderizer. I figured the whiskey wouldn't hurt matters, you can definitely go without it, but I believe I can detect the spice from the whiskey in the finished pastry, so I'm sticking to it.

I like to have all of my ingredients cold when I make pastry, especially since I live in hot, humid FL. I measured out my flours, sugar, salt and whisked them together first, popped them into a big ziplock bag, then put the mixture, as well as my food processor bowl and blade, into the freezer for 30 minutes before starting.

Once everything is good and cold. Add your flour mixture and butter to the food processor and pulse until you get pea-sized clumps of butter. Then, slowly add you whiskey and ice water, slowly pulsing the machine to incorporate. This dough is quite shaggy, you want it to just come together when you pinch it with your fingers, you should definitely still have little lumps of butter throughout. You may not need all the ice water, so take your time, don't just dump it all in.

Once it is shaggy, but clumpable, dump the dough onto a layer of plastic wrap. Shape the shaggy dough quickly into a rectangular disc/block and toss it into your fridge to rest.

This can sit for an hour or overnight. Either way, when you are ready to move on, pull out the dough, place it on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to a large rectangle. You are now going to fold it in thirds, like a business letter. Rewrap dough and refrigerate it for 15 minutes before you roll it out and fold it agin. Repeat until you've done the tri-fold process 4 times. Don't be like me and over fold, I lost count and did an extra fold and my dough did not puff as much as I would've liked. Anyway, once you've done the last fold, your dough needs to rest (a couple of hours or overnight) so your butter stays nice and cold.

Finishing the pastries - you need:
1 egg, beaten
glaze (1 tbsp milk, 1 tsp almond extract, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup powdered sugar all mixed together)

Once you are ready to assemble and bake, preheat your oven to 400 F.

Take out your dough, cut it in half, and start by rolling out half the dough while the other half rests in the fridge.

You want to roll the dough out, keeping it rectangular, until it's about 1/8" thick. Trim off any rough or uneven edges. The original recipe says to make 9 rectangles, but, silly me, I only made 8. Place the rectangles on a piece of parchment or plastic wrap and put back in the fridge while you do the same thing with the second half of the dough.

Once you've got all 16 rectangles, start putting them together. You brush the edges of the bottom pastry with egg wash, place about a tblsp of filling in the center, lay the next rectangle carefully over the top (I pulled the top rectangles to stretch them just a bit) sealing the edges with a fork. Poke holes in the tops of your filled pastries and pop in freezer for 30 minutes or until you want to bake them (I've got several just waiting to be baked up in the next two weeks as a tasty breakfast or dessert!)

When you are ready to bake, place the frozen pop-tarts on a baking sheet, (I line with silpat or parchment) brush with egg wash, then bake at 400 F for 10 minutes to get them puffed. Then turn the temp down to 375 F and continue baking until they beautifully browned and crisp. They smell pretty heavenly too. While they are baking, make the glaze.

Once they are done baking, place them on a rack to cool (15-30 minutes, I'm impatient so I ate my first batch after just 5 minutes and burned my mouth on hot cherry filling), then glaze and eat!

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