Orange-Ricotta Pop Tarts

Holy crap, I am obsessed with Weeds. These things tend to happen in the winter: Netflix streaming and dark evenings somehow make me extraordinarily motivated…  To sit on my couch and catch up on pop culture.  Watch all the things!  Yes!

I’m not doing so hot; Weeds premiered in 2005, you know?  I would have an easier time forgetting just how late I am to the party if it weren’t for the cell phones.  Old-school flip phones with that familiar greenish-grey/black display.  Shows about drug dealers feature phones A LOT.

On this schedule, I’ll be ready to discuss Girls and Downton Abbey in 2021.  Let’s make it a date, okay?

I’ll bring homemade pop tarts.

This has been on my to-do list for a while.  First thanks to the ever-brilliant and inspiring Deb from Smitten Kitchen. Then I had this killer homemade sweet potato pop tart at Dottie’s True Blue in San Francisco.  I guess I tend to get around to baking projects slightly more quickly than I catch up to cool TV shows.  Slightly.

And so, here they are!  And they’re beauties.  Tender,  buttery pastry crust, and zesty, slightly sweet, citrusy, creamy-dreamy-cheesy, slightly vanilla-scented filling.  A swirl of powdered-sugar icing on top.  Pop tarts!  Made from real food!

The crust is simple, basic: flour, butter, egg, milk.

Work the butter into flour.  Combine and add the wet ingredients.

You sort of have to push it all together, maybe knead slightly, to get a cohesive ball of dough.

Divide into two parts and roll out into a rectangle!  Cut into threes each way.  You can go for perfect measurements if you’re so inclined–I’m not.  It’s all good, man.

The filling…  Oh, the filling.  I could eat it with a spoon, three meals a day, and live happily ever after.  There’s ricotta, a generous tablespoon of orange zest, some sugar and vanilla.  If you want to add mini chocolate chips…  You should be my best friend.

Cover one set of dough rectangles with an egg wash.  It holds it all together and is mucho necessary.  A heaping tablespoon of filling follows.

Top with the second set of dough rectangles.  Seal tightly…  With a fork for good measure.

Poke holes all over the top…  Steam should be able to escape.  Refrigerate for a bit while your oven warms up.

When they’re cool, it’s icing time.  This is entirely optional, especially if you plan to actually toast these in a toaster.  I’m thinking icing wouldn’t be so great in a toaster.

Drizzle all over.  Take a few minutes to let this business dry.

…Then it’s party time.  Are you in, or are you in?  What are we putting in our pop tarts next time?  What TV show do I need to watch after my Weeds binge?  I’m full of questions today.

Orange-Ricotta Pop Tarts
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

For filling:
A heaping 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese (I used part-skim)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

For dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional egg (to brush on pastry)

For icing:
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar
3-4 tablespoons fresh orange juice

To make the filling, simply stir ingredients together in a small bowl.  Set aside.

To make the pastry dough, combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl, then use your fingers or a bench knife to work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal.  (Alternatively, you can pulse it all together in a food processor; transfer to a large bowl.)   Whisk the egg and milk together and stir them into the dough until incorporated.  You may have to use your hands to knead/squeeze everything together.  Form a ball, then divide into two equal portions.

Roughly shape each half into a rectangular shape, then roll out into a roughly 9 x 13 rectangle (I used a half-size cookie sheet for guidance).  Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut this sheet into thirds each way–this should leave you with 9 rectangles.  Repeat with the other half of the dough.

Beat the other egg in a small bowl and use a pastry brush to cover the entire surface of each of the 9 rectangles you rolled out first.  Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in the center of each rectangle, and top with a rectangle from the second piece of dough you rolled out.  Press firmly around the edges to seal the dough well.  Use a fork press all around the edges again.  Repeat with remaining dough rectangles, then poke them in a few places on top with a skewer or fork, so steam may escape during baking.

Transfer tarts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake tarts for 20-25 minutes until golden brown.  Cool on a baking rack while you prepare the icing.

Stir 3 tablespoons of orange juice into the powdered sugar in a small bowl.  Add the other tablespoon of orange juice if needed–you’re looking for a toothpaste-like consistency, just thin enough to be able to pipe.  Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a small round tip, and once tarts are completely cool, decorate them with icing as you wish.

Makes 9 pastries.

16 Responses to Orange-Ricotta Pop Tarts

  1. Um, first of all, I’m in. DUH. These look and sound amazing!

    Secondly, Downton Abbey is not all it’s cracked up to be, so you can skip that. Better to save your TV hours for when Arrested Development comes back on Netflix this year. Yessss! Can I get a celebratory chicken dance?!

    “Chickens don’t clap. CHICKENS DON’T CLAP!”

  2. Ummm. I’m even more behind than you. What can I even say I am up to date on?? I don’t know – Mob Wives for one and *cringe* Duck Dynasty.
    What can I say – my house is dominated by men!
    These pop tarts. Oh my. This is why I wish we lived closer. They look f’amazing, but like so much work. Not that it will stop me – they totally look worth it!

    • They ARE worth it! But I understand. They’d be much easier if you found a good quality, all-butter ready made pie dough! All the fun, minimal fuss. I guess I just don’t have anything better to do than play with flour and butter.

  3. this will be an excellent snack to bring to my son’s kindergarten classroom for his snack day; any other ideas for filling bu any chance? maybe some fruity pie-like filling would work to? or you think those might get too soggy and liquidy inside, and might leak out during baking?

    • Hi Ausra! I’ve never tried it, but it looks like Deb, the original source for this recipe, uses jam with a little cornstarch added! I assume that would be thick enough to not get soggy.

      “3/4 cup (8 ounces) jam
      1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon cold water

      Mix the jam with the cornstarch/water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and simmer, stirring, for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and set aside to cool. Use to fill the pastry tarts.”

      There’s also a cinnamon sugar filling there, which sounds absolutely fantastic! http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/04/homemade-pop-tarts/

      • Awesome! thanks for all the ideas; they all sound great and will be implemented; although I suspect that ricotta-orange combination will be my favorite; I did not even bother to look at the original recipe; your tarts are real beauties, I especially like that lovely drizzle of icing; will make those for sure; Feb 26th will be the ultimate and unforgettable snack day in Lightning Bugs room!

  4. Hi there. The current Food on Friday on Carole’s Chatter is all about favourite foods from childhood. I do hope you link this lovely one in. This is the link . Please do pop back to check out some of the other links. Have a great week.

  5. Danguole, thank you for linking this in to Food on Friday. We are now getting a super collection of dishes we loved as kids together. I hope you have stopped by some of the other links to check them out!

    Ps I have just signed up to follow your blog. A follow back to Carole’s Chatter would be wonderful – or have you already followed? Cheers

    Ps If you would like email reminders of future Food on Fridays, just pop by and comment and include your email – I won’t publish it – and the reminder will be by bcc so it will remain private

  6. Just stopped over from Tasteologie! These look great, I’ve yet to make a homemade pop tart recipe, so I’ll definitely have to keep these in mind :) Girls & Downton Abbey are the best!!!

  7. Freaks and Geeks.

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