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