this recipe was born of christine's and my childhood love for brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts with NO frosting, my desire to bake something last thursday and my obsession with the book once upon a tart. to top it all off, my sister had left vegetable shortening in my fridge (which i never buy... this was actually my first time ever using it), thus creating one of those "meant to be" kind of mornings. if you do not own this book, i absolutely recommend it. it is full of all sorts of buttery goodness (also, delicious soups, salads and sandwiches).
*this is the flaky tart crust recipe from this book (these scones are also from there), but as far as the filling for these, you will just have to make up your own little butter, brown sugar and cinnamon combo because i have no recollection of how much we used of each. i am sure you cannot go wrong with any combination of those three things, however. now brace yourself for another recipe with massive amounts of butter (and shortening)...*
Flaky Tart Crust (makes enough for two 9-inch tart crusts)
- 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
- small glass of ice water
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. dump flour, sugar and salt into bowl of a food processor and pulse.
2. add butter and shortening all at once and pulse 5 to 10 times until it resembles moist crumbs and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. (they are very strict about the fact that you "pulse" not "run" your food processor).
3. dump crumbs into a big bowl. sprinkle 3 tablespoons of ice water over the surface of the crumbs.
4. use your hands to bring the dough together. add more water if you have to, 1 tablespoon at a time. the dough should be just past crumbly and just barely coming together. you don't want it to be so wet that it sticks.
5. cut the dough in half (if you are making a regular tart with this recipe, each half is enough for a 9 inch tart pan), press each into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
6. on a floured surface, roll out disk of dough as thinly as you can. cut same-size shapes out of dough. we used a round tart cutter for some, but they looked so much like silly little raviolis, that we decided to just hand-cut our own little rectangles, to more resemble pop tarts. they would also be very cute in heart shapes for valentine's day...
7. place the first layer of each tart on a baking sheet (we lined ours with parchment paper) and plop a little of your filling (whatever it may be... it would probably also be really delicious with some sort of strawberry preserves to further the valentine's theme) in the middle of each. then place the top layer of each tart on top of the filling and use a fork to press around all sides. poke holes in the top of each with your fork. at this point, you might want to brush the edges with an egg so as to keep them completely pressed, seeing as ours oozed a little, but either way they still come out delicious. bake until brown around the edges (maybe 15 minutes? i don't really remember... just sit close by with your coffee and a good book, magazine, etc. and keep an eye on the first batch).