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As a child I loved Pop-Tarts™, those saccharine toaster pastries thick with white icing and multicoloured sprinkles that, when eaten greedily from the toaster, would scald your tongue with red-hot jam. I decided to see if I could make my own version from scratch, pastry and all, and here they are. They’re not an everyday breakfast but they’re definitely a why-the-heck-not breakfast!
Makes 8 (at 16p each)
100g unsalted butter or substitute, plus extra for greasing
200g plain flour, plus extra for the worktop
6 tablespoons cold water
6–8 tablespoons jam
6 tablespoons icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4.
First, make the pastry. Either melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave and mix it quickly into the flour to form a breadcrumb mixture – but this will need to go into the fridge for at least an hour to bring it down to a workable temperature – or cube the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips to form a fine breadcrumb consistency. This won’t need to be chilled as you haven’t heated the butter.
Add 1 tablespoon of water at a time, then mix with a knife until it just forms a dough.
Flour your worktop and tip out the dough. Now halve it, so you have a manageable amount to work with, and roll it out very thinly, 2–3mm thick. If you don’t have a rolling pin, use a jar or bottle to roll out your pastry.
When the pastry is rolled out, cut into 16 rectangles about 10cm x 7cm each. That’s a guess, by the way. Slightly bigger or slightly smaller is just fine (in fact, I want to make mini ones). Get as many rectangles as you can from your pastry, adding the cut-offs back to the rest and re-rolling as necessary.
Spread jam thinly on half of the rectangles, leaving a generous 1–2cm space around the edges for it to spread. Place a plain rectangle on top of a jammy one, and press together lightly. Trim the edges with a sharp knife to neaten.
Grease a baking sheet and place the tarts on it very carefully. Repeat these steps until all of the pastry dough is used up, making 8 in total.
Bake in the centre of the oven for 14–16 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for half an hour. Don’t worry if they feel slightly soft: they’ll harden as they cool.
Make up the icing: mix the icing sugar with 1 tablespoon of the water in a small bowl, and spread on top of the cooled tart. Add sprinkles immediately, while the icing is still soft, and leave to set. They can be eaten cold, or warmed gently in the oven. I haven’t tried mine in the toaster, I suspect it won’t end well, so stick to warming them through in the oven. I’m going to experiment with different flavours of these – thinking a chocolate and caramel one would be nice…
You can of course cheat and use ready made shortcrust pastry, too. Most supermarket own brand ones are vegan and dairy free, so if you’re nervous about making pastry or, like me, have limited mobility in your hands, grab some pastry, cut it into rectangles, and go from there.
A version of this recipe first appeared in my second cookbook, A Year In 120 Recipes. Photography by Susan Bell.
Take a look at the previous recipes in the quick and delicious series including Chickpea, carrot & coriander falafels, Caribbean style chilli, salted caramel banana cake and ultimate lasagne.