Cooking Through Fiction: Extraordinary Apple Pop-Tarts
Extraordinary — (adjective) beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly exceptional, remarkable
I am a lover of words (a logophile). I can admit to being so nerdy that I am saddened when a word (especially hundreds of words in a language) dies. The Oxford English Dictionary labels these words obsolete. I bet thousands of words are thinking, Man, I hope I don’t become obsolete—oh, no, there goes hugger-mugger! Hugger-mugger was a real, usable word once. Feel free to bring it back. It means “to act in a secretive manner.” Sometimes I hugger-mugger in the middle of the night and eat peanut butter.
Other problems that happen to words is that they become “watered down.” Did you know that awful used to denote “inspiring awe or fear”? Now, if something is awful, it’s usually crapola (a made-up word). For example, once upon a time you could have described a cathedral as awful, but now if you said that, people would call you rude.
One word that has hung on to most of its earliest roots is extraordinary. What I love about this word and its connection to Alice Hoffman’s The Museum of Extradordinary Things is that when people in the novel label others as freaky or as abominations, Coralie calls these so-called freaks extraordinary. Aren’t people extraordinary? Isn’t it lovely to have someone see all of our differences and still think we’re beautiful or even extraordinary? Maureen makes apple fritters for all of the extraordinary people who are put on display every year in the museum, so today, we have a combination of her fritters and an extraordinary childhood love of mine: Pop-Tarts.
Extraordinary Apple Pop-Tarts
Serves: 8 large or 16 small
Difficulty Level: Average, Patience Required
For the Dough:
2 ½ c all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
16 tbsp (2 sticks) cold, unsalted butter
6-8 tbsp ice water
1 tsp water
For the Filling:
5 medium, Granny Smith apples, cut into thin slices
¾ c sugar
2 tbsp flour
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp salt
How to Make
For the Dough:
Add flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few times to combine.
Slice cold butter into ¼-inch pats, and drop into food processor. Pulse a few times.
While pulsing, pour in ice water until dough is crumbly and begins to stick together. If the dough is too dry, add more water until desired consistency is reached. Dough should stick together but not be gooey. If dough becomes too gooey, add 1 tbsp of flour at a time until stickiness is gone.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough evenly in half, and shape into two discs. Wrap in plastic wrap and store in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
For the Filling:
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together. Make sure all apple slices are coated. Set aside.
For the Pop-Tarts:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove dough from refrigerator. Roll both discs out on a floured surface. Roll dough to ¼-inch thick.
Cut dough into the desired size of pop tart. Rectangular shapes seem to work the best.
If making large pop tarts, add no more than 4-5 apple slices to bottom section of pastry. If making small pop tarts, add no more than 3-4 apple slices to bottom section of pastry. Otherwise, the pop tarts will not close properly when assembling.
After apple slices are placed on the bottom half, place other half of pastry on top. Close with your fingers, pinching along all four sides until pop tarts are sealed.
Beat egg with water, and brush the tops of all pop tarts with egg wash.
Using a sharp knife, cut 2-3 slits in top of pop tarts to allow steam to vent.
Bake for 25-31 minutes depending on desired brownness of pastry.
Serve hot and enjoy!