This week, I stumbled upon something that got Twitter, well, all a-Twitter. Who knew that a flaky, rectangular, gluten, dairy, soy, nut and egg-free turnover filled with jam could make so many allergy-sufferers go crazy? I certainly never could have predicted such excitement. As it turns out, we children of the '70's, '80's and '90's seem to have a soft spot for strawberry Pop Tarts.
I must admit that I loved Pop Tarts back in the days when wheat and eggs didn't make my skin break out in a rash and I could eat junk food without consequence (such as allergic reactions and tight jeans). I favored the brown sugar cinnamon flavor, the one that was smothered in brown frosting that was meant to look and sort of taste like maple glaze. Simply recalling the flavor and texture of my first Pop Tart brings to mind very fond childhood memories.
It was the in summer between the fifth and sixth grade that I discovered Pop Tarts. I was just starting to babysit back then, and one of the families that I worked for always had a cache of Pop Tarts in their cupboard. Since my mother refused to buy them for me, I made sure that whenever that family called I was available to work.
I remember the weather that we had that summer of 1986 and how, despite the heat and humidity, my parents refused to turn on the air conditioning. I remember that it was the first time in my life that I had a crush on a boy. I remember how much I looked forward to daytime at the pool so that I might catch a glimpse of him. I remember how excited I was to start the sixth grade and how sad I was that my best friend was moving and that my brother was leaving for college. It's hard to believe that this flood of memories was released by the mere thought of a toaster pastry that I wasn't even allowed to eat in my own house.
So, now that I think about it, I understand why so many people were excited about the Pop Tarts. Maybe they weren't the healthiest breakfast for us, but they sure conjure up happier, simpler times, and I think that that is something that all of us need right now. Who doesn't want to recreate some of that happiness for both herself and her children?
So, here they are, the gluten, dairy (casein), soy, nut and egg-free Pop Tarts that I mentioned at the beginning of this entry. Please try them out for yourself and fondly remember your childhood. Then share them with your family and create some new memories, too.
For photos of the finished product, go to http://www.allergyfreedelights.com
GF, Dairy-Free (Casein-Free), Soy-Free, Nut-Free and Egg-Free Strawberry Pop Tarts
1 1/3 cup Chinese Rice Flour
1/2 cup potato starch
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon xanthan
3/4 cup organic palm fruit oil shortening
1/4 cup ice cold water
jam of your choice
1 recipe Pop Tart Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set it aside. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the flours, salt, sugar, xanthan and palm fruit oil shortening until a course meal forms. Pour in the ice water and pulse again until a dough forms. Dump the dough out onto a sheet of parchment (if necessary, gather any loose flour into the dough and work it in until the dough is pliable), cover the dough with another sheet of parchment paper and roll it out until it is 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet of parchment and square off the sheet of the dough with a sharp knife. Keeping it flat, refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and cut the dough into 12 4 1/2 inch squares or 6 9 inch by 4 1/2 inch rectangles. If you cut squares, spoon a dallop of preserves onto one square, cover with another square and use a fork to crimp the edges. If you made rectangles, place a dallop of preserves on the rectangle, fold it in half and crimp the edges with a fork. Lift the pastries with a metal spatula and place them on the prepared baking sheet (if this step proves tricky because the dough sticks, refrigerate the rectangles for 30 minutes before proceeding). Lightly prick the tops of the pastries with a fork, so that they resemble the top of a real Pop Tart. Bake the pastries for 10 minutes, or until the edges just begin to turn golden.
Remove from the pastries from the oven to cool on the baking sheet. If the preserves are bubbling at the edges, gently loosen the pastries by sliding a spatula under them, but do not remove them to wire racks to cool. While the pastries are cooling, make the following frosting. Frost the pastries warm and serve immediately:
Pop Tart Glaze
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon POWDERED, vanilla rice milk
1 1/2 teaspoon water (more if necessary)
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, powdered rice milk and water until a smooth frosting forms. Frost the warm pastries with the prepared glaze, sprinkle with colored sugar and serve immediately.