Puff. Pastry. Pop. Tarts. (THIS IS NOT A DRILL)
The inspiration for these flaky little beauts came from my obsession with The Great British Bake Off; anyone who watches the show knows that the bakers spend an inordinate amount of time making “rough puff” / puff pastry. And honestly… a guy can only watch people make puff pastry so many times before deciding to tackle the task himself.
What is puff pastry?
Puff pastry is a type of laminated dough. The term “laminated dough” refers to any pastry dough that has been rolled and shaped in a way in which many layers are created of dough alternating with fat. There are various techniques for how the dough is “laminated”, but all laminated doughs go through a series of repeated folding and rolling in order to create these many layers. Now, before you back away from this recipe (because I know making puff pastry sounds intimidating)… I want you to know that one of Bon Appétit’s senior food editors, Claire Saffitz, has such a foolproof rough puff recipe with step by step photos. And if that’s still not enough to convince you, then you’ll be happy to know you can use store-bought puff pastry sheets and still end up with a delicious result!
Strawberry Cardamom Jam
Now, let’s talk about my latest obsession, and the true star of the show: strawberry cardamom jam.
Guys… where do I even begin? It has the softness and spreading power of jam and yet the translucence, if you will, of jelly; the seeded look of fig or raspberry jam and the fragrance of heaven (from the sweet/spicy/intense aromatic that the vanilla and cardamom gives the jam). It’s arguably the best jam I have ever made.
Okay, maybe it’s the only jam I’ve ever made… but let’s keep that part a secret.
In all reality, this strawberry cardamom jam is really, really simple to make. All you need in addition to the ingredients is a bit of time to stand & stir your pot on the stove. In no time at all, you’ll have created a delicious jam that you’ll be wanting to put on everything.
If your jam doesn’t set properly, there can be varying reasons as to why. It might have needed to cook longer on the stove or there is the chance that the strawberries don’t have enough natural sugar (it’s the cooking time, sugar and lemon juice, which is naturally high in pectin, that help the jam set). If you followed the directions and it didn’t set up properly, let it sit overnight in the fridge. If that step still doesn’t get it to stiffen up and set, you might try re-cooking it for a tiny bit longer and either adding in a bit of pectin or a bit more sugar and lemon (not much, just give it a taste test.)
As always, I encourage you to read the entire recipe before beginning and be sure to tag @mikebakesnyc on Instagram if you try this recipe out! Have fun and get baking!
Strawberry Cardamom Puff Pastry Pop Tarts
For the Pop Tarts:
- 16 oz strawberries hulled & coarsely chopped
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 vanilla bean
- 6 cardamom pods slightly cracked
- 2 sheets of puff pastry
For the Strawberry Glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1-2 tbsp strawberry cardamom jam
- In a large, heavy-bottom pot, mix the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, cardamom pods, and vanilla bean. Stir over medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Increase heat to medium-high and bring mixture to a rolling boil.
- Stir frequently, mashing the strawberries as you stir. Continue to boil until jam is thickened and bubbles completely cover the surface of the jam (about 10 minutes); the jam should reach 220°F.To check if your jam is done, use the wrinkle test. Before cooking the jam, put 3 or 4 small heatproof plates in the freezer. Once your jam has boiled for several minutes, take the pan off the heat and carefully spoon a little jam onto one of the cold plates. Let it stand for a minute then push the blob of jam with your finger, if the surface of the jam wrinkles then it has set, if it is still quite liquidy then put the pan back on the heat and boil the jam for another 3 to 5 minutes before testing again on the next plate.
- Once jam has set, remove the vanilla bean and cardamom pods, and spoon the jam into clean jars. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Take your thawed puff pastry, and cut each sheet into 6 rectangles. Evenly fill half of the rectangles with the chilled strawberry cardamom jam.
- Lay the remaining 6 rectangles over the filling and seal the edges by crimping with the back of a fork. Repeat until you have 6 tarts.
- Place on parchment-lined baking sheets and brush the tops of the tarts with water. Transfer to the oven and bake the tarts for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffed and deep golden brown. Let cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the milk, powdered sugar, and strawberry cardamom jam. If needed, add 1 tablespoon of milk or jam at a time to thin the glaze as desired. Drizzle the glaze over the pop tarts and allow to set at room temperature. Enjoy!
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