A few things occur to me as I begin to write this post. One, this main photo looks an awful lot like the monster cookie stack picture from two posts ago — derp. Two, these pop tarts, while very deserving of being shared ASAP to avoid depriving the world of the recipe a moment longer, have nothing to do with Thanksgiving. Three, just over a week ago I began a weekly rewind series with a mission to begin posting more frequently than once a week. And here I am with a new post……one whole week later. (My focus was derailed mid-week by circumstances beyond my control. But I’m back on track, and I’m ready to make up for lost time by cramming in two posts, back-to-back. So today, we talk pop tarts. Then tomorrow, a slightly belated weekly rewind in the form of a Thanksgiving round-up!)
As I mentioned in last week’s post, I have been obsessing over savory pop tarts for a while. As an adult, I find myself drawn far more to savories than sweets. (That statement would have baffled my childhood self, who was the girl that built complex Lego houses designed for the sole purpose of concealing candy and then feasted on it at night when she was supposed to be sleeping. [Consequently, I was also the little girl that had a cavity almost every time she went to the dentist.]) Maybe I OD-ed on sweets. Maybe I realized that teeth are nice things to have. Either way, I’ll take a cheesy/herby filling over a jammy one any day of the week.
Now, if you happen to be/know someone that really dislikes the taste of kale, there’s no need to be skeptical of it in here. The bitterness of the kale mellows a little from stir-frying it with garlic, but there’s still enough left to balance out the buttery pastry and the cheesy-cauliflower filling. Also, this cauliflower purée definitely holds its own as a stand-alone dish, if you don’t want to bother with stuffing it all inside a pastry. (I first made it ages ago, when following a recipe where it was meant to accompany lentils. At the time, I had no idea that green lentils took such a long time to cook [seriously, 30+ minutes for those flat little discs?!], and I realized my mistake when the cauliflower was almost done. I decided to blend it up and then move on to the lentils, but one bite of the purée changed my mind. Screw the lentils! I had a spoon and an apartment where no one was home to judge me — I was good.)
Savory Kale, Garlic, & Cauliflower Purée Pop Tarts
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
yield: 16 small pop tarts
Note: These filling measurements are approximations, as I had already made the purée for something else and just kind of threw everything together until it looked/tasted right. Use your best judgement, and just remember that you’ll want between 3/4–1 cup of filling in the end.
- 1 small head of cauliflower, roughly chopped
- 1 bulb of garlic, peeled and diced
- 1 cup of water or vegetable/chicken stock
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp heavy cream (sub milk or half-and-half if you like)
- salt and pepper, to taste
Combine cauliflower, garlic, and water/stock in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan. Cover and simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes, or until cauliflower is tender. Transfer to a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients, then mash with a fork or purée with a blender until desired consistency is achieved. (This recipe will make far more than you need for the pop tarts, but you shouldn’t have any trouble making quick work of the rest in other meals.)
- 2 cups of all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp milk
- 1 additional large egg (to brush on/seal the dough)
- 3 large kale leaves, rinsed and roughly chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 cup of cheese (I used half cheddar and half parmesan)
- 1/3–1/2 cup of cauliflower purée (recipe above)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- spoonful of spicy, whole grain mustard (optional)
Another note: This dough has a tendency to get soft/sticky rather quickly, especially in warmer weather. I recommend rolling it out on parchment paper and chilling it every step of the way — it will make it a lot easier to work with.
Sift together flour and salt. Mix in butter with a pastry cutter or pulse in a food processor until pea-sized clumps form. Whisk together the first egg and the milk, then mix into the dough until everything is just combined, kneading very briefly if necessary. Divide dough in half, shape each half into a 3×5 rectangle, then refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (or up to 2 days).
While the dough is chilling, heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and the kale, and, stirring often, cook until the kale is fully wilted. Remove from heat and transfer the contents of the pan to a cutting board. Chop cooked kale into smaller bits, then transfer to a bowl. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients until well-combined, then set aside.
Remove one dough rectangle from the fridge. (If it feels a bit stiff, give it a couple minutes to soften up and become more workable.) Lightly flour dough, then roll it out into a large rectangle approximately 1/8 of an inch thick, that can be trimmed down to a 9 x 12 rectangle. (Again, I recommend rolling the dough out on parchment paper if you find it’s being a bit sticky. The process of doing this can be a little annoying, as the parchment paper has a tendency to slide. But it will be very helpful in the end.)
Cut dough into 16 even rectangles. If you’re rolled your dough out on parchment paper and it feels too soft to remove from the paper at this point, transfer the whole thing to a baking sheet and refrigerate. In the meantime, remove the other rectangle of dough from the fridge and repeat the steps above.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat. Transfer the first set of dough rectangles to the baking sheet, giving them a little bit of space between. Beat the one remaining egg, then brush it over the surface of each rectangle. Spoon around 2–3 tsp of filling into the center of each one. Remove the second batch of cut dough from the fridge. Place rectangles on top of the first set, then press with a fork to seal. Pierce pastry tops several times with a fork or skewer. If you still have some remaining egg wash, brush the tops of the pastries and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. Return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
While pop tarts are chilling, preheat the oven to 350°. When ready, remove from the fridge and bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in the pan on a rack, then dig in!