Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing


 
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean
Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean

Hi hi from Montauk! We are up here for  few days with Richard's Mum and Sisters who are over visiting from home! So far we've eaten a couple of giant salads made with ingredients from the local farm stand, a few fish tacos, and have indulged in a lot of blobbing about. It's going to be so nice to have a wee break from the city!

I just wanted to pop by and share this recipe with you while we are still in stone fruit season here in the states, although it can be made with a jar of your fave preserves. I had some extra puff pastry left over from a project, and a bowl full of amazingly fresh apricots, so pop tarts really were a great mistake waiting to happen. This recipe is incredibly versatile and can really be made with any type of puff pastry - fresh or home made, or a store bought jam, or one you have made yourself. However you choose to make them, I promise they will be delicious. If you haven't made your own jam before I really do encourage you to give it a try - it's super easy and the most amazing way to preserve fruit when it is at its peak long after the season ends. And you can't go wrong with the butteriest, flakiest of puff pastries, and a vanilla bean icing. Enjoy!

A few wee tips:

  • The apricot jam does take some time to cool, so ensure that you leave time for this. If you need it to cool faster, you can place it into a shallow dish to increase the surface area. 
  • Make sure you sterilise your jars and lids - I like to put the jars in the oven at about 300˚f for 15 mins to kill off any germs. I then put the lids in boiling water and leave them in there until I am ready to use them.
  • This recipe is easily customisable - you can use store bought puff, and definitely can use a regular store bought jar of jam or preserves inside. 
  • It is also very easy to scale - the recipe makes about 3 jars of jam, so make as few or as many as you like. They do freeze very well too - freeze until solid then transfer to an airtight container, then bake when you are ready. 
  • I use a homemade puff pastry in this recipe because that is what I had leftover, but since making and shooting these I have also been playing around with a rough puff pastry recipe which is a bit easier to make and just as delicious, so you could absolutely use that too.
  • Apparently people put pop tarts in the toaster? I definitely wouldn't recommend that with these - if you would like to reheat, a few minutes in a preheated oven would help crisp them up a little - just bear in mind the icing might get a bit melty.
 

 

Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing

- Makes about 9 pop tarts -

Pastry Recipe via The Fearless Baker, Apricot jam filling slightly adapted from David Lebovitz

Pastry
1/2 recipe Homemade puff pastry, or 1/2 recipe of Rough Puff pastry, or about 700g good quality store bought puff pastry (the filling recipe makes more than enough jam, so this can be easily scaled depending on how many you want to make, and they freeze very well)

Apricot Jam Filling
1kg apricots, pit removed and roughly chopped
60g (1/4 cup) water
600g sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
pinch of kosher salt
Juice of half a lemon

Vanilla Bean Icing
150g Powdered sugar, Sifted
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Egg wash - 1 egg whisked with 1 tbsp milk 

- PROCESS -

APRICOT JAM FILLING

Place a small plate in the freezer to use later to check the gelling of the jam. 

In a Large heavy bottomed pot (I used a dutch oven), bring the apricots and water to a gentle boil, and then cook, stirring often, until the fruit is tender. 

Add the sugar and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to reduce slightly, or reaches 105˚c / 220˚f on a candy thermometer. Skim off any foam if it develops.This generally takes me about 15-20 minutes, and I prefer to use the thermometer method and double check with the plate method.

To double check if the jam is done, place about a tablespoon on the frozen plate, then return to the freezer for 2-3 minutes (remove the jam from the heat while you wait to ensure that it does not overcook). Give the jam on the plate a little nudge with your finger - if it wrinkles, it is done. 

Ladle the finished jam into the sterilised jars, and screw the lids on tightly. Allow to cool completely, then store in the fridge.

 

ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 375˚f / 190˚c. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry into a large rectangle. If you are worried about it getting too warm and soft, you can cut it in half and do this in two parts. Using a ruler and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, cut the pastry into 3" x 4" rectangles (7cm x 10cm). You should get approximately 18 rectangles. Place the cut rectangles carefully onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, and refrigerate for 10 mins to help firm up the pastry slightly. 

Remove the pastry rectangles from the fridge and match up into pairs. Lightly brush the edges of one piece of pastry with egg wash, then place about a tablespoon of apricot jam in the centre. Top with a second piece of pastry, pressing down lightly around the edges to seal, ensuring that there are no air bubbles. Use the tines of a fork to press down around the edges to help seal. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining rectangles of pastry until all the pop tarts are assembled. 

Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer, and freeze the pop tarts for 15 minutes. Remove from the freezer, and brush lightly with egg wash. 

Bake the pop tarts for 30-35 minutes, until puffy and golden brown. Remove from the oven, cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. 

ICING

Combine all of the icing ingredients in a small bowl until a spreadable consistency. Add more powdered sugar or cream if necessary. Spoon over the pop tarts and garnish with sprinkles if desired. 

Best eaten on the same day that they are made. 

Apricot Pop Tarts with Vanilla Bean Icing - a quick apricot jam is enclosed in a buttery, flaky puff pastry, before being finished off with a vanilla bean icing. #poptart #pastry #apricot #jam #apricotjam #vanillabean

Apricot Shortcake


 
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc
Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc

I had my first strawberry shortcake last fourth of July. I was blown away for a few reasons - one being that it was amazing, but the second being that I hadn't had it before. It's just not a thing in New Zealand. We have scones, which are different to American scones, in that they are more like a biscuit. We call cookies biscuits. It gets confusing fast. The closest we probably get to a strawberry shortcake is a scone with jam and cream, but that isn't the same. 

What we refer to as 'shortcake' in New Zealand is two layers of short pastry, filled with some sort of fruit filling. Generally this is apple, and most New Zealand Grandmas have a banging recipe for it. It is drowned in icing sugar, and perfect for heroing seasonal fruit, or using up fruit that is a little worse for wear. 

I have subbed the traditional apple filling for apricots, which have just started to pop up in NYC! Yaaaay for stone fruit season! Finally. Finally I can think about fruit without having to consider the over-wintered apples and pears, and start to incorporate fresh stuff into my recipes! Going to make all of the pies this year. All of them. The great thing about this recipe is that it is super versatile - i've had it with rhubarb before, and am definitely going to try it with plum or peach this season!

This is a fairly quick thing to throw together, if you don't count the 45 minutes needed for resting the dough. A quick short crust, with a hint of vanilla bean is mixed together, rolled out and placed in a pan. We then add a layer of apricots, with just enough sugar to take the edge off, and cover it with a second piece of pastry. It is then baked until golden brown, and soon after cooling, is ready to enjoy! It's the best, I hope you try it!

A few wee notes:

  • The pastry can seem a little fragile / crumbly. If you do get a little tear or hole in it, don't worry too much, just patch it up, it will all bake up nicely in the oven!

  • If your peaches aren't quite ripe, add a little more sugar in the filling. With that being said if they are very ripe, hold back a little on the sugar.

  • Make sure this is cooled completely in the tin before you remove it for slicing!

  • If you store this in an airtight container the shortbread will go soft, so if you would like it to stay a little crispy, store this out of a container lightly covered with a paper towel.

 

 

Apricot shortcake
- Makes 16 squares-

Pastry
Sweet Pastry
190g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
450g all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Filling
600g (21oz) fresh apricots
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 c (50g) sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla paste

 

- PROCESS -

SWEET PASTRY

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing to combine before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt, and mix just to bring the dough together. Turn out onto a work surface, and bring the dough together lightly with your hands. Divide evenly into two pieces, flatten into rough square shapes, wrap tightly in plastic, and rest in the fridge for an hour.

FILLING

Remove the stones from the apricots, and cut each half into approx eight pieces. Add to a bowl and toss with the sugar, flour and vanilla. Set aside while you roll the pastry.

ASSEMBLY

Preheat the oven to 350°f / 180°c. Line a 9” square baking tin with two pieces of parchment paper, forming a “sling” so that you can easily remove the bars.

Roll out the first piece of pastry on a piece of parchment paper. Measure the size of the tin against the pastry, then trim the edges, and place the excess onto the piece of pastry, and roll out again to smooth - this ensures that your pastry is as thick as possible. Transfer to the freezer for 5 minutes, or until firmed up slightly. Remove from the freezer, and using the tin as a guide, trim to a 9” square. Place in the bottom of the baking tin, trimming if needed.

Add the prepared apricot mixture to the tin, smoothing down.

Repeat the rolling process with the second piece of pastry, and place on top of the apricot mixture.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the fruit is bubbling. Allow to cool completely in the tin before removing using the slings. Dust with powdered sugar, then slice with a sharp knife.

Store at room temperature covered lightly with a cloth or paper towel - they will go soggy if stored in an airtight container.

Apricot shortcake - a thick layer of apricot, lightly sweetened with honey, encased between layers of vanilla shortbread pastry. A classic favourite - perfect for a morning or afternoon tea. Super versatile, can be replicated with apple, pear, rhubarb etc