Sunday, November 6, 2011

Williams-Sonoma Toaster Pastries

I love to browse through Williams-Sonoma. I say "browse" because I can't afford most of the stuff in there ($400 frying pans???). I go to Williams-Sonoma mainly to drool over the KitchenAid Stand Mixers. I have wanted one for so long but it has never been able to make it into our final budget. However, back in June when I picked up some great Star Wars cookie cutters there, I also came across a toaster pastry press.

I had been making Homemade Pop Tarts on and off and always had a problem with the dough not being cut to the same size. I'm sure I could easily remedy that by turning it from "pop tart style" to "turnover style" but at the time I wasn't thinking like that. I was instead thinking "This would solve my problem!" It did sort of solve a problem immediately. When Mr. LH asked me what was in the bag, I could show him the toaster pastry press instead of the Star Wars cookie cutters that were hiding at the bottom of the bag as a later surprise.

Now, five months later, I pulled out that press, determined to try it. The toaster pastry press is very simple. Basically, it is a large plastic rectangular cookie cutter type piece that you use to cut your dough.

The dough will be uniform in size and have decorative edging. Once your dough is cut and filled, a second piece fits into the first that has a flat edge about 1/4 inch wide that presses your edges together.

The packaging also had a recipe on it (you can find it below). I like the recipe I have been using but I thought I would try this one, too. It looked flakier and more like pastry. Because of that, I decided to use lemon filling in the pastries to make them more like dessert rather than the breakfast-y or lunch box types that my usual pop tarts are.

I used a heaping tablespoon of filling for each one and spread the filling to within a half inch from the edges. Then I brushed egg wash around the edges, placed a second piece of dough on each and used the press to close them (so much faster than crimping the edges with a fork). Some of my dough did shrink (I believe from getting impatient in my rolling and stretching it out too much and cutting it too fast) so a couple of the seams didn't line up quite right. I just used a fork to crimp those edges closed.

These baked for 25 minutes and came out beautifully! The Girl kept peeking in the oven waiting for one to burst its' seams but they never did. They swelled up quite a bit, but the filling never seeped out of the sides. Still, you might want to consider putting a vent hole in the top center of each one.

The Williams-Sonoma recipe on the package also called for a glaze made of 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and 2 Tablespoons milk. The filling I used, while lemon flavored, did not have quite the "pow" of lemon flavor that I prefer so I made my glaze with lemon juice instead of the milk. The mixture was very thick so I added a 1/2 teaspoon of water to make it easier to spread. I spread the glaze on the pop tarts while they were still slightly warm and since we couldn't wait until they cooled completely to try them, The Girl, myself and The Boy (who usually doesn't care for anything citrus flavored) all dug in. Oh, YUM!!! I'll have to eat a warm one with a scoop of ice cream tonight! I'm thinking I need to try these with Nutella, too...

Below is the original recipe from the box. There is a printable recipe on the Williams-Sonoma website but it includes the addition of fresh fruit. I have noted what I did differently in parenthesis below.

Williams-Sonoma Toaster Pastries (printable version on Williams-Sonoma website)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
16 Tbs. (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
6 to 8 Tbs. ice water
1/2 cup strawberry or cherry preserves (I used lemon pie filling)
1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp. water
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbs. milk (I used lemon juice + 1/2 tsp. water)

In a food processor, pulse together the flour, salt and granulated sugar until combined, about 5 pulses. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, about 10 pulses. Add 6 Tbs. of the ice water and pulse 2 or 3 times. The dough should hold together when squeezed with your fingers but should not be sticky. If it is crumbly, add more water 1 tsp. at a time, pulsing twice after each addition. Turn the dough out onto a work surface, divide in half and shape each half into a disk. Wrap the disks separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight. 

(Since I don't have a food processor, I simply mixed the flour and salt in a bowl, used a pastry cutter to cut in the butter and stirred in the water with a spoon. It wasn't difficult and, I feel, was much simpler to clean up than all the pieces and parts of a food processor would be. I needed 6 1/2 Tablespoons of water.)

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out 1 dough disk into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick. Using the outer ring of a toaster pastry press, cut out 8 pastries, re-rolling the scraps as needed. Using a small offset spatula or a butter knife, spread 1 Tbs. of the preserves onto each of 4 pieces of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with the beaten egg mixture. Top each with a plain piece of dough. Place the 2-piece press on top and press the inner ring down to seal the edges. Remove the mold. Transfer the pastries to a prepared baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough disk and preserves. 

Position 1 rack in the upper third and 1 rack in the lower third of an oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 

Bake the toaster pastries until golden, about 25 minutes, reversing the positions of the baking sheets on the racks and rotating them from front to back halfway through the baking time. Let the pastries cool on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer the pastries to wire racks and let cool completely. 

(My pastries all fit on one large AirBake pan so I placed it in the middle of the oven and turned the pan around after 10 minutes)

In a bowl, stir together the confectioners’ sugar and milk until well combined. Using a spoon, lightly drizzle the icing onto the toaster pastries. Let the icing harden completely before serving. Makes 8 toaster pastries. (My batch made 9 pastries)

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Unknown said...

I want one of these cutters so badly but I can not find one anywhere!

Trish said...

They've gotten so hard to find! Sometimes you can get lucky and find one on eBay.

PFS14 said...

Thanks for posting this!
I bought one on sale years ago. At the time, my kids were very young, so I didn’t have time to try it. Now they are a older and can help. It’s nice to know it “works” and I won’t waste my time when I try it.
You mentioned you usually use a different pasty recipe. Have you posted it in your site somewhere?