Ready to get retro with your baked goodies? How about a batch of do-it-yourself toaster pastries?
They are easier than you think. After all, the ones you buy are nothing more than two sheets of (not particularly good) pastry dough sandwiching a sugary filling. Plus, doing them at home lets you customize the glaze and the filling. We went with a brown sugar-cinnamon filling and glaze on ours, but you could substitute any jam if you’d prefer a fruit filling. You also could ditch the glaze and sprinkle the top with coarse sugar before baking.
Once they are baked, store the pastries at room temperature for three to four days. Alternatively, for an easy do-ahead breakfast, freeze the assembled pastries on the baking sheet prior to baking. Once frozen, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and store in the freezer for up to three months. They can be baked as needed; add just a few extra minutes to the oven time.
CINNAMON-BROWN SUGAR PASTRY TARTS
Start to finish: 2 hours
For the pastry dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons melted butter
For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
2 drops cinnamon oil (or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon)
To make the pastry, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, work the butter cubes into the flour until the mixture looks mostly like coarse meal but with some pieces as large as peas.
In a small bowl, beat together the eggs, cream, water and vanilla until smooth. Pour the liquid into the butter-flour mixture and stir together first with a wooden spoon, then with your hands, mixing until a cohesive dough forms. Use a little bit of extra flour on your hands if the mixture is too moist. Pat the dough into two 8-by-5-inch rectangles that are about 1/2 inch thick. Wrap each with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, make the filling. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon and flour. Add the egg and melted butter and stir until thoroughly mixed. Cover, refrigerate and set aside.
When the dough is chilled, heat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.
On a counter lightly dusted with flour, roll 1 piece of the dough out to a 12-by-15-inch rectangle. Use a paring knife to cut the dough into 12 pieces, about 3-by-5 inches each. Arrange the pieces on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. These will be the bottoms of the pastries. Divide the filling among the bottoms, using about 2 teaspoons of filling per pastry. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch border all the way around.
Roll the second piece of the dough out to a 12-by-15-inch rectangle. Use a paring knife to cut the dough into 12 pieces, about 3-by-5 inches each. Top each pastry with one of the dough pieces, lining up the edges with the bottoms. Use your fingers to crimp the edges all the way around. Use a knife tip to poke a few vent holes through the centre of the tops of the pastries so steam can escape. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. It’s a good idea to gently lift a pastry with a spatula to check that the bottoms are lightly browned as well. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to finish cooling.
To make the glaze, in a small saucepan over medium, combine both sugars, the milk and cinnamon. Heat until the sugars are dissolved. Drizzle over the finished pastries.