Don’t you get upset when you slice open that fesh fruit from the market only to taste that it’s not that sweet? The one fruit that this happens to me often, is the pineapple. I purchase a whole fresh pineapple every week. We try to snack on fresh fruit, instead of packaged, on a regular basis. But I don’t get too upset these days when the pineapple isn’t as sweet as I would like it to be. I just chop it all up and prepare pineapple filling for my favorite treat, empanadas! The filling freezes well and can be used for a variety of dessert recipes. Makes a tasty jam for toast as well. For todays blog post, I decided to challenge myself and prepare “pop tarts” instead of the usual empanada I would make. I have prepared them a few times before and because I only had about 1 cup of filling, I decided to go witht the tart instead. This is a fun dessert/snack you can prepare with your kids, but big kids(my husband) enjoy this treat as well.
La Piña Tarts~Homemade Pineapple “Pop Tarts”
You Will Need:
1 small batch empanada dough
1 full cup homemade pineapple filling
Eggwash( wisk 1 egg with 2 tablespoons milk)
Colored sugar crystals
For Pineapple Filling
4 full cups of fresh pineapple, diced
3/4 to 1 cup cane sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions For Filling
Add all of the ingredients, minus the vanilla to a skillet. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and continue cooking for a good 45 minutes to 1 hour. I did not time it exactly, so just stir often and don’t walk away from it too long. When most of the liquid evaporates, the sugars will caramelize and become thick. Mix in the vanilla and remove from heat. Cool completely before using for filling. Yields about a cup.
Tips~ This is a new cooking method I like using to prepare the filling. No cornstarch slurry needed and the results are a thick and delicious pineapple filling with nothing to detract from the flavors of the fresh pineapple.
Tips~ I did not have any powdered sugar for preparing a traditonal glaze, so the colored sugar sprinkles worked out great!
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1 large egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Tips~ Try to roll it out and shape it into a rectangle shape to about 1/8 inch thickness.
1. Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until you have small and crumbly pieces. Whisk the egg with milk and vanilla. Gradually mix into the dry ingredients until dough forms. Cover and chill for 1 hour or overnight.
2. When ready, remove dough from refrigerator and divide in half. place one half back in the refrigerator. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough in the shape of a rectangle, about 12X9 more or less. Take a large knife and cut the dough into eight 2 1/2 X 3 1/2 rectangles. Place on lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and fill with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of filling, leaving a 1/2 inch border all the way around. Set aside.
3. Repeat the same process with remaining dough. Except after you brush with egg wash, place egg side down onto filled dough piece. Using your fingers to press air out and around filling. Crimp with a fork to seal. Poke a few small hole on tops to release steam. Chill for 30 minutes.
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When ready, remove tarts from refrigerator and place in the oven. Bake 16 to 20 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time. Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving. Filling will be extremely hot. Let cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Three to four day shelf life on the kitchen counter.
Notes on Recipe: yields 8 pop tarts (or 6 tarts 2 large empanadas)
2 tablespoons filling per tart
*prepared two large empanadas with torn pieces of dough
Baked for 16 to 20 minutes @ 350 degrees
Tips~ I took the torn away pieces of dough and rolled out two larger disc for empanadas. No fuss.
Tips~ Spread the filling out evenly, leaving a border.
Tips~Chill the unbaked tarts for 30 minutes for a lighter dough.
Tips~ Eggwash and sugar crystals go on right before tarts go into the oven.
Tips~ Cooling racks come in handy not just for baking, but for various jobs in the kitchen. Great for cooking bacon in the oven!
Tips~ You can use any prepared pie filling to prepare this recipe. You just want to make sure there are no big chunks of fruit and that it is a thick consistency. Don’t overfill!