Sometimes people say things that really shock me:
“That’s quite enough cake.”
“I don’t care for 80s music.”
“Please pass the potato salad.”
“We’re sold out of Diet Coke, ma’am.” (What’s worse? A morning without your favorite caffeinated beverage or being ma’amed for the first time? Riddle me that.)
A. says I should try not to be so surprised by things.
Something about continually expecting different results from the same behavior + the amount of Diet Coke that I drink = I must be a little crazy. Whatever.
I like to think of my own brand of crazy as charming.
But it really is kind of interesting that one person’s normal is another’s shocking bonkers.
I wouldn’t go to the post office in my underwear, for example. But the lady purchasing Forever stamps at my branch this morning clearly had no hesitations.
I don’t have any confrontational bumper stickers on my car.
I really can’t even stand it when I forget to put down the plastic divider on the conveyer belt at check out at the market.
Is that shocking bonkers? More so than buying Forever stamps in your underwear? I’m not sure.
A friend shocked me the other day by stating that she wasn’t interested in eating any apple pie this summer.
Wh-wh-what?? Eating apple pie during the summer is as normal as, well, apple pie! You can’t go without it. That’s just shocking bonkers.
We discussed it for a little while and she explained that she had just grown a little weary of the same old same old.
OK, I can buy that.
These pop tarts are my answer to her shocking bonkers sentiment.
I took apples, mixed them with fresh lemon juice, then cooked them down in cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel sauce that you can read more about here.
There are so many different types of caramel, but I prefer cajeta; the goat’s milk gives the finished product an earthy, grassy flavor that I have not found a match for in any other caramel sauce.
Once the apples and cajeta had cooked down, I piled them into a butter pastry pop tart crust. Seal, bake, and top with a lemon and canela glaze: buttery, sweet, lemony, appley, and shocking bonkers good. Look no further for your apple pie substitute du jour.
Now, see, at this juncture I would normally admit to you that a few of these pop tarts popped their way into my tummy as I finished up the second batch. But I wouldn’t want to shock you!
So I’ll simply offer you a Caramel Apple Pie Pop Tart and call it a day. Just don’t tell me you ate it in your underwear. That would shock me.
Cajeta Apple Pie Pop Tarts
For the pastry:
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c. unsalted butter, chilled, cubed
1/4 c. white sugar, granulated
3/4 c. water, cold (Note that the amount of water that you will need to pull your dough together may change depending on the conditions in your kitchen. I recommend starting with just one quarter cup and then adding the rest of the water a quarter cup at a time as needed.)
1 tsp. salt
For the filling:
6 Gala apples, peeled, cored, chopped (Note that you could probably use just about any apple varietal that you prefer here, although Granny Smith may be a little tart. To prepare, I peeled, cored, and chopped each apple into quarters, then each quarter into 6 chunks. The pieces don’t all need to be the same size; you will ultimately need 5 – 5 1/2 cups of apple pieces. DO NOTE THAT THE FINISHED APPLE PIECES SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BE TOSSED WITH THE FRESHLY SQUEEZED LEMON JUICE IN A SMALL BOWL.)
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 tsp. salt
1 c. cajeta (As I mentioned above, cajeta is a cooked caramel sauce made from goat’s milk. You can make your own using the recipe that I linked to above or you could substitute another caramel sauce.)
For the glaze:
3 c. confectioners’ sugar
1/2 c. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tsp. canela, ground (ground cinnamon may be substituted)
To prepare the pastry, place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse a few times just to blend. Add the cubed butter and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with bits of butter sprinkled throughout. With the processor running, add the water through the feed tube and continue to process just until a solid ball of dough forms. Remove the dough to a floured board and knead just a few times into a smooth, uniform ball. Separate the dough into two evenly sized balls, wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour or up to overnight.
Meanwhile, melt the butter for the tart filling in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add the apple and lemon mixture, salt, and cajeta, stirring to ensure that the apple pieces are evenly coated. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes reduce the heat to medium-low, quickly stir the mixture, replace the cover and cook for 15 minutes more. Remove the cooked apples from heat and set aside to cool.
When your dough has chilled and you are ready to prepare and assemble your tarts, preheat the oven to 350° and remove the dough to a well-floured work surface. Roll each piece of dough out into a rectangle that roughly measures 9″ x 16″ with an approximate thickness of 1/4″. Using a straight edge and a sharp knife or pastry cutter, trim out 24 rectangles that measure 3″ x 4″. You may need to assemble your scraps and re-roll your dough a few times to get even, accurate pieces – don’t sweat it. But if you do this more than a few times you should stick your cut pieces of dough back in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to be sure that they’re chilled through once you assemble and bake the tarts.
Once you have your tart tops and bottoms cut out, place the bottoms on parchment paper and use a tablespoon measure to spoon approximately 2 tablespoons of the apple mixture onto 12 pieces of cut pastry (I baked the tarts in sets of six, so you should have two parchment-lined trays of tarts to bake.). Carefully drape a second rectangle of pastry on top of each mound of apple and use a fork to press the top and bottom of each tart together down all four sides. Again using your fork, gently pierce the top of each tart several times to allow steam to vent. Bake your tarts for 28-32 minutes or until the edges are just turning a golden shade of brown. Remove the baked pop tarts to cool.
Meanwhile, prepare your glaze by whisking the confectioners’ sugar, canela, and lemon juice together in a large bowl.
Finish your pop tarts by generously glazing the top of each with the cinnamon lemon glaze.
YIELD: 12 pop tarts