Butterscotch is a personal thing. Some people absolutely love it, others abhor it. It's kind of like eggnog in that way. Me, I could pop butterscotch morsels in my mouth all day long and be perfectly happy with the sweet sensation. Here's a secret. Something I love is Butter Rum Lifesavers. That happy little candy has the perfect little flavoring. I thought if I could come up with a filling that mirrored those little hard candy delights, I'd be business.
I'll admit to also having a small fascination with Pop Tarts. I don't think I've had one since I was a kid, but those sugar filled pastry pockets always do tempt me. I don't buy the ones in the store anymore, too much sugar and artificial whatever that I can't pronounce off the label. Not to mention, the ones you buy in the store, well you can't make an, ahem, "adult" version of. These babies needed rum, the real stuff. So, I set out to make my own here at home. It's not a hard process, amazingly, even this sometimes pastry-challenged baker can make it happen.
Speaking of being pastry-challenged, this one did fight back a little bit. You see, I'm silly and I don't have a pastry mat to roll this dough out onto to. I'm constantly fighting pieces of dough tearing and sticking to my "well-floured" surface. I know I'm not alone out there in saying, I'm just not good at rolling dough out. I never can get it to the right size or shape. I'm waving the white flag and saying I need a good teacher for this process. I can't be alone, right?
Luckily this recipe is forgiving and while I didn't get the right amount of pop tarts out of it, I came close. I think I'd make these into mini-versions next time anyway, a few bites is just enough.
Butter Rum Pop Tarts
Makes: 6-9 pop tarts
Source: Smitten Kitchen via King Arthur Flour
2 cups (8.5 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pats
1 large egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 additional large egg (for brushing the pastry)
Butterscotch Rum Filling
Adapted from: Diana's Kitchen from Homemade Happiness, St Anne's Parish, Caribou, Maine.
(this will make more than you need. half it if you'd like or find another use for it!)
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, warmed
2 eggs yolks, beaten
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butterscotch morsels
1 1/2 tablespoons dark spiced rum (you can omit or subsitiute a teaspoon of rum extract)
To make the filling
Set up a double-boiler, and in the top, combine brown sugar, cornstarch, salt and milk. Whisk until it all thickens. Next, add your egg yolks, constantly whisking so they don't cook. It will thicken even further. Once that happens, remove from the heat, stir in butter, vanilla and butterscotch morsels. Finally, add your rum, stirring well and set aside. You can also refrigerate this for several days and use whenever needed.
To Make the Dough
In a large bowl (or a food processor bowl), whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Now, using your fingers, pastry blender or the food processor (as I did), work those pats of butter in. You'll still be able to see lumps of butter and if you pinch the dough, it should hold together. If you used a food processor, like I did, pour the mixture into another large bowl at this point. Whisk together one egg and your milk and then add them to the dough. Mix with a large spoon until everything is well-combined. If you're not getting it to stick together, you can knead the dough a bit on a well-floured surface (I did have to to do this, the dough is fairly crumbly).
Divide your dough ball in half and shape each into a smooth rectangle about 3x5 inches big. You can now roll this out or throw it in the fridge for a couple of days. If you do work with it after being chilled, let it come back up to room temperature before you roll it out.
Assembling the Pop Tarts
If you're rolling it out now, flour up your work surface and roll it into a 9x12" rectangle about 1/8th of an inch thick. I'm not a skilled dough roller, so I couldn't get it to 9x12", no worries, you'll just have smaller pop tarts or less of them. Repeat this with your second batch of dough. At this point, cut your large rectangles into thirds, getting nine 3x4" rectangles.
In a small bowl, beat your second egg and brush it over each of your rectangles, covering one whole side of each. That's the inside of your tart, the egg will act as glue to hold it all together.
Now place a large scoop of your filling in the middle of half of your rectangle. Make sure you leave a half inch around the filling or it will seep out. Now, place another piece of dough on top of each, sealing around the filling with your fingers. Press a fork around the edges to get that "pop-tart" design on each and make sure you prick each to allow steam to escape while cooking.
Place the tarts carefully on a lightly greased or parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate them on that sheet for about 30 minutes. Now preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Baking the Tarts
Bake your tarts for 20-25 minutes until golden brown on the top. You will probably have some liquid escape in this process. It's ok, your dough actually will not be soggy. Once golden brown, using a spatula, remove pop tart carefully to a wire baking rack to cool a bit, then enjoy!
Note: You can use this pastry dough and fill it with just about anything. It's super versatile and I could see making some mean "hot pockets" with cheese and veggies. Try it, if you do, report back and let me know how it all went.