Sometimes the best desserts aren’t just straight up sweet, but they have a surprising savory twist. Enter Delightful Desserts ($13, amazon.com), a new cookbook full of 60 delectable desserts that balance sugary treats with unexpected ingredients and flavors. In her first book, L.A.-based pastry chef Jane Soudah introduces a bold take on your typical desserts. Food Network fans, sound familiar to you? The self-taught baker won Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship last year and walked away with $50,000. Now, Soudah is here to help expand our repertoires with daring desserts like curried pumpkin pie, mint cheesecake, and banana bread with cumin-spiced pecans. “For so many people, desserts are something sweet to end a meal,” she writes. “For me, they are an extension of the meal, bringing together different flavors and textures to create unique, bold, desserts.”
One of our favorite recipes from the vivid cookbook is also popular in the Soudah household. These strawberry basil pop tarts are not only super easy to make, but they’re a healthy alternative to store-bought Pop Tarts, making it the perfect snack for the kids. Always left with pie dough scraps after baking pies, Soudah decided to repurpose the leftover dough into small hand pies, fill them with jam, and top off with sugar glaze and sprinkles. Although the recipe calls for Soudah’s homemade strawberry jam, you can use whatever jam you have in your fridge.
Read on to learn how to make these pop tarts with a savory kick for your kids, and let's be honest, yourself, this afternoon.
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup cold butter, cut into
8 tablespoons ice cold water
4 cups chopped, ripe strawberries
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh basil
1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
How to Make It
Combine the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 to 8 times to combine the dry ingredients. Add the cold butter, pulsing until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water to the flour-butter mixture and pulse until moist clumps form. The mixture will not form a ball of dough.
Make the strawberry-basil jam: Combine the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and butter in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Clip a digital, instant-read thermometer on the side of the saucepan and cook the jam for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the temperature reaches 220°F (104°C). Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Allow to cool completely before using. Jam can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and press into a disk. Roll the dough to ⅛-inch (3-mm) thickness, and cut into sixteen 3 x 4-inch (7. x 10-cm) rectangles. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place 8 rectangles of pie dough on the baking sheet, top each rectangle with 1 tablespoon (20 g) strawberry-basil jam. Top with a second rectangle of dough, and crimp around all sides with the tines of a fork.
Using a small, sharp knife, cut 3 small slits in the top of each pie. Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. While the pies are chilling, preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C, or gas mark 7). Bake the pies for 20 to 22 minutes until the pastries are a deep golden brown. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Make the glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream and vanilla until smooth. Frost the cooled pies with approximately 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of glaze and sprinkle with nonpareils.
From Delightful Desserts by Jane Soudah, Page Street Publishing Co.
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