Sunday, August 4, 2013

Homemade Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches

Fast food has never held much appeal for me. Even growing up, I was that weird kid who would take one bite of my McDonald's hamburger (requested plain, without sauce, without cheese, without even a slice of a pickle), and immediately abandon it in favor of my supersize order of fries.

Sure I went through a brief period in junior high when I'd periodically announce to my mother, "Yo quiero Taco Bell," but my cravings for "meat mix" hard shell tacos with neon cheese were few and far between, and ceased completely when I started running more competitively in high school.

Yet even in those years of Egg McMuffin and Mexican Pizza avoidance, of post-workout snacks of edamame and chicken stir fry dinners, whenever I was forced in the near vicinity of a fast food restaurant, I would somehow always end up with a McFlurry or chalk-flavored chocolate shake in my hand.

When confronted with the lure of a Dairy Queen milkshake or Oreo McFlurry, my staunch devotion to eating whole, fresh foods flew completely out the (drive-thru) window. I became a teenager again - not an athlete trying to shave a few extra seconds off her personal record.

Though it's been a proper decade since my last fast food dessert indulgence, I still go weak in the knees around sugar, something that has been well documented here, and in my Instagram feed. So when the Los Angeles Times "Daily Dish" reported that Carl's Jr. had officially launched their Pop-Tart ice cream sandwiches, I wasn't completely horrified.

As I gorged on the description of the frosted strawberry Pop-Tart sandwiching "premium" vanilla ice cream, my eyes widening in awe, I realized that I wasn't just not horrified, I was inspired.

I wanted it.

Or at least the idea of it.

Even amidst the height of my compulsion to consume the breakfast/dessert hybrid of my (and Jimmy Kimmel's) wildest dreams as soon as possible, I couldn't actually bring myself to go to a Carl's Jr. to purchase it. Mostly because, no, but also because part of me suspected that the caloric bomb would fall flat on my palate that has grown more accustomed to things… not from a box.

So I did the next most logical thing - I made them at home. And because I couldn't possibly do them up with store bought provisions, I again deferred to logic and made them with homemade peach ice cream and cinnamon sugar pecan pop-tarts.

Logically, I promptly ate two. In personal record time.

Homemade Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwiches (with Peach Ice Cream and Cinnamon Sugar Pecan Pop-Tarts, obviously)
Makes 9 sandwiches

Notes: What makes these pop-tart ice cream sandwiches so spectacular (and they *are* spectacular) is that both the ice cream and pop tarts are egregiously good on their own accord. There's really no reason to sandwich the souffle-like peach ice cream between two halves of buttery, pie-like pecan cinnamon sugar pop-tarts, except within the confines of your wildest dreams. Or a random Sunday afternoon when you've nothing better to do, but spend all day in your kitchen.

One word of warning before I leave you to *it*, the end of your waistline as you very well know it, the second you bite into these ice cream sandwiches, the ice cream will try to slide out the sides. Embrace it. And then split the sandwich in half like an Oreo and eat each separately as per the image above.

Peach Ice Cream
From The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

1 1/2 lbs ripe yellow peaches (approximately 4 large peaches)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
Juice from 1/4 a lemon

Using a sharp knife, carefully peel peaches. Slice in halves, remove the pits, and cut into 1-inch chunks. Place peach chunks in a heavy bottomed sauce pan with the 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a low boil, then cover, and simmer 10 minutes or so or until the peaches can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar. Set aside to cool.

Once cooled to room temperature, add the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice. Puree using either a blender or immersion blender until smooth with just a few chunks of peach remaining. Transfer to an airtight container and chill completely in the fridge (preferably overnight).

Once thoroughly chilled, freeze according to your ice cream maker's instructions. (I used the ice cream attachment on my Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer - it took approximately 30 minutes to churn to a soft serve consistency.)

Cinnamon Sugar Pecan Pop-Tarts

From King Author Flour via Smitten Kitchen

For Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter (cold)
1 egg
2 tablespoons heavy cream (original called for milk, I used heavy cream because when you are making pop tart ice cream sandwiches, the rules change)

For Filling

1/3 cup pecan pieces, toasted and finely chopped (my little addition to the mix - you could omit, but you really shouldn't)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 teaspoons flour
1 whisked egg (for assembly)

For Dough
Combine flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk to lighten texture. Cut the butter into neat chunks, all approximately the same size, and then, using your hands or a pastry blender, work the butter into the flour mixture. Continue until the butter lumps are approximately the size of a pea.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and the heavy cream (or milk). Pour into the flour/butter mixture, and stir together until just combined. Briefly knead together into a round and divide the dough in half. Shape each dough half into a flat rectangle about 3 x 5 inches. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or even overnight if so inclined. (I find extra refrigeration time is necessary during the summer months - particularly in my sauna of a kitchen.)

For Filling
Combine brown sugar, cinnamon and flour in a small bowl. Whisk together with a fork. Stir in pecans. Set aside.

For Tarts
Once the dough has sufficiently chilled, remove from the refrigerator and let sit 15 minutes or so until it becomes soft enough to work with. (I realize this sounds counter intuitive.) Sprinkle your countertops, hands and rolling pin with a good amount of flour (don't be shy - this dough is a bit sticky to work with!). Roll out the dough to a rectangle about 1/8'' thick, and trim it down to about 9'' x 12''. Use a pizza cuter to slice into nine even rectangles. Repeat with the other dough half.

Brush the first dough with the egg wash (this will help glue the halves together so the filling doesn't seep out the sides!), then place 1-2 tablespoons of the brown sugar/pecan mixture in the center of each. It will look like a bit too much, but it's fine to heap it in - particularly with the pecans. Just be sure to leave about 1/2 inch around the sides.

Cover the cinnamon-sugar topped tarts with a second rectangle of dough. Use your fingers to pinch the sides together to seal everything in place. Press the tines of the fork all round the edge of the rectangle, and finish with a few holes in the center to let the interior "breathe" during baking. (And by "breathe," I mean, let the steam escape, obviously). Return the tarts to the refrigerator for 30 minutes while preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

Place the tarts on a lightly grease or parchment-lined baking sheet (I divided into two batches because I didn't want to crowd my tarts!). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown on the edges and lightly browned on top. (Mine took closer to 25).  Remove from the oven and cool on a wire cooking rack.

For Pop-Tart Ice Cream Sandwich Assembly

Once cooled enough so that they won't melt the ice cream on contact, use a large chef's knife to cut the pop-tarts in half.  Scoop a good sized knob of ice cream onto the bottom half of the pop-tart. Top with the other pop-tart half. Eat. Fast!

1 comment:

Gastronomer said...

Wow. Wow. Wow. I am thoroughly impressed (and hungry).