French inspired dough makes for delightful poptarts. | Arts & Culture

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French inspired dough makes for delightful poptarts.
French inspired dough makes for delightful poptarts.

I'm not sure why but I love France. I have never been there. Never really wanted to go there. But the past year, I have been in love with French inspired desserts, cooking techniques, pastry, clothing, pretty much everything. It's like an intense love affair that I know is slightly forbidden, since I am forever claiming my deep Italian roots. I mean, what would my Nana say? She would probably smack me with her cane, which gets remarkable distance. Honestly though, they know how to entice you. The desserts from Paris are beautiful, dainty and smothered with butter. What's not to love? I find that currently, a lot of my baked goods are gravitating to being French inspired. I am a huge fan of bite sized treats such as macarons and petite fours. I think that when throwing a party, there is a huge appeal to mini items that look as fantastic as they taste. In general, I just think the French know how to party. <?xml:namespace prefix = o />

Last year, I took on the daunting task of making a pie for Thanksgiving. That may seem like an easy thing for a baker but there were huge expectations of me and I was sweating at the idea of bringing something to a family dinner that was anything less than perfect. After going back and forth with ideas I ended up deciding on a chocolate torte, but none the less, I still needed pie crust. The recipe from my father is one that I have always used, but it takes a certain amount of something to get it right and every time I make it, I become frustrated. Traditional pie crust breaks easily when you work with it which can be really trying. I mean, better women than I have cried over this type of thing. So I decided to try something new. I didn't want to be the woman in the corner, wet with tears, refusing to celebrate Thanksgiving because my crust had defeated me. So I went to my buddy Julia (Child that is) and found the recipe for a French pie dough. After reading about "Pate Brisee" I decided that was the route I was going to take. I modified the recipe I found to my liking and came up with what I think is the gem of pie crust. It's flaky, pliable, easy to work with and delightful on your tongue.

From there, came the pop tarts.

To me, recreating nostalgic treats is more rewarding than anything else. I like to take something traditional and minimalize it. Fewer ingredients. No creepy stuff. Just honest, good food. Pop tarts are something that I think, all of us have tried. And they are great, don't get me wrong, but the shelf life they hold just isn't natural. Nutritionists always say not to shop in the middle of the grocery store, stay on the perimeter, but all the tasty stuff happens to be located in the middle. I think, to get ourselves and our children to eat better the key is not to deprive but to improve. It's not always the calories that are the problem but the fillers and additives. These pop tarts have like six ingredients, so when you hand them off to your kids, you won't feel as guilty. It's not like giving them an apple but its better than giving them something that has been on the shelf for who knows how long. However, let's not leave the adults out of the mix. These things are light, flaky, slightly decadent with the thick jam and almost melt in your mouth. They are a great idea for brunch or a party where you want to stun everyone with your creativity.

So again, thanks France, for coming through with your butter inspired ideas.

You may think that the recipe will be located in this blog, but alas, you have to wait.

Next week there will be plenty of information on these little treats, including a recipe. So that you can all make them for your friends and family.

Stay tuned. :)



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