So is it just me, or is there way more pressure involved with Valentine’s Day when it falls on a weekend? Something about it being on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday creates high drama and expectations–wine, roses, fancy dinner reservations. Also, feeling compelled to take a lengthy shower, exfoliate and wear something spectacular. In other words, STRESS. Right?! Gah.
Thankfully, this year Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday, so we can all rest easy. I’m thinking something homemade, insanely delicious and crazy clever for breakfast along with a sweet card will fit the bill just fine. If you go with these Nutella Pop-Tarts, for instance, it will totally make up for couching it–wholly ungroomed and in stretchy black pants–by 7:30 p.m. on February 14th. Because hey, it’s a Monday. I’m sticking with that theory.
Nutella is clearly one of the best inventions ever, and it holds fine sense memories of all sorts for me. In fact, one of my top reasons to move to Europe is eating Nutella for breakfast without reservation. But with World Nutella Day fast approaching, people all over this wonderful Earth can bond over scarfing down bread and chocolate with abandon first thing in the morning. I can’t think of anything more world peace-encouraging than that, except for maybe joining forces of the most questionable breakfast foods of both Europe and America, and creating the Nutella Pop-Tart. And just in time for World Nutella Day? I’m feeling a Nobel Peace Prize nomination coming on here, people. Just saying.
The resulting pastries are so positively divine, you’ll feel all kinds of love this Valentine’s Day. Including the priceless joy that comes from eating chocolate for breakfast and the knowledge that exfoliation is totally optional.
For the tarts:
1 batch of My Favorite Pie Crust, well-chilled (see note)
1 (13-ounce) jar Nutella
1 1/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
1 tablespoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Valrhona)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Divide the chilled pie dough in half. Working with one half at a time (refrigerate the half you’re not working with), roll the dough out to a rectangle, about 9 1/2 x 13 inches. To make for a more even rectangle, use a thin, sharp knife to trim the edges. Patch any shaggy edges together using the dough scraps. The more evenly shaped your rectangle, the easier it will be to form neat-looking tarts. Cut the dough rectangle into 12 equal squares on a grid, 4 down and 3 across. Place the squares on the baking sheets, 6 squares per sheet.
Using spoons or a small ice cream scoop, dollop 1 generous tablespoon of Nutella in the center of each dough square, spreading slightly as you go, leaving a 1/2 inch border of dough around the filling.
Repeat the dough rolling and cutting process with the second half of the dough.
In a small bowl, beat together the egg with 1 teaspoon water and a pinch of salt, whisking until the egg wash is liquified and well-blended. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the exposed border of dough around each mound of filling (set the remaining egg wash aside to brush the assembled tarts if baking them the same day). Place a second dough square on top of each tart, using your fingers to gently press the seams together. Use a fork to crimp together the two layers of dough. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes (at this point, you can cover the baking sheets with plastic wrap and chill overnight).
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush the top and edges of each tart with the remaining egg wash. Bake until the tarts are golden brown on the top and bottom, about 35-40 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on the baking sheets, and then transfer the tarts to cooling racks.
To prepare the glaze, whisk together all the ingredients until smooth.
When the tarts are just slightly warm, spoon the glaze over them. Let the glaze dry for 15 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.
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