Sunday, June 5, 2011

Homemade Poptarts and then, randomly, Yogurt Cheese

It's been a busy weekend!  Saturday was gloomy & rainy for most of the day, but I still managed to get my butt to yoga class.  When I got home though, all of my plans for weeding the garden went right out the window.  Instead, I spent some time in the kitchen making pop-tarts/toaster tarts and then some yogurt cheese.
Pop-tarts/toaster tarts, really, are nothing but a small square pie when you think about it.  Which means that it is surprisingly simple to make your own.
All you need is:
Your favourite sweet pie crust recipe (if you prefer really flaky pies, use a more solid pie crust recipe)
A beaten egg for the egg wash
Your favourite jam for the filling (I used strawberry-blueberry freezer jam that I made last summer)
Icing sugar & a liquid to mix it with to make icing (I used 1 cup of icing sugar, 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons water and 1 teaspoon lime juice for my icing).
And if you're feeling fancy, you could add sprinkles too!

Roll out your dough, cut out enough rectangles to make pairs (and make sure they'll fit in your toaster slots!).  Mine were roughly 4"x3".
Put your egg wash on all of your rectangles, and then put around a teaspoon of jam in the middle of half the squares.  Smooth out the jam, but make sure you leave enough room to seal the edges of the dough together.  I just mushed my dough edges with a fork.  Slap on your icing, and bake around 350F for 20-30 minutes. You don't want them too crispy, since they'll cook again when you put them in the toaster.

Here's what my finished tarts looked like:
Delicious and fresh from the oven. You can't really see the icing, since it went clear when I baked it, but you can definitely taste it when you eat them.

There's the nommular jammy inside for you.   It's going to be really hard to eat only one tart at a time.

Now, on to the yogurt cheese!  Do you like yogurt? Or tangy cheeses like feta or chevre (goat cheese)?  Then you'll probably like yogurt cheese.  It's also amazingly simple, since you basically need to drain the whey out of the yogurt.

Step 1: get yourself a container of plain Balkan or Greek style yogurt.
Step 2: line a bowl with a clean cloth napkin or tea towel (not terry cloth - plain cotton or linen).  Here's the napkin I used after I dumped the cheese out, so it's a little mucky, but it'll give you an idea of what will work.

Step 3: dump yogurt into the bowl, and tie the four corners of the cloth together.
Step 4: Suspend the bag of yogurt over the bowl.  I tied mine to the top shelf of the fridge over the bowl which was sitting on the second shelf.  Some people will apparently hang theirs over the sink, but since it's dairy, I worry about it getting too warm.
Step 5: wait at least 8 hours or overnight.  If you leave it longer you'll have a thicker cheese.  I left mine overnight in the fridge.
Step 6:  When the yogurt is done hanging, you'll need to use up the whey (it can go in smoothies, pancakes, drink it plain or just dump it down the sink), and then untie your cloth and dump the cheese into the bowl (or a clean bowl if you're so inclined).  You should have something that's similar in consistency to cream cheese, like so:

Step 7: Flavour your cheese!  This is the best part.  You can flavour it with lemon & salt, roasted garlic and herbs - anything you like!  I flavoured this batch with fresh black pepper and chive flowers from the garden.
Once your flavourings have been selected, mush them into your cheese!
Once your flavourings of choice have been fully incorporated, put your cheese into a clean, lidded container and stick it in the fridge.  It should last you about 2 weeks or so.

I've been eating my cheese as a dip with crackers, and I'm planning on putting it in sandwiches and wraps.  Yum!

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