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My hope is to inspire you to be fearless in the kitchen, to try new things, to take the time to make things the homemade way and most importantly, to have fun doing it!

Spiced Plum Pop Tarts with Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Glaze Cooking View

Boy, that’s a mouthful isn’t it? Recipes can be challenging to name when, like this one, they contain several different components that come together to make something truly spectacular. Leaving one of those key players out of the title would be like forgetting to credit Beyoncé for her work in Destiny’s Child, or Justin for basically carrying NSync. It’s clearly wrong.

Which component here is the Beyoncé or the Justin? That is slightly less clear. Is it the subtly spiced sweet plum filling? Is it the unbelievably flaky pastry dough? Is it the irresistible glaze with both browned butter and vanilla bean? I just don’t know! Two things I do know for sure though: 1. these bear no resemblance to the toaster pastries of your childhood, and 2. you absolutely must make them.

While these are a labor of love with multiple steps, I promise your efforts will pay off in a big way when you taste these. Not that I’ve ever been the best about sharing food, but these are that highest level of food love where I strategically position (AKA hide) it and/or eat in private to avoid forced sharing situations. I mean, I’m not a monster – the family did get to sample them, but that was the extent of it. In fact, Andrew saw me editing the photos and said, “Hey, whatever happened to the rest of those?” When I broke the news that they were no longer, he said, “That’s alright, we’ll just have to make more!” Yes, yes we will.

Spiced Plum Pop Tarts with Brown Butter Vanilla Bean Glaze
Yield: 9 pastries


For the filling: 

  • 6 plums, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 3-4 tbsp. water
  • 1/8 tsp. ground ginger
  • Dash ground cinnamon

For the pastry:

  • 1 cup (120 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (120 grams) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbsp. (11 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (227 grams) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. (28 grams) milk
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tbsp. water, for egg wash

For the glaze: 

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • Seeds scraped from ½ a vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2-3 tbsp. milk
Cooking View


  • To make the filling, combine the plums, brown sugar and 3 tablespoons of water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the plums release their juices and soften. Add in the ginger and cinnamon. Continue to cook, adding more water 1 tablespoon at a time as needed, until the plums have softened completely and the mixture has a jam-like consistency, about 12-15 minutes. Remove from the heat to cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate to chill until ready to use. (Note: This is much more plum filling than you will need for the nine tarts. Use the extra for dipping while enjoying the tarts, swirl into yogurt with granola for breakfast, add to a grilled cheese for lunch, or spoon over ice cream for dessert. So many possibilities.)

  • To make the pastry dough, combine the flours, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend. Add the butter to the bowl and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, until the largest butter pieces are about the size of pecans. Add in the egg and the milk and mix together just until a cohesive dough forms. (Be careful to avoid overworking the dough to achieve the flakiest result. You want to be able to see chunks of butter and marbling in the dough.)

  • Divide the dough into two even halves. Shape each into a 3 x 5-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. (At this point the dough can also be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Let stand at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before rolling out.)

  • To make the tarts, place one of the dough halves on a well floured work surface. Roll it out into a rectangle about 1/8-inch thick and large enough that it can be trimmed into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle. Transfer this rectangle of dough to a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and chill in the freezer while rolling out the second half of the dough. Repeat the process for the second portion of dough, rolling and trimming into a 9 x 12-inch rectangle.

  • Remove the first dough sheet from the freezer, replacing with the second to chill it while working with the first portion. Use a sharp knife to cut into thirds both lengthwise and widthwise so that you end up with nine 3 x 4-inch rectangles. Place these on parchment on a baking sheet. Brush egg wash over the surface of each rectangle. Place a heaping tablespoon of the plum mixture in the center of each rectangle.

  • Remove the second dough rectangle from the freezer and again cut into thirds lengthwise and widthwise. Place one of the rectangles on top of each bottom piece, working carefully to gently press the edges together to prevent the filling from leaking out. Once the edges are sealed around the perimeter, use the tines of a fork to crimp all around the edges and seal completely. Brush the tops of the tarts with remaining egg wash. Transfer the assembled tarts to the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes while the oven heats.

  • Heat the oven to 350˚ F. Place the tarts in the oven and bake, rotating halfway through the baking time, until golden brown, about 30-35 minutes total. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.

  • To make the glaze, heat the butter in a small skillet over medium heat.  Let melt and continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the butter is a deep golden brown color (be careful not to burn it).  Set aside to cool slightly.  Transfer the browned butter to a bowl. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla bean seeds.  Whisk in the milk until the mixture is smooth.  (Note: The browned butter will likely begin to cool, particularly if the milk is cold when added, and the glaze may become thick or difficult to whisk.  Simply rewarm in the microwave in very short few-second bursts until the texture has corrected. If the mixture is too thin, whisk in additional confectioners’ sugar a small amount at a time until thickened to your liking. If the mixture remains too thick, whisk in additional milk a teaspoon or so at a time.) Spoon the glaze over the warm tarts and let set before serving.


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