This Motherâs Day, I am celebrating my kids. Note to Shoyer children: do not buy me flowers, gifts or chocolate. No need to schlepp up breakfast in bed. Just continue to be nice to me all year round and you willalwaysbe off the hook on Motherâs Day.
I now have four teenagers, which would scare most people. Mine do not scare me. I am not saying that they are perfect, but they are definitely my four favorite people in the world. When given the choice, I would rather be with them (and husband) than anyone else. They are witty, interesting kids with strong opinions across the social, political and religious spectra and extremely entertaining. They have introduced me to Macklemoreâs poetry, opened my eyes to new sports, taught me to see Renoir paintings in a whole new way, and inspired me to be a better friend. I am a better person for having mothered them and cannot wait to see what they teach me next.
As my kids will happily tell you, I tend to mother with a huge dose of neglect — but in a good way. When I redesigned my kitchen years ago, I put all the dishes and breakfast food in low cabinets so they could feed themselves. I still buy only the half gallons of milk that little people could lift and pourinto their cereal themselves.I am not one of those mothers who sit next to their kids while they do homework and I do not edit all their English papers. One of them would have to have foot surgery to get me to make him or her breakfast or a school lunch at 7:15 am. They have thrived and become capable people who can all load and unload the dishwasher, change planes in large foreign airports by themselves, do laundry, appreciate the value of coupons, and cook their favorite dishes without my help.
They will tell you that they like the neglect and appreciate that I am not a Tiger Mom. All I know is that one of my kids was accepted to a top college, another takes Chinese onlinein the evenings, and they all do pretty well in school. But most of all, they are nice people. Their best quality is their gratitude. They truly know that they have a great life of summer camp, vacations, and Apple products. They always thank me — for dinner every night, for takeout on Sundays, for a haircut, for letting their friends stay over and for every vacation. And they always thank me for the homemade desserts, even the rejects.
So here is the dessert that says âthank youâto the Shoyer kids for being such wonderful children. Moms — make these for your kids this Motherâs Day and thank them for making you a better person for mothering them. Any kids over 10 reading this — BAKE THEM FOR YOUR MOTHER.Have a sweet Motherâs Day this Sunday, and every day.
Enjoy this dairy dessert on Shavuot as well.
a la Mode with Caramel Sauce
Makes 12 -16, depending on size and shapes
My children rejected the jam, berry and Nutella-filled ones, but your family can fill the dough as they like. For my own mother, she will only eat them if filled with chocolate. Kids like the cinnamon glaze, but I prefer my pop tarts straight up and less sweet. You can omit the ice cream and caramel sauce and just eat the pop tarts, or you can spread the caramel sauce on top of the pop tarts.
2 Â½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting work surface and sprinkling on dough
3 tablespoons sugar
Â½ teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
2 tablespoons milk or soymilk
6 tablespoons ice cold water
Apple and Cinnamon Filling
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Â¼ cup sugar
2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into Â¼-inch cubes
Â½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches nutmeg
1 large egg, beaten mixed with 1 teaspoon water for assembly
Â¾ cup confectionerâs sugar
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon boiling water
To serve: any flavor ice cream and caramel sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon salted butter
Place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse for 20 seconds, or until the mixture looks like sand. Add the milk and process for 10 seconds. Add the cold water, 2 tablespoons at a time, and process each time for 10 seconds, just until the mixture comes together. Divide in half, wrap each piece in plastic, and flatten. Place in the freezer for 40 minutes, or overnight in the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, prepare the apple filling. Heat a medium frying pan over medium heat and add the butter and sugar. When the butter has melted, add the apple cubes, cinnamon and nutmeg and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the apples are fork tender. Place into a bowl and let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes.
Set one piece of parchment on the counter, sprinkle it with some flour, and place one of the dough halves on top. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and then place the second piece of parchment on top. Roll on top of the parchment to roll the dough until it is about 9 X 16 inches. Lift up the top parchment several times and sprinkle the dough with more flour. Try not to roll the edges too thin.
Cut the dough into either 3 X 4-inch or 2 Â½ X 4-inch rectangles, squares, or use cookie cutters,making sure you have pairs of each shape. Re-roll scraps.
Use a metal spatula to lift up each pair of dough pieces and place onto a piece of parchment trimmed to fit a cookie sheet. Brush half the shapes with the egg wash. Scoop up a heaping tablespoon of apple filling and place onto the brushed dough pieces, spreading in one layer and leaving a Â¼ to 1/3-inch border. If using jam, two teaspoons is usually enough per pop tart. Place a second piece of the same size of dough on top, stretch a little to cover, and press tightly to seal the edges. Use the tines of a fork to seal the edges and leave decorative lines. Place the cookie sheet with the assembled pop tarts in the freezer for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Use a fork, toothpick or skewer to poke holes in the top dough to let the steam out. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the bottom and edges are lightly browned. Let cool on a wire rack.
Place the confectionerâs sugar into a medium bowl. Add the vanilla, cinnamon and boiling water, and whisk until smooth. Let sit for at least 5 minutes to thicken up and either drizzle the glaze over the tarts or spread to cover, as desired.
To make the caramel, place the sugar and water into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook on medium-high heat without stirring. When the sugar starts to color on the edges, stir the mixture, then let cook, stirring occasionally, until it is a uniform amber color. Turn heat to low, remove saucepan from the heat and add the cream. Be careful, as the mixture will bubble up. Add the butter and stir. Return to the heat and cook for one minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and let cool. The caramel can be made 5 days in advance. Store covered at room temperature.
Serve the pop tarts with ice cream and caramel sauce.
If you fill your pop tarts with jam, omit the cinnamon in the glaze to make the pretty white glaze shown here.