Cherry Picks: Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts On Capital Hill (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Cherry Picks: Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts in Capitol Hill

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:07:19
But first, springtime in D.C. would simply not be complete without those incredible pink and white cherry blossoms. This year's National Cherry Blossom Festival is March 26th through April 10th. It's the 99th anniversary of those 3,000 cherry trees arriving in D.C. as a gift from Tokyo.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:07:38
Since then, the festival has sought to honor the lasting relationship between the United States and Japan and obviously for many life in Japan has been tough of late, which is why this week the festival invited people to gather at the Sylvan Theater and take a memorial walk around the Tidal Basin. Donations from the fundraiser are going to the Japan Earthquake and Pacific Tsunami Fund at the American Red Cross and you can find more information about that on our website.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:08:06
But a whole bunch of special events are coming our way surrounding the festival, including one that takes those cherries and cherry blossoms and brings them straight to your plate, your bowl, even your glass. As part of Cherry Picks, more than 70 local eateries are getting creative with their menus and including appetizers, entrees, cocktails and desserts with a special cherry twist.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

13:08:29
You can order things like cherry blossom salad with jumbo shrimp and cherry balsamic, primavera cherry soup, cherry-cola barbecue-glazed salmon and homemade cherry pop tarts. So here we are on 8th Street SE standing outside Ted's Bulletin ready to make some pop tarts. Yes, pop tarts at. yes, Ted's Bulletin the Capital Hill restaurant dedicated to bringing back classic American comfort food. And this week I met up with pastry chef, Jack Revelle...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE

13:08:59
Jack, hi, a pleasure to meet you, nice to see you.

SHEIR

13:09:01
...who has been cooking in D.C. for about seven years now and helps crank out 1,000 homemade pop tarts at Ted's each week. Jack says they change the flavors with the season.

MR. JACK REVELLE

13:09:10
We did apple butter in the fall, you know, and now we're doing the cherry as the spring starts to arrive. And you know, we'll do peach later in the summer and we'll do plum, apricot.

SHEIR

13:09:18
So let's talk about how to make these pop tarts. I mean you go to the grocery store and you usually buy your pop tarts, take them out of their little foil wrapper, stick them in the toaster. This is a little more involved, I'm assuming.

REVELLE

13:09:28
Yes, it's all homemade so we start with kind of a shortbread dough, a mixture of salt and sugar and flour and little bit of making powder.

SHEIR

13:09:39
So the dry ingredients are in the bowl?

REVELLE

13:09:40
That's it and you mix that with butter. So here is the butter which we'll make into about three or four pieces of dough which Felipe over here is making. Seven and half pounds of flour and he throws in almost five pounds of butter.

SHEIR

13:09:55
That's a lot of butter.

REVELLE

13:09:56
That's a lot of butter.

SHEIR

13:09:58
So vegans beware...

REVELLE

13:09:59
Vegans beware, but it's important to give us a nice flaky crust. The trick is really to keep it very, very cold. We actually freeze it before we put it in. It kind of breaks down as it is beaten in the mixer. Mix that for maybe five or ten minutes and once it's like a pea-size crumble, add eggs which are cold and some vinegar and a little bit of water to help it all come together.

REVELLE

13:10:24
Mix that very quickly until it just comes together. We do it in kind of big amounts here but even in small amounts, you can even do by hand or with a couple of forks. The less you fold it the more delicate a dough you'll get. And then it's ready to be portioned, rest for at least an hour and then we'll start to roll it out and we have this nice little cutter so that we've a uniform shape.

SHEIR

13:10:52
For those at home he's cutting in with the rectangular cutter. Let's see if it makes any noise on the radio here.

SHEIR

13:10:58
Kind of. So what's the next step after doing the cookie cutter and making all the different rectangles?

REVELLE

13:11:06
The next step over here is the egg-wash which we just...

SHEIR

13:11:11
Gently brushing with your brush there.

REVELLE

13:11:13
So this creates kind of the glue for our pop art and then we also have our cherry filling.

SHEIR

13:11:18
Now what's in this cherry filling other than cherries, of course?

REVELLE

13:11:20
Some lemon zest, some lemon juice, sugar, vanilla and we thicken it with some cornstarch and water, very simple, very plain, let the cherry shine through.

SHEIR

13:11:32
Could you describe what you're doing with the cherry filling?

REVELLE

13:11:33
I'm putting the cherry filling into a pastry bag which has a tip which will allow me to kind of control the amount I put into each pop tart but if you're ever doing this at home you can just use a spoon and spoon it in. So now what I'm doing is since we have put the egg-wash on, I'm sandwiching the two pieces of dough together and the egg-wash will allow it to stick. So now the cherry filling is covered and now I take a fork and with the teeth I make little impressions all around the pop tart itself. And this creates the decorative pattern that we remember from the pop tart and it also helps to bind the two pieces of dough together. And now it's ready for the oven.

SHEIR

13:12:14
How long would you bake one of these or a batch of these?

REVELLE

13:12:15
If you're doing it at home, at 350 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes and you can glaze them. We use a glaze here of cream and sugar. We use sprinkles as well.

SHEIR

13:12:28
So the cherry ones are coming out in honor of the National Cherry Blossom Festival. And as someone who has lived in D.C. for a handful of years, what's it been like for you at the Cherry Blossom Festival? What does it mean for you?

REVELLE

13:12:38
It means that the spring is here, warm weather is coming and the beauty of spring is arriving, as well as, for a chef, it means all the great produce is about to arrive and you know, it's a good time to be a chef when spring arrives.

SHEIR

13:12:53
Ted's Bulletin isn't quite ready to release the full recipe for their pop tarts, but for a little more information on the restaurant and Cherry Picks and the National Cherry Blossom Festival visit our website, metroconnection.org.
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