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Patti Howerton: Let’s try Pop-Tarts and pie

I bet you never thought, “I can make Pop-Tarts at home.”
Well, yes you can and guess what, they taste even better than those store brands.
Your family will be surprised and thank you for the delicious tarts. While you are baking how about a great pie, it sure beats that store bought one anytime!
Enjoy.

HOMEMADE POP-TARTS
• 2 (14.01-ounce) pkgs. refrigerated pie crusts
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 2-ounces cream cheese, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon preserves
• Your favorite flavor or Nutella spread
• 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, divided
• 3 tablespoons whole milk, divided
Garnish: sprinkles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees; line a baking sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, unroll pie crusts, and square the edges. Cut into 4 1/2 X 3-inch rectangles. Place 1 slice cream cheese on half of rectangles. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of the preserves or nut butter over the cream cheese. Brush edges of dough with egg, and top with remaining rectangles. Crimp edges with a fork. Place on prepared pan. Bake until lightly browned, 7-10 minutes. Let cool completely. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, remaining 1 tablespoon filling. Spoon glazes over cooled tarts. Garnish with sprinkles. Makes 8.

BANANA CREAM DULCE de LECHE PIE
• 1 prepared-deep Graham Cracker crust
or deep-dish pie crust
• 1 (15-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
• 1 (3.4-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding
• 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 2 cups whipped topping
• 2 bananas, sliced
• 1 (15-ounce) can dulce de leche cream
(in the Mexican food department)

In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk according to package, directions. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with a mixer at medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add condensed milk, and beat until combined. Fold pudding into cream cheese mixture, and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1/3 of whipped cream. Add remaining whipped cream and gently fold until all is combined. Layer sliced bananas in prepared crust, and cover with the dulce de leche cream. (This will usually end up being about 3/4 of the can.) Spread filling on top of pie. Be sure and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 8 servings.

STRAWBERRY RHUBARB PIE
• 1 cup sugar
• 5 tbsp. cornstarch
• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
• 2 cups sliced strawberries
• 3 cups fresh rhubarb, sliced
• 2 tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces
• 1 large egg beaten
• 1 unbaked deep dish prepared pie shell

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together first 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended. Add rhubarb and strawberries, tossing to coat. Set aside. Spoon mixture into prepared pie crust; dot with butter. Brush edges of crust with the beaten egg. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Let cool completely. Serves 8.

LEMON CHESS PIE
• 2 cups sugar
• 4 large eggs
• 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
• 1 tbsp. cornmeal
• 1/4 cup whole milk
• 1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
• 1/4 cup lemon juice
• 2 tbsp. grated lemon rind
• 1 unbaked prepared pie shell

Combine flour and cornmeal and add egg mixture; with a mixer, mix sugar, milk, butter, lemon juice, and rind. Blend all ingredients together until smooth. Pour into pie crust. Bake in center of oven at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until set and lightly browned. Serves 8.

HINT OF THE WEEK: Stir up a pitcher of pink lemonade. Combine 3 cups water, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and add a little maraschino cherry juice to tint it pink.
Serve over ice with a slice of pie… so refreshing!

Patti Howerton is a retired accountant and caterer and can be reached at phowerton@ gmail.com