.A Love Story.
My love affair with homemade pop-tarts began at Grand Central Station, a most favorite and magical place of mine. I needed a snack, and lo and behold, my eyes landed on what looked like a HOMEMADE pop-tart! No, could it be? I blinked my eyes to make sure I was not imagining this pastry mirage.
It wasn’t until I returned home to Texas that I realized, oh my goodness, people outside of NYC’s bakeries can make their own pop-tarts, too?! And like the DIY-marshmallow, another item was added to my culinary bucket list.
Since that holiday trip I have seen non-Kellogg’s pop-tarts everywhere, from Starbucks to my own local coffee shops.
These are not nearly as difficult as one may expect. It all comes down to the dough. Once you have the dough made, and cut out, the rest is easy peasy. For realz.
.The Process: What You Need to Know.
- Essentially you are just using a pie dough for these pop-tarts. You can either buy the pie dough, or make it yourself at home. I don’t really have good experience with making my own pie crusts, but I did make my own for this recipe. And although it was too much butter (more on that later), it was very tasty. (In the past, my experience with making my own pie crust didn’t fail because of the taste, it failed because the shape was wonky, or the crust puffed up while baking).
- Evenly divide your pie dough into two, and do your best to roll them out into large, evenly sized rectangles.
- Cut out your pop-tart squares. You can do this by cutting one long piece, and folding the top half over the bottom half. Or, you can cut two squares– and try your best to make them the same size- and place the squares on top of each other. I did it both ways, you can see in the GIF below.
- I actually think steps 2 and 3– the even and symmetrical rolling and cutting– are the most difficult parts of the process. Don’t panic if you don’t get the top and bottom edges to align perfectly though, you can always use a knife to cut matchy-matchy edges once the filling is inside. After you cut the edges evenly, then you can seal them with the fork. You can see some of those steps in the GIF below, too.
I have mixed feelings about this batch of homemade pop-tarts. In the pop-tarts’ defense, it was my first time making them, next time there are some edits I will make.
+ Too much Butter, a little too rich for my taste
+ Possibly not rolling the dough thin enough
+ Not nearly enough strawberry jam***
= Me feeling like I am literally JUST eating pie crust.
As though I were eating pie-crust-crackers! Talk about feeling like a cow. There’s always things we WANT to do, but don’t act upon because of social norms. NOT eating pie crust by itself is living by a social norm.
Then, to complicate matters, the pop-tarts with the icing and sprinkles– while so cute– only added to the vice overload (butter + sugar). It was just too much.
I will say, because the icing was so sweet (I just used powdered sugar and milk), the pop-tarts without the icing were much better and more palatable. Had I put more strawberry jam in there they would have been knockouts.
*** Ugh, this is embarrassing. I am just now realizing that I read the recipe wrong, and instead of 1 heaping tablespoon of jam, I only used 1 heaping teaspoon. This explains so much. Go for the heaping TABLEspoon of jam, y’all.
These were GOOD! I mean, when you think about it, a homemade pop-tart’s nature is to be rich and sweet.
And if you have people to share these with then you won’t die a death by sugar and butter, and your friends and family will be impressed.
And these are mighty tasty the next day, too! I think this is the most important.
So next time, maybe 1.5 sticks of butter for the crust, instead of 2 sticks, and definitely way more jam (because next time I will read the recipe correctly!)!
AND I do have to find some sort of icing substitute. I must. Because if I am going to be eating a homemade pop-tart, it better be damn cute, too!
.I Have Some Ideas.
A Strawberry-Butter Glaze on top of the pop-tart, in place of traditional icing. I will have to concoct this strawberry-butter glaze, as I haven’t seen a recipe for one.
Or a cream cheese icing that’s not super sweet.
Or if I put sprinkles in the dough then I would consider not using any icing.
OR turning Smitten Kitchen’s cranberry, caramel almond tart into some sort of pop-tart. Maybe cranberry filling inside with caramel + almonds on top! I made this tart for Thanksgiving and it was GORGEOUS. And DELICIOUS. AND SO EASY! I have never had tasted a dessert like it. The brilliance of this tart is the simplicity of the ingredients, and how beautifully they compliment each other– aesthetically and tastefully.
And lastly, The Pioneer Woman’s Icing Recipe looks good– heavy whipping cream in a frosting is my favorite. It cuts down on the sweetness, but adds delicious, magical value. Plus her icing has MORE jam in it! Oh. Baby!
I will report back those findings, but in the meantime, here is the O.G. recipe I used this go-round!
It wasn’t until I was 29, that I learned non-Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts were a thing. And then it wasn’t until I was 30, that I made these delicacies at home. If you have a low threshold for sweets you should probably forego the icing, as cute as it may be. As a fun alternative, try adding sprinkles into your dough to add that pop of color!
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoons salt
- 1 cup cold and unsalted butter, cut into pats
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 large egg
Strawberry Jam Filling
- 3/4 cup strawberry jam
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
Make the Jam Filling
Combine the jam with the cornstarch and mix well. Set aside until ready to use.
Make the Dough
Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Add the butter pats into the flour, and use a pastry cutter or a fork to break into pea-sized pieces. You can also use a food processor, in which case you would place the ingredients from above into the food processor, and then add your butter and pulse. I don’t really like the option of using my hands because it warms the butter up too much for my liking.
Whisk together the egg and milk in a small bowl, and then pour into the flour + butter mixture.
Use a fork or your hand to mix until everything is evenly combined and forms a cohesive mass. If necessary you can knead a few times in the bowl, or on a well floured counter.
Divide the dough evenly into two, and roll into smooth, large rectangles. From the rectangles, cut your pop-tart squares per my really informal instructions and suggestions above.
Once you have your pop-tart squares, determine which pieces will be the bottom pieces and which pieces will be the top pieces.
Brush your egg wash onto the bottom pieces, this will act like a glue for sealing your pop-tart together.
Place 1-2 tablespoons of jam on the bottom pieces. Keep the perimeter of the bottom pieces clean and jam-free so that they will seal nicely, which also means be wary of overstuffing with jam.
Place the top piece of the pop-tart square on top of the bottom piece, matching up the edges as nicely as possible. Use your fingers to press firmly around the pocket of filling, and press down around the edges, making sure that the top piece seals to the bottom piece.
Use the fork to seal those pretty edges around the pop-tart.
Then use your fork to prick holes into the top of each tart, this way steam can escape and the pop-tarts won’t puff up. That would be very un-poptart like.
Preheat your oven to 350F, and place in the refrigerator for 30 mins.
Bake for 25-35 mins until lightly golden on top. It’s really up to you how golden brown you want them to be! Different recipes give different times for baking, 25-35 mins is the ballpark.
Allow to cool on the rack. At this point you can let the pop-tarts be and eat them as is, or if you want to make an icing to go on top see the options below.
One option is to sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
Another option is to combine 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp milk and pour on top, once cooled.
Or use powdered sugar + jam + heavy cream together, and pour on top once cooled.
Okay, now you should be able to insta the heck out of these adorbs little creatures, and share with friends and family as soon as possible!
Refrigerate the dough for up to two days, before rolling out into the pop-tarts.
Store the already made pop-tarts on the counter for up to 2 days.
Or freeze, unbaked, for up to a month, and bake as needed.
Click here for alternate fillings. 🙂