Sunday, July 9, 2023

Homemade Pop Tarts

Homemade Sour Cherry Pop Tarts

I think my quest to make homemade pop tarts began when my [imaginary] friendship with Claire Saffitz began. This was when I discovered Claire's videos on the Bon Appetit YouTube channel, and she made an episode on making gourmet Pop Tarts.
The strawberry pop tarts I made using that recipe actually turned out strange and greasy. I must have done something wrong because Claire's didn't look like that. They looked precise, flaky, and perfect. Mine, not so much. 
Then a month ago I went to breakfast with some friends and had the restaurant's homemade key lime pop tart, and that was also quite greasy, and frankly, not tasty.
Since I had so much sour cherry jam on my hands because of my front yard cherry tree's excessive production this year, I thought I'd try making pop tarts again, but with a more "traditional" pop tart crust, like the ones we get in the blue box. 
In Jennie's Kitchen had just what I was looking for: kind of a dry, tender crust. The original recipe calls for twice the amount of powdered sugar you see below, but I'm more of a savory person, so I did what you see. If you like more sweetness, go for the full 60 grams of powdered sugar.
This recipe calls for a food processor, but I'm sure it would work by hand using a pastry blender and some elbow grease. 
What I have ended up with are fantastic pop tarts that are getting rave reviews from friends and colleagues. Hopefully I'll be posting more variations soon, along with a TikTok. I actually recorded videos for the TikTok but broke the process up too much and realized I need to not do that. 
At any rate, if you're hankering to make your own pop tarts, try this recipe out. I think you'll be pleased.
Note: I've included my TikTok video showing my Pop Tart making process at the end of the recipe below.

Pop Tarts

     --Adapted from

The Crust

  • 200 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 32 grams cornstarch
  • 30 grams powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 56 grams cold butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 90 milliliters cream
  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, cornstarch, powdered sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Pulse a few times to blend the dry ingredients.
  • Add the butter and pulse a few more times until you get a sandy-looking mixture with possibly a few small chunks of butter left.
  • Pour in the cream and pulse a few times to disperse the cream. Then process for 30 to 60 seconds until the dough comes together and starts forming a ball, or at least cohesive chunks.
  • Get a square piece of plastic wrap and set aside (you'll need two pieces of plastic wrap total).
  • Weigh the dough and then divide into two equal portions.
  • Working with one half of the dough at a time on the plastic wrap, pat into a ball, and then flatten the sides of the ball to sort of form a dough cube.
  • Flatten the cube while trying to maintain the square shape as much as possible. 
  • Once it's about 1/2 inch thick, place onto the plastic wrap and try to neatly fold the dough into the plastic wrap so you get squared off corners with the plastic wrap.
  • Gently use a rolling pin to roll the dough in the plastic wrap so the dough squishes into the corners. It probably won't create a perfect square, but the more square you can get it now, the easier the rolling will be later.
  • Repeat with the other half of the dough.
  • Place dough in the refrigerator for about an hour, or up to 2 days.

The Pop Tarts

  • 1 batch (in 2 pieces) pop tart dough (see above)
  • 3/4 to 1 cup fruit jam
  • 90 grams powdered sugar
  • 3-4 teaspoons water, plus more for sealing pop tarts
  • food color (optional)
  • sprinkles (optional)
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper 
  • rolling pin
  • stiff ruler, plastic or metal
  • pizza cutter
  • fork
  • knife or offset spatula
  • small pastry brush
  • whisk

  • Remove the dough from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature 5-10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Lightly dust your rolling surface with flour, and turn out one of your dough pieces. Flour your rolling pin and gently swat the dough to soften it up--tap a few times in each direction side to side, top to bottom, and diagonally both ways. Turn the dough over and swat it on that side too.
  • Start rolling the dough out into a rectangle and about 1/8" or 2 mm thickness, keeping the corners as square as possible. If the dough is cracking a lot, let it sit a few more minutes to soften before continuing to roll.
  • Using the ruler and the pizza cutter, cut the edges of the dough to make a clean-looking rectangle, preserving as much area as possible. You can bake off the scraps later or throw them away.
  • Measure the height and width of the sheet of dough and divide by 3. Then cut into 9 rectangles that are as equally sized as possible. Move the rectangles to the parchment-lined baking sheet and set aside.
  • Repeat the swatting and rolling with the second piece of dough, going just a little bit thinner to make a slightly larger rectangle. Repeat the measuring and cutting as well.
  • Using a floured fork, carefully poke holes into each piece of top crust.
  • Get your fruit jam, and using a spoon or offset spatula, spread about 2 to 3 teaspoons of jam onto the pieces of dough on the pan. Leave at least a quarter inch around the edge clear of jam. Repeat with remaining bottom crusts.
  • Using the pastry brush and water, lightly moisten the edges of dough around the jam. 
  • Place a top crust onto each of the bottom ones, gently pressing the edges together, taking care not to squeeze out any jam. Once you've done this with all of the pop tarts, dip a fork in flour and crimp all of the edges of each pop tart.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown.
  • Move pop tarts to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Once pop tarts are completely cool, whisk the 90 grams powdered sugar with 3 teaspoons water. Add the last teaspoon of water if the mixture is too thick and/or dry. This mixture should not be runny. Whisk in food coloring, if desired.
  • Using an offset spatula or a knife, spread about a teaspoon of frosting onto each pop tart and then immediately apply sprinkles, if desired. 
  • Allow frosting to set before enjoying.
  • Eat or freeze within 3 days.
  • Only toast the pop tarts if you do not frost them. This frosting will burn in a toaster.

Makes 9 pop tarts

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