I have always admired pop tarts from afar. They were always situated in my school’s vending machine, but I would never have enough cash and always have enough guilt to never make that purchase. But they were always on my mind. I would watch classmates eat them wondering if they really did taste better untoasted; why anyone would ever pick the unfrosted variety over the frosted; and most of all just wondering what these cookie and jam concoctions that called themselves “breakfast” really were!?
And then one day, I put aside the guilt, raided my little piggy bank and tried one. And it all just came together. I discovered that toasted is better…as is frosted (obviously). But more than that, pop tarts are breakfast’s answer to pie! (Why else would they call themselves a tart?!) And after already having acceptable pie for an afternoon or evening savory meal, better known as quiche, there was a gap in the breakfast market. Yes, my 7th grade self put all of this together. It was brilliant (both me and the pop tarts).
But as much as they want to be, they aren’t really pie, are they? They are stiffer and hand-held, and anything but flaky. So what better way to celebrate Pi Day (!), the best holiday of the month, than to make pop tarts how they were always meant to be. A homemade buttery version that still retains the crispness, jam and frosting of the original. No toasting necessary! Make the glaze green and you got the next March holiday covered too! A versatile treat, if you ask me.
Homemade Pop Tarts (adapted from Brave Tart)
2 cups, 10 ounces, all purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
2 sticks, 8 ounces, cold butter, cubed
6 ounces corn syrup
Cut the butter into the flour, along with the salt, until reduced to pea sized lumps. You can do this by hand, or with a food processor. Add the corn syrup all at once and stir together (or pulse on food processor) until a ball forms. Dust your hands with a little flour, scoop out the dough, and knead lightly until smooth.
Flatten the dough into a square, divide it in half, wrap each in plastic, and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to 3 days.
Take one of the chilled doughs, and on a floured surface, roll into a square, as best you can, until it is between 1/4th and 1/8th inch thick. Flour as needed. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, cut into squares. I actually got a store-bought pop tart and used it as my guide to cut the dough, but you can always use a ruler or another benchmark. A real Pop-Tart measures exactly 3 1/8” by 4”.
Transfer the squares to a parchment paper – lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator while rolling out the rest of the dough.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Take half of the squares and place a tablespoon-full of the filling (recipe below) in the center. With a knife or your fingers, spread the filling throughout the square, leaving a tiny border. With a pastry brush, brush some water around the edges of each of these squares (so the top pastry layer can stick). Take the remaining squares and pierce them a few times with a fork. Lay gently on each of the filled squares and lightly press down around the edges. With a fork, press into the edges to seal.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet and then transfer to a wire rack. Let cool completely. Brush a thin layer of glaze (recipe below) on each of the pop tarts. Let the glaze set for a couple minutes and scatter on the sprinkles.
2 ounces of freeze dried strawberries (equivalent to over a pound of fresh!!)
2 ounces dried pear
4 ounces dried apple
3 ounce corn syrup
Cut the dried pears and apples into bite size pieces. Transfer everything to a food processor and pulse until everything comes together. Dump the contents into a small pot with 1 cup of water and mix over medium-high heat until the moisture has evaporated, and the mixture is soft and jam-like. Cool completely.
6 ounces powdered sugar
1 egg whites
1 tablespoon milk
1 tsp vanilla
Mix everything together until a smooth glaze forms.