n most days convenience plays a considerable role when making decisions on what to cook at home. The following DIY pop tart recipe is not for those days. These pop tarts are meant for special mornings. Save them for a lazy weekend to savor your hard work over coffee and your favorite podcast. The sweet and colorful breakfast pastries are delicious both warm and at room temperature and are a great addition to a brunch spread.
Time-Saving Tip: Make the pastry dough a day or two before you plan on baking. You can make the pop tarts the night before and keep them refrigerated until you’re ready to put them in the oven.
If it isn’t broken, why fix it?
My obsession with American snack foods and recreating them with my own recipes are rooted in the way I was raised. My Filipino parents saw no need to spend money on Trix cereal when they could reheat chicken adobo leftovers to feed us at breakfast. At the grocery store, I would dreamily stroll the Gushers and Twinkie aisle and unsuccessfully sneak Lunchables into our shopping cart.
The first time I ate a pop tart occurred in junior high. A friend had a sleepover and in the morning her mother handed us foil packets for breakfast. Not sure what to expect, I took the packet out of her hand, threw caution to the wind and tore into that silvery wrapper. I pulled out the two flat cakes and curiously observed the white icing and pink sprinkles. First I nibbled at the edges, then I went in for the full bite. As I took my bite, the pastry crumbled and the strawberry filling oozed onto my fingers. I had just tasted my first strawberry pop tart. And it was glorious!
Next Level Pop Tarts
It wasn’t until I began cooking that I was able to wrap my brain around deconstructing this American Institution. I learned the buttery dough so similar to the familiar Spanish and Filipino empanadas was the same French pastry staple Paté Briseé. And when one of my old chefs asked me to make a bacon and date jam to fill his pop tarts at a bakery we worked at it dawned on me that pop tarts were nothing but hand pies whose only limits are set by the imagination of the creator. So, I put together this easy to follow DIY pop tart recipe so that anyone, regardless of baking experience, can make at home and enjoy for themselves that which I love so much.
Instead of a patê briseé (a dough made of flour, salt, ice cold butter and water) or a patê sucreé (a rich dough that includes eggs and sugar), I used a blitz puff pastry for this DIY pop tart recipe. Blitz puff pastry is a less time-consuming alternative to traditional puff pastry and is much more forgiving to warm temperatures. The technique of flattening and cutting pieces of cold butter into flour manually is similar to the lamination technique that is used to create the flaky layers that are the essence of pastries such as croissants, pain au chocolate and mille-feuille.
Flour, Salt, Butter and Water
The Ins and Outs of The DIY Pop Tart Recipe
For the filling, I used blueberry preserves, but you can use any preserve, jam or curd. To give texture I added freeze dried blueberries onto the filling. Then, to make the icing, I poached fresh blueberries in boiling simple syrup. Once the berries had cooked through and started to color the syrup, I whisked in powdered sugar until thickened. Finally, I finished the icing with a splash of orange juice. The juice balances the icing’s sweetness while adjusting its viscosity. The finished icing is a striking shade of violet and studded with flecks of blueberry skins. After they had baked and were still warm, I drizzled the icing over the top. The heat will allow the icing to drip naturally along the sides of the pop tarts. Finally, the pastries were topped with more dried blueberries and sanding sugar.
Filling. Baking. Icing.
Homemade Blueberry Pop Tarts
- 1 block of Blitz puff pastry, defrosted (if frozen) and brought to room temperature.
- 1 jar of blueberry preserves
- freeze dried blueberries
- 1 pint of fresh blueberries
- 2 cups simple syrup
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- egg wash
Notes: Simple Syrup is equal parts sugar and water. For example: 1 cup sugar dissolved into 1 cup water. Egg wash is 2 beaten eggs with a splash of milk.
- Preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit.
- With a rolling pin, roll out pastry dough into a rectangle then cut the dough into 2 1/2 inch by 4-inch rectangles with a pizza cutter or large chef’s knife.
- Spoon about 1 – 1/12 tbs of blueberry preserves into the center of half of the pastry rectangles and add a few freeze-dried blueberries onto the preserves.
- Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the egg wash onto the outer rim of the dough rectangles that have the preserves. Use the remaining dough rectangles to cover the bottom half of the pop tarts and press down firmly along the edges. Use a fork to crimp the edges to ensure they stay sealed while baking, then poke a few holes on top to allow steam to escape.
- Brush the tops and sides of the pop tarts with the remaining egg wash.
- If it is warm in your kitchen and the pop tarts feel a bit floppy, place in a freezer for a few minutes for the dough to chill and set before baking. This ensures the butter in the dough releases its moisture to create flaky layers, instead of melting in the oven.
- Bake at for 8-10 minutes, rotate the pan and bake for another 8-10 minutes or until the pop tarts are golden brown and the juices from the preserves are just starting to run out and caramelize on the bottom.
- Remove from oven, and while still slightly warm, drizzle the icing on top and allow it to drip over the sides. Finish with a sprinkling of the extra dried blueberries and sanding sugar and serve!
Blitz Puff Pastry
- 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup ice cold water
Notes: Makes 1 1/2 lbs blitz puff pastry block. To use if frozen, defrost the pastry in the refrigerator overnight. Preparation time is about 3 hours.
In the bowl of your electric stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat to combine the flour, malt powder and salt. Add the cold cubes of butter and beat on low speed until the butter is about marble-size and the mixture is grainy (about 1-2 minutes). Add the lemon juice and most of the water and beat on low speed until the flour is moistened and the dough is shaggy and barely holds together (you do not want a ball of dough). Add more water if needed. (The finished dough will feel dry and will barely hold together when pinched.)
*Note: To make without a stand mixer, simply mix in the cold butter pieces into the flour using a biscuit cutter or your hands. If using this method, ensure the butter is evenly distributed through the flour before adding the lemon juice and water.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface, sprinkle the top of the dough lightly with flour. With a floured rolling pin roll the dough vertically until the length is three times the width (about 18 x 6 inches (45 x 15 cm)). Apply even pressure when rolling the dough and lift the dough frequently as you roll so the dough doesn’t stick to your counter. Flour as necessary. Roll end to end, not side to side, making sure the dough is of even thickness. When it’s at the correct length and width, fold the dough lengthwise into thirds, like you’re folding a letter. Make sure the edges of the dough are straight and even. You now have your first turn. Gently wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 30 to 60 minutes).
Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface so the folded edge is on your left (like the binding of a book). Repeat the process of rolling your dough to 18 x 6 inches (45 x 15 cm) and fold the dough again into thirds. This is now your second turn. Gently wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 30 – 60 minutes).
Take the chilled dough and repeat the rolling and folding into thirds, two more times. Chill the dough about 30 to 60 minutes between turns. This is your third and fourth turn.
After the fourth turn check the dough. If there are visible streaks of butter then you will need to do a fifth turn. The dough is properly laminated when there are no visible streaks of butter and the dough is nice and smooth. At this point the puff pastry needs to be chilled several hours before using. Well wrapped, the puff pastry can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for about 3 months.
Recipe adapted from: joyofbaking.com/PiesAndTarts/BlitzPuffPastry