let's make pop tarts!

There are some things that take you right back in time, within an instant of hearing/seeing/smelling/tasting them.
Whenever I smell the cologne my husband used to wear when we were dating, I'm a 20 year-old with butterflies and uncertainty, crushing hard. Whenever I hear the European emergency sirens in a movie, I'm back in Paris exploring the cobblestone streets, with a pastry in hand. Whenever I see Pop Tarts, I'm ten years old sneaking one after school, hoping my sister doesn't notice I ate the last one.

Food, especially, has the power to take us places, doesn't it?

Pop tarts were one of those rare treats we'd get as kids. How they were considered a breakfast food, I'll never understand, but they were delicious! On my recent trip to Toronto, I was hoping to try the home made Pop Tarts that have been popping up at third wave cafes there (Montreal isn't on to this trend yet, but we do have the best donuts!). Of course, the cafes that boast Pop Tarts were all closed on my one full day in The Six (not surprising - it was a Monday), so I sadly missed out. Or maybe, happily, because it inspired me to attempt my own at home.

I've always been a fan of gourmet junk food (my lemon rose donuts are proof, if any is needed), and Pop Tarts seemed like the natural next step. When I made these babies last week and posted a pic on Instagram, I figured out pretty quickly (1,000 likes later!) that you guys might be into Pop Tarts too. Full disclosure, this recipe is time consuming and only yields 6-8 Pop Tarts, but it's not difficult and they are SO FREAKING GOOD. Up for it?


I start with the best pastry dough recipe I have ever come across, the one found in the Smitten Kitchen cook book. Deb Perelman knows her stuff. I had tried countless recipes for basic pie dough before coming across hers, and it has been perfect every.single.time. I will be teaching my grandchildren this dough recipe, I swear. So go ahead and make that first. You can use any dough recipe (or even use store bought dough), but that's my strong suggestion!

Most recipes I found on Pinterest use jam as the filling, which wasn't really doin' it for me. I wanted to make the classic strawberry Pop Tart, so I used real strawberries (6 large ones), and blended them. Right away it was very liquid-y (is that a word? let's say yes!), so I added 1 table spoon each of flour and chia seeds to thicken. Chia seeds are awesome at thickening, and are really good for you too! Because I know if you're making Pop Tarts, health concerns you. Ha. I also added 1 Table spoon of sugar to sweeten, but you could add more or omit if you like.

Basically you make the filling by blending real fruit, thickening with flour and chia seeds, and sweetening with sugar, if desired. Different strawberries will be different sizes, and other fruits will be sweeter or less so, so go by taste and texture. You want the texture of jam and the taste of awesome, FYI.

I mixed icing sugar with 35% whipping cream, because I'm a baller. No. I would have used milk, but somebody (name rhymes with rad, and he is) didn't buy milk and we were out. But cream is insanely rich and tasty so I say, make the icing with 35% cream always! But really, milk is fine. Combine the two ingredients until you get a thick but still runny liquid. Again, texture and flavor can be determined by you.

let's make 'em!
So, roll out your dough and with a long sharp knife (or any straight edge, really), cut large rectangles or squares. You need two similarly sized pieces of pastry for one Pop Tart.
Depending on size, put 1-3 table spoons in the very middle of one rectangle, and then place the other rectangle on top gently. Using a fork, pinch together the edges all the way around your Pop Tart, and put steam holes in the very top/center.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes (this works great with the Smitten Kitchen dough, but I know the Pillsbury dough you can buy everywhere would probably burn at this temperature for this length of time, so you kind of need to follow the instructions of your dough/recipe)

Some of the fruit filling might sneak out. No biggie! You are not a machine, you are a person. Things made by your hands are infinitely better, if a bit less perfect looking. Once cooled, top with icing, and of course, sprinkles.

These babies are definitely a lot of work, so probably not a weekly thing, but they are my new favorite celebration treat and I will be making these for years to come! I surprised Lily with this mega-snack after school the other day to celebrate how far her French has come in the last few months. We did a Pop Tarts cheers and then all five of us were collectively silent for at least five minutes. The power of a Pop Tart, made with love.

Now the question is, what flavor to try out next?

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