Like most kids, I loved Pop-Tarts.
Even as a child, I needed to have a routine. I would wake up at the same time each morning, go into the fridge and grab the cup of milk my parents had prepared the night before and placed on the lowest shelf so that I could grab it myself without climbing into the fridge like it was Narnia, and plop myself on the couch to watch cartoons until one of them woke up. Every morning. Same thing.
But the one thing that varied would be what I chose to eat: Pop-Tarts or cereal. There would always be a little bowl of cereal (with a spoon, obviously) and another little cup of milk in the fridge for me if I so desired Cheerios. But sometime you just need some Pop-Tarts. We always had a box of Strawberry and a box of Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tarts on hand. Downside to being a child: using the toaster while unattended is typically frowned upon. I never really liked the strawberry-flavored ones cold, so I’d typically opt for the brown sugar.
Upside to being an adult: I can make my own that don’t suck when they’re at room temperature. And I can make them into cute shapes that aren’t boring rectangles. I like when my food is cute.
Wondering how I decided to start making my own Pop-Tarts? It started with me cleaning our kitchen and realizing that I still hadn’t used one of the jars of homemade strawberry jam that the boyfriend’s brother and sister-in-law gave us as a wedding favor back in November.
They made them at his sister’s house and packaged them in adorable little tins with tags on them for each guest. I’m not a fan of jams in general, but luckily for them the only one I’ll really choose to eat is strawberry.
Since this was my test run, I cheated and used frozen pie crusts. I didn’t want to invest a ton of time into making the pastry dough if it all sucked in the end anyway. I placed a slice of strawberry on top of the jam in some of them to see what would happen. Sadly, I think it overstuffed them – but if I made them larger I think it would work out great. They were still yummy, just not all that pretty. As the saying goes, it’s what’s inside that counts.
I encourage you to customize these into whatever shapes, sizes, and flavors you want. I opted for 2.5″ heart-shaped strawberry tarts with a light glaze, but you could go off the reservation and do 6″ dinosaur-shaped blackberry tarts with a pile of frosting on them. Be creative! Next time I’m totally making my own pastry dough and doing brown sugar cinnamon.
Homemade Strawberry Pop-Tarts
[Makes ten 2.5″ heart-shaped pastries]
1 frozen/refrigerated pie crust (I used Stop and Shop brand)
10 tablespoons strawberry jam
1 egg white
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk (add more if desired)
Cookie cutter (optional)
Red sprinkles (optional)
1) Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with a non-stick liner or parchment paper.
2) According to package directions, let pie crust thaw appropriately. Then roll out and use a rolling pin to roll it out to be between 1/8″-1/4″ thickness.
3) Use your cookie cutter to cut out each of your pastry halves – line them up about an inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. If you don’t want to use a cookie cutter and would prefer more traditional rectangular-shaped tarts, just slice out rectangles instead.
4) Plop a rounded teaspoon of jam into the center of each half, and then place another pastry half on top.
5) Use your fingers to gently press down the sides of each tart to seal them the best you can. If jam spills out and it’s getting out of control, just remove a little of the jam you placed inside and try again.
6) Grab a fork and press the tines of the fork all the way around the edge of each tart to full seal them completely. Also stab a few holes in the top of each tart to let the steam escape when the bake so they don’t explode. Unless you want strawberry jam all over the inside of your oven for artistic reasons.
7) Place your egg white in a small bowl and whip with a spoon or whisk until frothy. Add a couple drops of water if need be. Use a basting brush to coat each tart with this egg wash – this will help them brown up nicely.
8) Pop them in the oven for 15-20 minutes (once the edges and tops have started to brown, they should be done).
9) Remove tarts from the oven and let cool on pan for 10 minutes.
10) While the tarts are cooling, prepare the glaze. In a small bowl, combine milk and powdered sugar and use a whisk to combine completely. If you want it to be thicker (which will also result in a more white glaze as opposed to a more translucent glaze), just add more powdered sugar. You could also add food coloring at this point if you so desired – I didn’t do that because the idea of pink frosting just freaks me out. I don’t know why – it just does.
11) Once tarts have completely cooled, drizzle the tops with your glaze. You can choose to drizzle it on with a spoon, or frost them to cover the tops completely – as you can see in the pictures, I did a little of both. Immediately top with sprinkles if desired and then let glaze set completely. Either serve immediately or store in an airtight container until ready to serve. Enjoy!0