As a kid I REALLY liked those oh so bad for you toaster pastries. The kind with the cream cheese-like icing. For a while, I’d been trying to figure out a good way to make them homemade though because one, excess packaging sucks and two, I’m pretty darn sure those toaster pastries are not organic or vegan.
One rainy day I had some free time and a mad green apple craving, but didn’t feel like apple pie, so I whipped some pop tarts up.
My friend who tried these said, “This is about the best thing I ever ate.” My son Cedar actually ate a whole one and he almost NEVER eats an entire sweet anything, so that was impressive. Cedar and his friend who was over both said, “These are delicious!” I liked them too. These were perfectly tender, sweet but not overly so and the frosting added a nice dessert-like touch.
Recipe size: This recipe made 4 regular sized pop tarts and 3 mini tarts. I only made a half batch because this was a test. I’ve listed the full recipe below, so you should get double the amount of pop tarts that I got.
The Process in General:
- Make crust.
- Make filling.
- Fill crusts with filling.
- 2 cups organic flour. I used whole wheat pastry flour. For a lighter dough, use white organic flour or a wheat/white mix.
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- About 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons vegan butter – I used Earth Balance
- 1/2 cup milk alternative – I used organic vanilla soy milk
- Various fruits and spices (see tips below) – I didn’t totally keep track of how much fruit I used, but I’m guessing you’ll need about 3 to 4 cups of fruit depending on the fruit. For example, peaches seem to cook down more than apples so if you make peach pop tarts, you’ll need more fruit than if using apples or pears. It really varies with how full you fill your tarts and the type of fruit you have on hand. Experiment.
Make your filling first
I made three different quick fillings based on what I had around the house. I had some green apples, some peaches and apricots and some blueberries. You can use ANY fruits you like. Be creative. Use strawberries, cherries, pears, mango, blackberries or any other fruit you have sitting around in excess.
Cook your fruit down, spice it up with cinnamon or nutmeg then make sure to add a bit of of flour or cornstarch to thicken it. This is also a great way to use up leftover jam.
Apple filling: I combined 2 cups of diced organic granny smith apples, 1/3 cup organic white sugar, 1 tablespoon organic flour, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, dash of ginger and a dash of organic vanilla extract. Cook in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water until your apples are nice and soft. Stir often. The apple filling was the BEST most awesome ever filling in my opinion. 2 apples made enough filling to fill 4 regular sized pop tarts and 3 mini tarts.
Peach + apricot filling: You can make this with just peaches if you like, but I had a couple apricots I needed to use so I added those in too. Combine about 2 cups worth of diced peaches (and apricots if you like) with 1/3 cup of brown sugar, BIG dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg, 1/3 cup organic white sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract, a few tablespoons of cornstarch. Cook everything over medium heat until everything gets nice and soft.
Blueberry filling: All I did here was puree some blueberries with some white sugar. I didn’t even bother to cook it which resulted in a filling that was a little too watery. I highly suggest you cook the berries down and add a bit of flour or cornstarch. If you’ve got some fresh lemons around, I’d add a squeeze of juice too.
Set your fillings aside, in the fridge, then make your dough.
Make your dough
Combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in the butter until the flour mixture looks like little pea-sized crumbs. Mix in your milk so that the dough is just sticking together. If you need more or less milk, that’s okay. You don’t want sticky dough though, so don’t add too much.
Don’t knead. Instead, pull your dough into a ball. Roll it into a rectangle shape. Then you need to fold. Folding your dough will give your pop tarts a more flaky, less pie-crust minded texture. I.e. pie crusts are fairly one-dimensional, you want layered dough.
To achieve layered dough, fold your rectangle of dough over again and again, until you have what looks like a layered block of dough. Roll the dough block out with your rolling pin into another rectangle of dough. Re-fold, re-roll and so on. Repeat this process about 5 or 6 times. Then cut your dough into little squares.
Assemble and bake your tarts
Grab one of your squares of dough and roll it out pretty thin. Cut your dough into squares or get creative and use cookie cutters to make shaped pop tarts. Add a dollop of filling onto the bottom layer, place another piece of dough atop the filling, then seal your tarts.
This is important – If you forget to seal both sides, your crusts may not stay together. So, first use a fork or your fingers to smoosh the sides together. Then turn your tarts over and repeat the process on the other side. You may also want to dip your fingers in water or non-dairy milk when sealing your tarts, as the liquid creates a better seal.
Poke steam vent holes in the top of each tart as shown above. Place on parchment lined pan and bake on 350 for about 20 minutes.
Once baked, allow the tarts to cool on a cooling rack a bit before frosting or eating.
Frosting or glaze option
You can frost these if you like – or not. They’re good either way. I used a light drizzle of glaze on some of mine and just sprinkled a little organic sugar on some others. To make an easy and simple sugar glaze, mix a little powdered sugar with a wee bit of soy milk until you have a drizzling consistency. Add more milk or sugar as needed.
For a thicker frosting, you can use the same frosting recipe I posted in my organic gingerbread recipe.
You can get fancy and pipe your thicker glaze or frosting on, but I was being lazy and fast so I simply used a spoon and drizzled some light glaze on my tarts.
You can also use a thick chocolate sauce, brown sugar, pumpkin pie filling, a nut butter, or other good stuff inside of these tarts. Also, if you want your tarts to be more “pastry” like use puff pastry instead of pie crust-minded dough.
For less sweet pop tart options use the crust to make “Hot Pockets.” I’ve made these before for dinner, but I made them bigger and stuffed them with veggies and a thick pot pie minded broth. You could also fill these with Italian goods, like tomato sauce and vegan (or regular) cheese or broccoli and vegan cheese.