Apologies in advance: You're going to be bummed that it's taken you so long to make these at home. They're blow-your-mind simple — you'll just need basic pastry dough and a fruit filling.
Pastry dough is essentially pie dough, but with more sugar. All that sweet stuff helps the pop-tarts brown while they bake, and it gives the pastry a hit of sweetness to complement the filling. (Don't freak out that this pastry is a little flakier than the commercial pop-tart pastry, because it's change for the better.)
When it comes to filling, jam is the best. Don't be lured by jelly: Though it looks more similar to the filling inside store-bought pop-tarts, it tends to melt too quickly and run out of the pastries while they bake. Jam has a better consistency and doesn't usually have pieces of fruit in it. Those chunks of fruit are tasty, sure, but they're not quite right for pop-tart filling. If your jam contains pieces, just leave them out. You can use any flavor of jam, from strawberry to apple to pineapple.
You might be surprised, but I usually skip the white icing and sprinkles because these sorts of toppings don't hold up very well in a toaster. I like to toast these puppies until they're dark golden brown to give them an extra-crisp edge and to warm up the filling. But if you're in the "all frosting, all the time" camp, you can whip up your favorite chocolate ganache or a simple glaze of powdered sugar, milk and a dash of vanilla extract — just skip the toasting.
One more thing: This recipe only makes six pop-tarts, so you might want to double it. The cooked (un-iced) pop-tarts can be frozen and reheated in the toaster or toaster oven, so it's worth the effort to make a few more to have on hand when the craving strikes.
Homemade Pop-Tarts Recipe
Makes six tarts
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, cold
- 4-6 tbsp ice water
- 6 tablespoons of your favorite jam
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. Cut butter into several chunks and add to flour mixture.
Cut butter in using a pastry cutter or rub in using your fingertips. Do this until the mixture is sandy, and all pieces of butter are pea-sized or smaller.
Add ice water gradually, mixing your dough with a fork or spatula until it comes together in a rough ball. Knead gently with your hand and shape the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425 F.
On a well-floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle that's ⅛" thick. Cut 12 rectangles that measure approximately 4-inches x 3-inches using a bench scraper or a chef's knife.
Place about 1 tablespoon of jam in the center of six of the rectangles of pastry, making sure that the jam doesn't spread to the edges of the dough.
Brush a small amount of water (feel free to use your fingertip if that's easier) around the edges of each jam-filled rectangle and carefully place a piece of pastry without jam on top. Press the edges to seal and crimp with a fork.
Transfer your pastries to a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden. Allow them to cool on a wire rack before serving (or frosting, if you prefer). Dig in immediately, or toast un-frosted tarts again before serving if you like.