Pop tarts are a thin, bland, cookie like pastry enclosing the smallest possible layer of sweet paste/jam possible. This pastry is coated with royal icing, allowed to harden, and then sold to unsuspecting citizens who are told to toast this item into lava-hot temperature. The resulting burnt and shredded palates are the stuff of many happy childhood memories. Poptarts come 2 per pack, and are supposed to be eaten one at a time. But that never happens.
As unhealthy and bland as these confections may be, they hold a special place for most Americans and there are many many attempts on the web to replicate/improve/decipher the infamous goodie. Most of these are not very good.
Naomi set out to create a true clone of the famous breakfast pastry, which is a cross between a classic pate brise and a shortbread cookie, and to hack the secret to the filling.We believe this recipe does both. The yield is roughly 16-20 3×4 inch pastries, or two boxes worth.
We are including the two most popular flavors of filling: cinnamon/brown sugar and strawberry. Feel free to look to google for additional filling flavors or to create your own.
A few notes before you begin:
- This pastry is best when at least 24 hours old. Plan ahead for best results.
- You must follow all directions for thickness of dough and filling EXACTLY to get the taste and texture you remember – this is one instance where ‘if a little is good, more is….” a lot worse. Your finished pastries should be no more than 1/8 inch thick when baked!
- Do not be alarmed that the dough is crumbly as you work with it. It improves each time you roll it out. Naomi’s suggestions for metal spatulas are essential to make sure you don’t waste a lot of time and effort with a very delicate dough.
- Each filling recipe will make LOTS of filling. Enough for a double or even triple batch of pastries.
- This recipe was designed with our corn free customers in mind. If you have no issues with corn, by all means, please feel free to use corn syrup in place of our recommended sugar syrup. If using sugar syrup, you will want to let it cool completely before using (once again, plan ahead!)
1c granulated sugar
1/4 c water
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
To prepare: In a microwave safe bowl, combine sugar, water, and cream of tartar, stirring until well combined. Microwave in 30, second bursts, for up to 3-4 minutes, stirring after each burst, or until syrup is bubbling, clear and thickened. Allow to cool completely. makes about 8 fluid ounces
4 c (16oz – 1 lb – or 454g) Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 tsp salt
1 c palm shortening (transfat free!) or crisco
6 fl ounces simple syrup
Up to 4 fl oz water
Cinnamon Brown Sugar Filling
1/4 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
1 tbsp palm shortening or crisco
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp simple syrup
1 Tbsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
enough water to thin to a paste (2-4 tbsp)
To prepare: blend all ingredients together until a thick paste forms, using just enough water to create a paste that will spread but that can be moved and rolled around easily with a spatula.
Strawberry (or fruit) Filling
1 c thick preserves or jam (we prefer a very thick all fruit preserves variety, but feel free to use any you prefer – do NOT use jelly)
1/4 c Better Batter Gluten Free Flour
To prepare: blend together until a thick paste forms (you may use a blender or a fork and bowl).
2 c powdered sugar (you may use corn free)
2 fl oz water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp clear vanilla
To prepare: mix all ingredients together until clear. Icing should flow but be slightly thick.
1/4 c preserves of your choice
1 c powdered sugar (you may use corn free)
To prepare – blend together until well mixed. Icing will be thick but will thin when placed on pastries
metal spatulas for moving pastry
ruler for measuring, with clear markings
silpats, plastic wrap for rolling
silpats, parchment paper for baking
wire rack for cooling
sprinkles if desired
TO MAKE THE TARTS
If using simple syrup, prepare and cool completely.
Prepare the icing you desire and the filling flavor (s) and set aside
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, blend together the Better Batter flour, salt, and shortening, until lumps the size of small peas appear. Add the simple syrup, turning the speed to high, and blend until thoroughly combined. Add JUST enough water to make the dough clump and leave the sides of the bowl in a ball. The dough should stay together when squeezed but should still be delicate, greasy, and somewhat crumbly.
Squeeze together into a ball and wrap well in plastic wrap. Shape into a rectangle and freeze for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Lightly flour a silpat, rollpat, or parchment paper and turn chilled dough out onto the surface. Lightly flour the surface of the dough and cover with enough plastic wrap to roll to 15 inches by 12 inches.
Roll out dough until it is 1/16 of an inch thick. It is ESSENTIAL to roll the dough this thin in order to have the final thickness of the pastry match the store-bought original and for the texture and taste to be right!.
Peel the plastic wrap from the dough.
Using a ruler, mark the dough at 3 inch intervals, and use the ruler and a spatula to score/cut the dough into lines along the intervals. in the opposite direction, score the dough into 4 inch intervals and cut along these lines. Using the spatula remove all extra dough and set aside to re-roll.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats. working with metal spatulas flour the spatula lightly and use one or two to slip the edges under the pastry and to work it free from the rolling surface – be careful! Gently lift half the rectangles onto the baking sheet.
Using a knife or an additional spatula, spread up to 1 1/2 tsp filling of choice onto the rectangles, leaving 1/4 inch space on all sides. This filling should be no thicker than 1/16 of an inch thick!!!! you should be able to see through the filling in some spots, but it’s okay to have a few thicker spots.
Cover each filled rectangle with another rectangle.
VERY gently, with your fingers and NOT a fork, press the edges together to seal. You may want to be sure to press out any air pockets in the filling section, but try not to apply pressure to the pastry.
Using a fork, lightly prick the pastries, through the first layer of dough and into the filling but NOT through the bottom layer four times (in two rows, evenly separated) to allow steam to escape – this is VERY important for proper texture!
Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until the pastries are just barely beginning to brown to a light golden color on the edges – the centers should still be pale!
Remove to wire cake rack immediately to cool, using metal spatulas to gently support the pastry as you slide it onto the rack.
Repeat process with additional dough, filling, etc.
Meanwhile, allow pastries to cool for 10 minutes. Working quickly spoon/rub about a tsp of glaze of choice over the top of the pastry – this should be about 1/16 of an inch thick. It will seem to melt a bit into the pastry and then harden and grow shiny.
Allow pastries to sit uncovered, overnight, to harden completely.
Store in an airtight container for up to (or at least) two weeks.