We all know that wave of nostalgia that hits us as we open up the foil wrapper and drop a pop-tart into the toaster in the morning. Sadly, in our grown-up ways, that nostalgia soon leads to disappointment as we bite into the thick, cardboard pie crust, filled with an artificially sweet filling made with numerous unpronounceable ingredients.
We don’t need to swear off pop-tarts forever though: you just have to swap store-bought for handmade. To get started, all that’s required is a fairly sturdy pie crust and whatever filling you fancy. After a few minutes in the oven you’ll have a fresh, steaming, grown-up pop-tart.
Any reliable pastry recipe will work perfectly for the crust. For a healthier twist, swap in some wholemeal flour. This will make a richer, nuttier crust, which is also perfect for a very grown-up savory pop-tart. Whether you prefer your pop-tart to be flakey, rich, sweet, or buttery, just select your pastry recipe accordingly. If you don’t want to make pastry from scratch at all, store-bought shortcrust or puff will work equally well.
A grown-up pop tart should not taste of artificial strawberries, blueberries or cookie dough. Fillings can be as simple or as complicated as you have time for. For a fruity tart, use jam or fresh fruit, remembering to mix in some thickener such as cornstarch or tapioca to stop the pastry from going soggy. For a fancier weekend breakfast, try a sophisticated chocolate ganache, an almond frangipane, or a mixture of marshmallows and chocolate for a S'more pop-tart. If you want pop-tarts for breakfast, lunch and dinner, make a savory filling like ham and leek, or kale and ricotta. These work so well with that healthy wholemeal pastry. Whatever you do, just make sure don’t over fill and that you seal the pastry tight: the last thing you want is two empty pieces of pastry and an oven covered in the contents of your tart.
Decorating the exterior of your tart is the final flourish. Either keep it simple with egg wash and a dusting of cinnamon sugar, or add some sophistication with chopped roasted nuts, melted dark chocolate, or a very boozy icing. However, we won’t judge you if you want to embrace your inner child and decorate with some brightly-colored sprinkles.