This may be a bold statement, but, this is the best recipe for Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts. These adorable little treats might be small in size, but they are big on flavor. Homemade strawberry filling is tucked inside an easy-to-make buttery pastry, and finished with a simple vanilla glaze.
How to Make Strawberry Pop Tarts at Home
There is absolutely no comparing these homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts to anything you will find in a silver package, housed inside a cardboard box. These pastries are hands-down my favorite thing to ever come out of my kitchen. Starting with the delicate, flavorful pastry that was developed specifically for this recipe, all the way through to the strawberry filling that actually tastes like fresh strawberries... they are simply the best homemade strawberry pop tarts! Have I convinced you yet you need to bake these?
Steps to Make Strawberry Pop Tarts
Put this in the "project" category of recipes, but not the difficult category! There are a few steps needed to make homemade pop tarts and you should plan to make them over two days. To make the pop tarts you will need to:
- make and chill the strawberry filling (at least 12 hours of chill time)
- make and chill the dough (at least 12 hours of chill time)
- roll / fill / bake the pop tarts
- frosting the pop tarts
Tools Needed for This Recipe:
- food processor
- rolling pin
- pastry wheel cutter
- pastry brush
- pastry bench scraper
- Bowls, spatula, fork, etc
Homemade Strawberry Filling
If I can convince you of one thing, it's that you should make your own strawberry filling for this. This recipe does not call for store-bought strawberry jam, because this homemade strawberry filling really makes this recipe stand out. You'll do your pop tarts a disservice using store-bought jam. Traditionally, jam is made by long simmering strawberries until they concentrate in flavor. For these pop tarts, I really wanted the filling to taste of fresh strawberries to make it extra special.
To make this strawberry filling, you'll simmer strawberries with sugar until the juices release. Then, using either an immersion blender or a regular blender, the strawberries get pureed. Once smooth, the strawberries get heated up again, and a cornstarch slurry is added to thicken up the filling. Unlike jam, the moisture is not cooked out of the strawberries, so the cornstarch thickens it to the correct consistency.
It's important to use the best quality strawberries you can find! The juicier and sweeter the strawberry, the better tasting the filling will be.
This strawberry filling recipe yields more than you will need for the pop tarts. You can use the extra strawberry filling in other pastries, breads, with ice cream, with oatmeal or even in place of jam on bread. Or, you can use it to make more pop tarts! It also freezes well.
How Pop Tart Pastry Differs from Pie Dough
The pastry in this recipe is not traditional flaky pie dough. In fact, making a flaky pastry is the opposite of what you would want for a pop tart. Otherwise, you'd be making hand pies, right? Traditional pie dough--when made properly--would act more like puff pastry when rolled out and filled to make pop tarts. So this dough is made slightly different than my pie dough recipe instructs, with a few extra ingredients that make this pop tart dough perfect.
The dough is made in a food processor. Instead of leaving large chunks of butter in the dough (like you would for pie dough) the instructions call for running the processor until the dough clumps together around the blade. This ensures the butter is worked into the dough enough, which will prevent the dough from rising too much in the oven.
A touch of sugar is added to the dough, as well as a bit of milk, to make the pastry more flavorful and tender.
Rolling Out the Dough
The dough needs to be thoroughly chilled before rolling out. Once it's chilled (I always recommend making dough the day before and letting it rest overnight), remove from the refrigerator and let it soften up for 5-10 minutes. The dough is ready to roll out when it makes an indentation when you gently press your finger into the dough.
Generously flour your work surface, as well as your rolling pin. Divide the dough in half, and set the other half aside. Roll out the dough to a rough rectangle with a thickness of ⅛" thick. I recommend having a ruler on hand. Then, using either a knife or a pastry cutter, cut the dough into 4 x 3 inch rectangles. Rolling out each dough piece to a rough 9 x 13 inch rectangle should yield 8 rectangles. Then, re-roll the scraps and roll them out one time. In total, you should be able to get 16-18 rectangles.
After making this dough several times, I noticed that the thickness of the rolled out dough is very important. If the dough is rolled out too thin, the pop tart will collapse after it has finished baking. Do use a ruler to make sure the dough has been rolled out to an even thickness of ⅛" for best results.
How to Seal the Pop Tarts Well
It's important to seal the pop tart dough well, so that the filling does not leak out. There are quite a few tricks used in this recipe to make sure all that delicious strawberry filling stays inside. I recommend you follow them all for the best result!
- Brush the bottom pastry with egg wash. This helps seal the dough together.
- After you place the second piece of dough on top of the filling, make sure to push down on all sides of the pastry.
- Use a fork and press down on the edges of the pastry.
- And finally, the most important step: use a pastry bench scraper to slice of the very tip of the edges. This not only cleans up the edges so the pop tarts look neat, but it also acts to truly seal the two pieces of pastry together. Using a knife doesn't work the same, because knives are sharp and instead of mashing the two pieces of pastry together it just cuts right through them. If you don't have a pastry bench scraper, I recommend using another tool that is dull, but not so dull that it can't cut through soft pastry. Even a ruler might work well!
Pro-tip: don't overfill the pop tarts. Most people have the urge to have as much filling as possible. But if you recall, store-bought pop tarts have just a thin layer of filling. It should be the same for the homemade version. If you fill the pastry too much, it will naturally leak out of the sides.
Baking the Pop Tarts
The most important step in the baking of these pop tarts is the chilling time beforehand! Chilling the filled pastries ensures that they keep their shape well. Chill the filled pop tarts in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or ideally 1 hour, before baking.
Once they are chilled, take a sharp knife and poke holes through the top of the pastry. This lets steam escape during the bake and helps prevent the dough from rising too much and leaving a gap in between the filling and the top of the pastry. Sometimes this just happens anyways, as the butter can have a mind of its own in the oven.
These pop tarts taste best when they are just lightly baked. The goal is to not get too much browning on the dough. They should be baked in the middle rack until the bottoms are lightly golden, about 25 minutes.
Easy Homemade Pop Tart Glaze
The frosting on top is not to be forgotten! It's simple to make and consists of powdered sugar, a bit of milk, and a splash of vanilla extract. The glaze should be thick so it stays on top of the pop tart. You'll know you have the right consistency if when you drizzle the glaze it keeps it's shape for a few seconds when hitting the bowl.
If your glaze is too thin, simply add in a tablespoon more powdered sugar at a time. If it's too thick, add in more milk.
Once the pop tarts are cool, spoon on about 1 tablespoon of glaze and gently smooth it down along the top of the pop tart.
If desired, you can decorate the tops of the pop tarts with colored sugar or sprinkles. Crumbled freeze-dried strawberries would be a good fit here too!
Storing Strawberry Pop Tarts
The pop tarts will keep well for up to 3 days, at room temperature, in a closed container. Just make sure that the glaze is completely set before you place them on top of one another.
Un-frosted pop tarts can even be frozen, baked or unbaked, for up to 1 month in the freezer.
More Strawberry Recipes:
- Ginger Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
- Strawberry Cream Pie
- Strawberry and Cherry Slab Pie
- Chocolate Covered Strawberry Pie
Make sure to leave a comment if you've made these Strawberry Pop Tarts and tag my on Instagram @everydaypie or reach out if you have a question on this recipe.Print
This may be a bold statement, but, these are the best Homemade Strawberry Pop Tarts. These adorable little treats might be small in size, but they are huge on flavor. Homemade strawberry filling is tucked inside an easy-to-make buttery pastry, and finished with a simple vanilla glaze.
Pop Tart Dough:
- 2–½ cups (300 grams) all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 16 tablespoons (230 grams) unsalted butter, cold, cubed
- ⅓ cup (70 grams) whole milk
- 16 ounces strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
- ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons milk
- 1 cup (115 grams) powdered sugar
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons milk, more as needed
Make the Dough:
- Add the flour, powdered sugar and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined. Add in butter and pulse 7 times. With the motor running, pour in the milk and let process until the dough forms together into a cohesive ball.
- Scrape the dough from the bowl and place in a piece of plastic wrap and form into a rectangle, and wrap tightly. Using a rolling pin roll the dough out until it stretches to the corner of the plastic wrap to ensure a tight seal.
- Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.
Make the Strawberry Filling:
- Heat the strawberries and sugar over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the juices release. Continue to cook, while the filling is bubbling, for 5 minutes, making sure that the bottom is not burning.
- Carefully puree the strawberry mixture either with an immersion blender or a standard blender. Return the filling back to the pot and return the heat to medium.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and the lemon juice. Whisk the mixture into the pureed strawberries, and bring the filling up to a boil.
- Once the mixture has thickened, remove the filling from heat.
- Chill the filling for at least 12 hours, or overnight.
Prepare the Pop Tarts:
- Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator and let rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is slightly softened, so it is easier to roll. Divide the dough in half.
- On a well-floured work surface, roll out one piece of dough to a rough 9 x 13 rectangle, about ⅛” thick.. Using a pastry wheel or a knife, cut out 3 x 4 inch rectangles. Repeat with remaining dough. Then gather up the scraps and roll out the dough in the same manner, cutting out as many rectangles as possible. This dough should yield 16-18 rectangles.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place 9 rectangles down on the baking tray.
- Whisk together the egg and the milk to make the egg wash. Brush the egg wash on top of the edges of the pastry.
- Place 1 heaping tablespoon of strawberry filling in the middle of all of the rectangles. Place the remaining pastry rectangles on top, taking care to seal in the edges. Take a fork and crimp the edges. Finally, using a pastry bench scraper, press down to cut off the edges of the pastry. This makes the final product look neat, but it also seals the pop tarts well.
- Chill the tray of pop tarts in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Once chilled, using a knife, gently pop holes through the top of the dough to let the steam escape during baking.
Bake and Frost the Pop Tarts:
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bake the pop tarts in the middle rack, until the bottoms are slightly golden, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool.
- Add the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla to a bowl and whisk together. The glaze should be thick enough that it will keep its shape for a few seconds when drizzled off of a spoon.
- Place 1 tablespoon of glaze in the middle of the pop tarts and gently smooth it down. If desired, you can decorate the tops of the pop tarts with colored sugar or sprinkles.
- Pop tarts will keep, covered, at room temperature, for about 3 days.
Keywords: Strawberry Pop Tarts
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