When I first came to the US, I was so stoked to finally be able to try pop tarts. They talked about it all the time on Gilmore Girls. Lorelai had a pop tart for the first time at her friend’s house and thought to herself: “my mom would hate it if she saw me eating this” – or something like that. And to her, that feeling was liberating because of all the issues she had with her parents.
Yes, I’ve watched Gilmore Girls once or twice (or 8 times) and I know it by heart.
They also mention pop tarts when Emily Gilmore (Lorelai’s mom) has the maid make pop tarts from scratch for Rory or for dessert at a Friday night dinner, or something like that (ok, maybe I don’t know it by heart…).
Point being, as much as I’ve always loved Lorelai, I was never really on board with her eating habits: frozen tarter tots, frozen pizza, frozen waffles, basically anything frozen or canned, while using her oven to store books. But I’ve always agreed with her mother’s fancy meals and extravagant dinners with salmon puffs and broccoli tartlets.
To me, the idea of a homemade pop tart is the one that’s liberating, poetic, beautiful!
Today, I give you the recipe for my Pastry Puff dough. Keep this recipe. Make it anytime anything calls for pastry puff. This is a real keeper! I’ve been making it for years.
As far as the pop tarts go, you can fill it with anything, blueberry jam, cream cheese and jam, chocolate, Nutella, chopped and cooked fruits.
You can glaze them also with anything. Sugar glaze, white chocolate glaze, lemon glaze, almond glaze or whatever kind of glaze you can think of. I could sit here and name glazes all night but I will spare you.
I’ll just say one thing: these pop tarts are way better than anything I’ve ever had from the store. Just saying…
Also check out my Walnut and Cardamom Pastries recipe, that you can also use this homemade Puff Pastry recipe to make.
Strawberry Pop Tarts with Chocolate Ganache
Puff Pastry dough
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 14 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 stick plus 6 tablespoons
- 6-7 tablespoons ice water
Strawberry Jam Filling
- 16 oz strawberries rinsed, stems removed and cut in half
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 lemon juiced
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons cold water
- 4 ounces chocolate any chocolate you prefer, milk, bittersweet, dark, or a combination
- 4 ounces heavy cream
Puff Pastry dough
- Cut butter into small 1/2” pieces and stick it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- In the bowl of a food processor add flour and salt. Add butter to food processor and process about 10-20 times until butter pieces are almost all incorporated into flour. When butter pieces are a bit smaller than the size of a pea, it’s time to stop. Do a couple pulses at a time and keep checking.
- Drizzle ice water over mixture and process 3-4 times to combine. Transfer dough to the counter and work it minimally just enough to turn it into a ball. Don’t overwork your dough, otherwise it will be tough and not as flaky.
- Form mixture into a 7 inch square, wrap it in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, remove dough from the fridge and roll it out into a large rectangle, measuring about 16x10”. Fold it letter style, wrap it and refrigerate it again. Folding the dough letter style means you’ll think of the widest side of the dough as divided into 3 parts, then you are going to fold one end all the way up to 2/3 of the length and then fold the other end over.
- After 30 minutes, do the same thing again, now rolling the dough from the open sides. Fold it letter style and refrigerate again. Repeat this once more after 30 minutes. And then, refrigerate the dough for a couple hours before using.
Strawberry Jam Filling
- Place strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until strawberries are soft and you can mash them with a fork, wooden spoon or a potato masher. Mash them up and keep cooking for a little bit longer. Taste for sugar, if it’s not sweet to your taste, add a little bit more sugar. Be aware that sometimes you’ll have a batch of very sweet berries or very tart berries, and the amount of sugar you add will depend on that. So make sure to taste your jam.
- Once strawberries are mashed, mix cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl. When cornstarch is dissolved, add solution to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly for 2 minutes, until it boils and jam thickens.
- Transfer jam to a container, cover and refrigerate for a few hours before using.
- Chop chocolate and add it to a bowl.
- Heat heavy cream just until before it boils. Don’t let cream actually come to a boil.
- Pour cream over chocolate and stir until all the chocolate is melted. Sometimes not all the chocolate will melt, when that happens, I stick the bowl in the microwave for a few seconds at a time and keep stirring until it’s smooth.
- Set it aside to use later.
- Notice that for the ganache to get to a piping consistency, you will need to wait until it’s completely cooled down. I like to stick my bowl in the fridge if I’m in a hurry.
- To assemble
- Remove dough from the fridge and divide it into 2 parts. Roll the first part until it’s 1/4” thick. Cut squares that are about 3” by 4” using a pizza cutter or a knife. I like to put my rectangles of dough in a baking sheet and stick it in the fridge while I roll out the second half because the dough will start to get warm and harder to work with.
- Once you’ve rolled the first half and have cut as many rectangles as possible, roll out the second half.
- To assemble your pop tarts, simply place a heaping teaspoon of strawberry filling in the center of a rectangle, cover with another rectangle and crimp edges with a fork.
- Before I bake my tarts, I stick the tray in the freezer while I pre-heat my oven because this way the butter will firm up and provide a better structure.
- Pre-heat oven to 375F and brush tarts with an egg wash (an egg beaten). Bake for about 15 minutes or so. Check halfway to see if you need to rotate your pan. Keep an eye on your tarts so they don’t overbake, every oven is different and it might take less or more time in your oven than in mine.
- Once tarts are cool, place chocolate ganache in a piping bag, cut a small tiny hole in the bag and pipe ganache beautifully over tarts.
Recipe for 10 pop tarts measuring 3” by 4”