Have you ever tasted a pop tart? The Kellogg’s pastry has been a popular snack in US since the 60’s, but I only tasted it for the first time a few weeks ago after watching Gilmore Girls. To celebrate the release of the new films, I decided to make a homemade version of brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts. These tarts are all natural, with a flaky pastry, a creamy filling and a sweet glaze. They are easy to make and so much better (and healthier) than the store-bought version.
I don’t know about you, but I spent the last five months re-watching the entire Gilmore Girls (all seven seasons!) in preparation for the new Netflix release of Gilmore Girls: A Year in The Life. At first I just wanted to watch a few old episodes, to refresh my memory and most importantly listen to Lorelai and Rory’s dialogues in English for the first time. Yep, I used to watch the dubbed Italian version when I was younger. As I sank deep into the world of Stars Hollow, I realised that I had missed so many episodes at the time of their release, actually most of season six and seven.
It became a marathon, a race against time to finish all the episodes of Gilmore Girls before the release of the new films. I made just in time! ;)
To celebrate my achievement, as much as the movie release, I decided to bake brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts: one of Lorelai’s favourite snacks and Rory’s staple breakfast food in the Chilton years.
It was either that or a takeaway order of pizza, tacos, chinese food AND ice cream in honour of Lorelai and Rory! ;)
I tasted the original, packaged, brown sugar cinnamon pop tart for the first time two weeks ago after buying a box at an American store in London. I didn’t expect to like it, but I actually thought it was really tasty and the texture wasn’t too bad either for a biscuit that was baked God knows how many months ago.
I bought them to do a flavour test ahead of tasting the real deal: homemade brown sugar cinnamon pop tarts!
These pop tarts are similar to the original, but are also 100 times better. The pastry is flaky and buttery, and it literally melts in your mouth as you give it a bite. The filling of brown sugar, cinnamon and a little bit of flour is creamy and just about sweet enough. The sugar glaze is soft and perfectly balances off the flavour of the pastry, which doesn’t have any sugar at all.
I prepared the pop tarts on a fast day (I have been the 5:2 diet for two months now, but more about this another time) and patiently waited one day to taste them. The next morning I reheated the pop tarts in the oven and ate two of them with a cup of coffee. I couldn’t believe how damn tasty they were!
Try this recipe, seriously. You will thank me later.
For the pastry
- 315g plain flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 250g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 100-120ml cold water
For the filling*
- 100g packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp plain flour
For the egg wash
- 1 large egg
- 2 tsp milk
For the glaze
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 tbsp milk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add cold unsalted butter, mix until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Slowly drizzle in the very cold water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring with the mixture with your hands. Do not add any more water than you need to. Roll out the dough on a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Form the dough into a ball. Divide in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands. Wrap each tightly in cling film. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Remove 1 chilled dough disc from the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Place disc onto a lightly floured work surface, and roll it into a rectangle about 3mm thick. Cut each piece of dough into thirds and each third into thirds again. You will end up with 9 rectangles, each measuring approximately 7x10cm.
Place each of the 9 rectangles onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Roll out the 2nd disc of dough into a rectangle and cut into 9 even rectangles like you did with the first half of the dough. Place the rectangles onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper.
Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a small bowl.
Brush egg wash over the entire surface of each rectangle. Place a tablespoon of the prepared brown sugar filling into the center of each rectangle, spread it around, leaving around 1/4 inch of space on the edges. Place rectangles of dough on top of the filling-topped rectangles – egg wash side down. Use your fingertips to press firmly around the pocket of filling, sealing the dough well on all sides.
Poke holes in the tops of each filled pastry using a toothpick. Seal the edges by pressing with a fork. Refrigerate the filled pop-tarts for at least 20 minutes to firm up the pastry.
Preheat oven to 180°C degrees. Brush the tops of the pop tarts with the remaining egg wash. Bake for about 22-25 minutes or until they’re golden brown. Let the pop-tarts cool down for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before glazing.
Whisk all of the glaze ingredients together in a medium bowl until it reaches a spreading consistency. Use a spoon or knife to glaze each tart. The glaze will slightly harden in about an hour.
Store pop-tarts in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for 6 days. To reheat, bake in the oven at 180°C degrees for 10 minutes.
Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction.
* you can fill the pop tarts with chocolate, jam or any other spread that you like!