homemade blueberry pop tarts!

I have few memories of my time with my mother that are worthing saving. My chrysalis from child to adult practically occurred in the womb, so sometimes I struggle to remember moments when we were two giggling girls, happy. Before cocaine transformed the woman I loved into a cold, paranoid somnambulant, before we moved to the pristine postmark lawns and expensive finery that was Long Island, we lived in Brooklyn. We feasted on Gino’s pizza, greasy Chinese food {spare ribs + pork fried rice for two!}, Carvel banana boats and boxes of pop tarts. Back then, I’d never heard of the word “organic” or understood the perils of white flour and sugar. We ate what we could afford and splurged on junk food and “naughty” eats when we were flush.

Yesterday, for some reason, I remembered a time when I sold picture frames, wall hangings and knick-knacks on a sheet on Thirteenth Avenue, and I remember passersby regarding me with a kind of pity. I used to think that the end always justifies the means, so I scurried home with my dollar bills and bought Little Debbie cakes and sticker books.

motherWe loved our television loud and in color {we did have one small black and white set in the living room}, and nights I’d sometimes watch evening soaps and the game shows my mother liked to watch — all the while ripping apart the foil of a strawberry pop tart, my absolute favorite.

Time passes, and we turned off our television sets, moved to different parts to New York, separated. Within a span of fifteen years I told my mother that I couldn’t have her in my life. She was my first hurt, and loving her always seemed to ruin me. This is the very definition of survival, I thought, and I never touched the foods we shared a love for, again.

Until yesterday. Until I spent the day with one of my dearest friends and business partner, Angie, and I thought I’d make her kids a sweet treat.

While these aren’t the prettiest of tarts {I’m notoriously for failing at icing because I’ve no patience}, I assure you they are the tastiest. The bleached-white Kellogg’s version has been replaced by a buttery pastry dough, awash in egg and sugar and sprinkles.

Don’t be freaked out by making butter dough — it’s easier than you think.

INGREDIENTS: Adapted from Joanne Chang’s Flour: Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe
For the Pâte Brisée
Makes 8 pop-tarts
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks / 228 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp cold milk {I used almond milk}
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (340 grams) blueberry jam

For the Simple Vanilla Glaze
1 cup (140 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 to 3 tbsp water
Rainbow sprinkles for sprinkling (optional)

For the pastry: Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or a handheld mixer), mix together the flour, sugar, and salt for 10 to 15 seconds, or until combined. Scatter the butter over the top. Mix on low speed for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, or just until the flour is no longer bright white and holds together when you clump it and lumps of butter the size of pecans are visible throughout.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and milk until blended. Add to the flour mixture all at once. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds, or until the dough just barely comes together. It will look really shaggy and more like a mess than a dough.

Dump the dough out onto an unfloured work surface, then gather it together into a tight mound. Using your palm and starting on one side of the mound, smear the dough bit by bit, starting at the top of the mound and then sliding your palm down the side and along the work surface (at Flour we call this “going down the mountain”), until most of the butter chunks are smeared into the dough and the dough comes together. Do this once or twice on each part of the dough, moving through the mound until the whole mess has been smeared into a cohesive dough with streaks of butter.

Gather up the dough, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and press down to flatten into a disk about 1 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before using. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

For the pop tarts: Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card).

Brush the top surface of the entire scored rectangle with the egg. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle. Lay the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first. Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.

Using a knife, a pizza roller (easier), or a fluted roller (easier and prettier), and following the scored lines, cut the layered dough into 8 rectangles. Place the rectangles, well spaced, on a baking sheet.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

For the glaze: While the pastries are cooling, in a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and enough of the water to make a smooth, pourable glaze. You should have about 1/2 cup. (The glaze can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.)

When the pastries have cooled for 30 minutes, brush the tops evenly with the glaze, then sprinkle with the rainbow sprinkles (if using). Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the glaze to set before serving.

The pastries can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.


14 thoughts on “homemade blueberry pop tarts!

  1. You have found my heart through your wooden spoon and mixing bowl and that is no small feat! The magic of the pop tart-be still my heart! And the memories I have of this innocent childhood treat, now a closet indulgence! I can now rejoice and eat THIS pop tart boldly and loudly as I have not since sitting on the old, red brick apartment building’s back step, not caring which was a sprinkle and which, a speck of sand. Grinning! If you are ringing my bell, come back later! I will be baking!


  2. Total genius! Blueberry poptarts were my favorite as a child. Even in college I devoured them before class or sometimes during. Now though, my organic and gluten free eating lifestyle won’t allow me to indulge. I’m totally heartbroken…until now!
    They look amazing. I’m sure my Chef could figure out a gluten free method too.


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