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Homemade pop tarts are one of my favorite things to make. Of course, as a kid I loved store bought pop tarts in every flavor: strawberry, s’mores, brown sugar cinnamon… excuse me while I wipe the drool from my face.
But now that I’m a proper adult, I actually prefer the homemade version of pop tarts. As in, a buttery, flakey dough filled with some sort of fruit jam, and topped with a powdered sugar glaze.
And when you think of it being those three ingredients- dough, jam, and glaze- the flavor variations for pop tarts from scratch are practically endless.
In general, my favorite recipes are ones that take classic or traditional desserts, and elevate them with interesting flavor combination. And this pop tart recipe is no exception.
It starts with a buttery homemade pop tarts dough, which is basically pie dough. Then I used my favorite apricot preserves in the center (perfect for this Middle Eastern Month that I have going on the blog!), and finished it with an almond extract icing.
Today’s recipe is for sure going down on my “winners” list for recipes I know I have to make again. Which, seeing as I make 3-4 recipes a week, is saying a lot.
Last! Let’s talk about my tips for this recipe. For starters, I suggest making the pop tart dough the night before. Let it rest in the fridge, and take it out once you’re ready to get baking.
I also highly recommend using a high quality jam or preserve in this recipe. Because there are so few ingredients, quality matters. I went with Bonne Maman apricot preserves, which are just lovely.
Last, use a wooden ruler to measure your pop tarts, and cut the dough with a pizza cutter that you run along the ruler for crisp, clean edges.
Alright, who’s ready to make pop tarts from scratch?!
In a food processor, mix together flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse in cubed butter, pulsing until the texture resembles a corse meal.
Pour in ice water, then pulse everything together until just combined. If dough is too dry and not coming together, add in another tablespoon of water.
Form dough into 2 equal sized disks and wrap each with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour, but up to 2 days.
To assemble the pop tarts
Remove one of the doughs from the fridge. Place a large piece of plastic wrap over a work surface, then sprinkle flour over it. Also flour a rolling pin. Working quickly, roll the dough out into a 10″x13″ rectangle.
Using a ruler and a long knife, cut your dough into a perfect 9″x12″ rectangle. Then, cut your rectangle into 9 equal pieces, each 3″x4″.
Lift a corner of the saran wrap up off of your surface to help gently release the 3″x4″ rectangles from their place. Transfer to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving at least 1 inch between each rectangle. Once all 9 rectangles are moved onto the baking sheet, place the sheet in the freezer while you repeat the rolling & cutting process with the second half of the dough.
Once all of your dough is cut, preheat your oven to 350°F.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer. Brush the edges of each of your 9 pop tart bases with a heavy cream wash (this will help the dough to stick together).
Spoon a rounded tablespoon of apricot preserves into the center of each pop tart base. Spread it slightly, but not too close to the edges.
Place the remaining dough over the filling of the pop tart. Press down on the edges slightly to seal the dough together. Then, using a fork, create indentations around the entire pop tart.
Brush the remaining heavy cream wash over the pop tarts, then use your fork to create 4-5 airholes on the top. Bake for 30 minutes, then allow to cool completely.
For the glaze
Once the pop tarts are baked, it’s time to glaze! Whisk together the powdered sugar, heavy cream, and almond extract. Heat in the microwave for 15 seconds to get the mixture more liquified. Spread the icing over the pop tarts, then sprinkle sliced almonds for garnish!