You guys. I have been sick for a week with whatever rude cold situation is floating around. And it was also the busiest week of the year for work. I lost my voice no less than 3 times. Thankfully, I had these pop-tarts to help me survive. They're the first thing I've made that have really felt like fall is here. Fall is my favorite!
I used to LOVE pop-tarts as a kid. But here's the thing...I only liked the ones that didn't have any icing. And I never got into all those weird flavors. It was always either standard strawberry, or my absolute favorite, cinnamon brown sugar. Cinnamon brown sugar pop tarts with no icing are the business. Now that I'm admitting this to the world, I'm beginning to realize how strange of a child I was. What kind of kid doesn't want icing and weird cookie dough or fudge flavored pop-tarts? Weirdo.
Ok, so, here's the thing. These might be a little less like pop-tarts and a little more like a toaster strudel. But only because the crust is super flaky and delicious. The filling is not oozy-gooey in the same way as, say, an apple toaster strudel. It will not turn into lava and burn the hell out of your mouth.
These flaky little beauties have both a pumpkin pie-esque filling, and an adapted frangipane style filling. It's toasty and nutty and spiced and pumpkin-y, with no flavor overwhelming any other. They're sweet but not too sweet, and custardy but still structurally sound...there's a bit of creme fraiche in the pumpkin to give a extra little creaminess and richness, without being over the top. Since they're a twist on something familiar, they're comforting, too.
Note: I know the ingredient list for this looks insane, but you probably have most of it already. Don't be deterred. Also, you'll have some extra crust scraps and filling leftover -- make haphazard pies in ramekins with your leftovers and bake until set and golden once your pop-tarts are out of the oven. I was able to make 2 crazy looking pies in 3.5" ramekins.
Pumpkin + Almond Pop-Tarts
makes 8-10 pop tarts
for the crust:
1/3 cup ice water
4 TB cold buttermilk
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 TB + 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
16 TB cubed, very cold unsalted butter (cube it, and then freeze for 20 min before using)
for the almond filling:
1 cup toasted almonds (unsalted)
1 TB all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 TB sugar
4 TB unsalted butter, cut into pieces (cold is fine)
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
for the pumpkin filling:
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup creme fraiche (use 3-4 TB of cream cheese or mascarpone if you don't have creme fraiche)
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
for the assembly:
1 egg, beaten with 1 TB water for egg wash
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
a few TB milk
sprinkles, if desired
- Make the crust:
- Mix water and buttermilk in a bowl. Keep cold.
- In your food processor, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse a few times to mix.
- Scatter butter cubes over the flour mixture. Pulse 10-20 times, until the butter is the size of peas.
- Pour half of the water/buttermilk mixture over the flour and pulse until incorporated. Repeat with remaining water/buttermilk mixture.
- Feel the dough. If the dough doesn't hold together when pinched and feels try, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and pulse again. Pulse until dough forms large clumps and holds together. No dry flour should remain.
- Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a disc and wrap well in plastic. Refrigerate each disc for an hour before using.
- While dough is refrigerating, prepare pop-tart fillings.
- Prepare almond filling:
- Combine almonds, flour, salt, and sugar in your food processor. Run until ingredients are combined and almonds are pulverized.
- Add butter. Run machine until thoroughly combined.
- Add egg and extracts. Run again until thoroughly mixed. You don't really have to worry about over-mixing here.
- Pour into piping bag or a bowl and set aside.
- Prepare pumpkin filling:
- Combine all ingredients in food processor, and run machine until thoroughly combined.
- Prepare dough:
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Let dough sit out on counter for about 5-10 minutes before rolling out.
- When ready to roll, flour your countertop well. Roll out one disc of dough into a rectangle about 1/8" thick.
- Using a pastry wheel or pizza wheel or just a really sharp knife, trim dough so the edges of the rectangle are even. Set scraps aside for the haphazard pies I mentioned above.
- Cut dough rectangle into smaller equal rectangles of desired size. I got 8 rectangles from each disc of dough. Repeat with second disc of dough.
- Line two cookie sheets with parchment. Place half your dough rectangles, spaced well, on the cookie sheets.
- Assemble pop-tarts:
- On each rectangle, spoon or pipe a bit of pumpkin mixture and a bit of almond mixture (I spooned the pumpkin, and then piped the almond on top). The amounts will vary depending on the size of your rectangles. Just remember, give yourself a reasonable border of dough -- you'll need to be able to seal the pop tarts and crimp the edges without filling spilling out everywhere.
- Whip up your egg wash (1 egg beaten with a TB of water), and light brush the edges of the dough. Place another rectangle of dough over the top of the filling, and crimp the edges with a fork. Make sure the edges are sealed well!
- Repeat with remaining dough rectangles and filling.
- Once all pop-tarts are assembled and crimped/sealed, either cut a few small slits in the top of each with a sharp knife, or prick tops with a fork a couple of times. It will help steam escape so they don't explode while baking. Then, brush the tops with egg wash.
- Bake pop-tarts at 400F for 15-25 minutes each, or until golden. Bake time will be dependent on size of pop-tarts. Mine took about 25 minutes.
- Allow to cool.
- Make icing, if using: Whisk together powdered sugar and milk. Use a small amount of milk at a time until desired consistency is reached.
- Drizzle or spread over cooled pop-tarts**. Add sprinkles if desired. See note below!!
- Pop-tarts keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. Reheat in the toaster oven!
**Pro-tip: if you're using it, only put icing on the pop-tarts as you eat them. The pop-tarts themselves reheat extremely well in the toaster oven, but if they already have icing on them, it tends to melt and get a little burnt. The icing will keep in an airtight container in the fridge, so just stir vigorously and drizzle on your pop-tarts as you're ready to eat them.