Vegan Pop Tarts
Vegan pop tarts are here, and they're everything you'd hoped they'd be: sweet, flaky, jammy and nostalgic. These take a little precision and determination, but nothing has ever been more worth it. Trust me.
After croissants, this is definitely my proudest achievement of the month. Maybe even year. Maybe even life. Who knows. The thing about these vegan pop tarts is that they just bring joy when you look at them, hold them and eat them. Unlike store-bought pop tarts which are neither vegan nor made with care, these are made up of a flaky buttery pastry, filled with just the right amount of jam and are the perfect level of sweet.
How precise you choose to be with these is up totally up to you. Whether you create perfect rectangles, trim the edges and insist on perfectly lined icing or not, the pop tarts will still blow your socks off. The one thing you do want to make sure of, however, is that you're not skipping the chilling/fridge instruction. It's pastry after all, and keeping the butter cold will ensure the pop tarts are delicious and flaky. I made the pastry in the food processor, as the temperature of my hands tends to warm the butter too much. But if you don't have a food processor, you can also make the dough in a large bowl. Work the butter into the flour with a pastry cutter, or use your hands and work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt.
As far as the filling goes you have two options. You can follow the recipe or use your favourite store-bought strawberry jam. I'm slightly biased and encourage you to make the filling as you'll feel EVEN prouder of yourself at the end and it's just the right consistency for the being baked in the pastry, but do whatever time allows for.
30 mins (+chilling)
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
280g cold butter, cubed
2 tbsp iced water
5 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
½ tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp plant based milk
1 tbsp oil
240g icing sugar
3 tbsp plant based milk
20g plant based sprinkles
Start by making the dough. Combine flour, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed cold butter, and pulse for 2-3 minutes, until the butter has completely broken down and the mixture is crumbly.
With the food processor running, drizzle in 2 tbsp iced water, until a ball forms in the food processor. Tip the dough out of the food processor and split it in two parts. Wrap each part in a sheet of parchment or cling film and wrap them up. Let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours.
While the dough rests, prepare the filling. In a blender, combine strawberries and 40ml water and blend on high speed for 2 minutes, until completely smooth. Strain the mixture into a saucepan.
In a small bowl, combine sugar and cornstarch and mix to combine - this stops the cornstarch from clumping up. Add the sugar mixture and lemon juice to the strawberries and stir to combine.
Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer over medium heat, and cook for 35-40 minutes, until it has halved in size and become thick and glossy. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let cool completely in the fridge for around 45 minutes.
When the dough has rested, remove one portion from the fridge and unwrap it on a lightly floured surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough until it’s around 35x25cm. Use a pizza cutter or long sharp knife to cut 8 rectangles - they should be approximately 11x8.5cm. Note: there will be scraps, which you can re-roll and turn into an extra pop tart.
These are the bases of the poptarts. Carefully place these on a parchment lined baking tray and let them rest in the fridge for 10 minutes. In the meantime, repeat the process with the second portion of dough. Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes. These are the tops of the pop tarts.
Remove the bases from the fridge but keep them on the tray. Using a knife, lightly score a smaller rectangle on each base, 1.5cm from the edges. This will help you spread the filling. Use a spoon to scoop a heaped tbsp of filling onto each base, and use a knife or offset spatula to spread the filling up until the lines you previously scored.
Use a toothpick to carefully prick around 9 holes on each pop tart - this allows for steam to escape while the pop tarts bake. Use a knife or pizza cutter to trim any even edges.
Place the pop tarts in the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C. Once the pop tarts have hardened slightly, use a fork to crimp the edges. Place the pop tarts in the fridge for one last time for 10 minutes.
Combine oil and plant based milk in a small bowl and brush over the pop tarts. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the tops are golden and crisp. Let cool completely.
While the pop tarts bake, prepare the icing. Combine icing sugar and milk in a large bowl and whisk until smooth. It should be a smooth thick glaze that can hold its shape for 3-4 seconds when lifted and drizzled onto itself. If it’s feeling too runny, whisk in an extra 1-2 tbsp of icing sugar.
Once the pop tarts have cooled completely, it’s time to glaze them. For a tidy geometric glaze, transfer the glaze into a piping bag, and pipe a rectangle onto the top of the pop tart. For a more rustic look, simply add 2 tsp of glaze onto each pop tart and use a spoon to spread it around. Top the pop tarts with sprinkles, then let the glaze set for 1 hour.
The pop tarts will last up to 4 days stored in an airtight contained, or 2-3 months when frozen.
By Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.