Pop tarts will forever remind me of my last year of my masters. I was in the painting program, but had fallen in love with animation, and so apparently decided to do the final for animation (not that it got me any credit or anything), as well as my own final. I guess I just love to challenge myself for no apparent reason sometimes. So what was the final for animation? To make a cartoon of course! Traditional style. I mean draw every single little movement on paper over and over and over again. Overall my animation skills aren’t great, but I was happy with the little cartoon I made. You can click here to watch it if you like. Warning: This is not for little kids…I brought out the dark side of my humour here. Maybe because I was hallucinating on sugar the whole time…
So why does this cartoon remind me of pop tarts? I was basically living at the school, working away into the dead of night, and the nearest food source was a vending machine, which was pretty much picked clean by all the other animators, except for: duh duh dah! Pop Tarts! So thats what I ate, and I ate lots of them. So healthy, I know.
Ahhh pop tarts… Expectation: a dreamy, strawberry filled pastry. Reality: dry, chalky, and not very good. That is until you make your own! Talk about delicious-flaky-strawberry-filled-awesomeness. I had to keep swatting Andrew away during the different stages of making these, and eventually caved and let him eat two before they were even camera ready.
Thanks to Shannon Y. for commenting about how she missed pop tarts. You inspired me to veganize this treat!
Vegan Strawberry Pop Tarts:
(Makes about 6-8 Pop Tarts)
2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour and more for sprinkling
1/4 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Sugar
1 Cup Cold Coconut Oil or Cold Vegan Butter
1/2 Cup Cold Water
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Around 1 Cup Strawberry Jelly or Preserve
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tablespoon Almond Milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 Drop of Pink Food Colour (optional)
In a food processor, add the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the coconut oil or vegan butter into smaller chunks so it is easier to mix in, and add that to the food processor as well. Pulse until it just comes together. Add the vanilla extract to the 1/2 cup of cold water and give a little stir. Then continue pulsing as you slowly drizzle the water and vanilla mixture through the spout of the food processor, until JUST combined. Don’t over mix it or your dough won’t be flakey and delicious.
If you want to do this by hand instead of a food processor, cut the coconut oil or vegan butter into small cubes. Add the flour, salt, sugar, and coconut oil or vegan butter cubes into a large bowl. Use a pastry cutter, or fork to slice the butter into the flour, until you have a crumbly mixture, being careful not to over mix. Add the vanilla extract to the 1/2 cup of cold water and give a little stir. Slowly drizzle water and vanilla mixture in as you continue mixing until JUST combined. Again don’t over mix it or you won’t be happy with your results.
Collect the dough and lightly form a ball. Cover in plastic wrap and let cool in the fridge for 20 minutes or more.
Now that your dough is cool, lightly flour a clean surface. A dirty surface would be gross. Place your dough down, and lightly sprinkle some flour on top. Roll out the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick. If the dough starts getting sticky as you do this, just dust on a bit more flour.
Find your stencil. I just traced a spatula, but you could use any rectangular object, or just a piece of paper, that looks pop tart sized. Use it as your guide to cut rectangles into your dough. Try to fit in as many as possible. If you have more scrap dough, you can try rolling it out again to squeeze out a couple more rectangles. You need an even number so you have a top and bottom for each pop tart.
Lay half of your pop tart rectangles onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a non-stick mat. Make sure there is space around them so you have some room to work. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of strawberry jelly into the center of each rectangle. It will look like a lot, but the jelly seems to shrink during the baking so more is better at this stage. I used a sugar free strawberry preserve but you can use whatever you like. Next dip your finger in cold water and run some water around the edges of the rectangles, this is your glue. Place another rectangle of dough on top of the jelly, and use a fork crimp the edges together around all sides, then poke some vent holes in top.
I probably should have poked bigger vent holes! So you might want to try that. But either way, it doesn’t really matter if they explode a bit.
Take them out and let cool completely before icing.
Once your pop tarts are cool, whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon almond milk or other non-dairy milk, and 1 drop of pink food colouring, if using. You want your icing to be spreadable but not too drippy. If your icing is too thick, add 1 teaspoon of non-dairy milk at a time, until you are happy with your consistency. Spread on top of pop tarts, and let set. The icing will firm up similar to store bought pop tarts in a couple of hours, if you are that patient!