Who remembers eating pop tarts when we were kids? I remember loving them so much. But I never like the ones with icing. I’d seek out the plain apple cinnamon ones. It’s basically a mini hand held apple pie. And we all know anything mini is way better right?
Grown Up Homemade Pop Tarts
The flavour of these apple hand pies aka pop tarts is much more grown up than the childhood version. I make the crust from scratch. It is essentially the same as the short crust pastry I use in my favourite apple pie recipe. The secret is to add some aged cheddar into the crust. It makes such a difference in the end, especially when you get a bite of cheesy crust and apple butter! Something about apples and cheddar together is magical!
Gluten Free Pop Tart Option
The crust shown here is not gluten free. But If you want a gluten free option, I have shared my gluten free apple pie crust here. You can make the same gluten free crust to substitute for the crust used in the recipe below to make your gluten free pop tarts!
Easy Homemade Apple Butter
Like me, you probably also have a large amount of apples lying around after jumping on the whole apple picking bandwagon this fall. And making apple butter is a great way to use up all those apples this time of year. Apple butter is basically just apples cooked down with some spices till it turns into this deliciously thick jam like sauce. It is very light and healthy, and it would be great as a topping on ice cream, yogurt, or even just as a spread on a slice of toast with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
But the best way to use it up is to turn it into these hand pies – or pop tarts! Especially now, when we are all stuck at home getting that quarantine baking itch again!
Homemade Pop Tarts
- 1 qty basic short crust pastry (store bought or make my version – recipe below)
- 1 cup apple butter (recipe below)
- 1 large egg
- Preheat oven to 400F (204C).
- Lightly flour a clean counter and start rolling out the cold short crust pastry till about 1/4 inch thick (about 5 mm). Cut into equal squares. Or use a large cookie cutter shape to cut the dough. You want to make sure you have an even number of the same shape (so you have a bottom and a top for each pie).
- Pair up your pastry squares or shapes into equal sized pairs for the top and the bottom. Spread out about 1 tbsp of apple butter into the middle of each of the 'bottom' halves. Place the 'top' onto the filled crust. Using a fork, gently press down on the edges to make sure they are well sealed all around.
- Use a sharp knife to cut a 1 inch (2 cm) long slice into the top of each pie to allow steam to escape.
- Place the pies on a parchment lined baking sheet, leaving some space between each pie to allow them to expand a bit.
- In a small bowl, beat the egg till frothy. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg onto the top of each pie.
- Bake for 20 minutes till golden brown on top.
Basic Short Crust Pastry
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp sugar (optional)
- 1 cup aged cheddar, grated
- 1/2 cup ice cold water (amount will vary)
- In a large bowl, grate the cold butter (or cut it into small pieces).
- Add 2 cups flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tbsp sugar (if using) and start to pinch together the butter into the flour using your fingertips.
- The mixture should look like coarse bread crumbs. Add the grated cheddar cheese and mix till just combined.
- Slowly pour 1-2 tbsp at a time of water into the flour mixture and use a butter knife or fork to mix the water in little by little till the mixture starts to form a large ball. You want to avoid using your hands because it is important to keep the mixture cool to get a flakey crust.
- Using your hands, work quickly to bring the dough together into a large ball. Avoid over handling it so it doesn't get warm.
- Wrap the dough in some plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before using.
Easy Homemade Apple Butter
- 5-6 small apples, cored
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2 tbsp)
- pinch nutmeg
- 2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)
- Core the apples (I'm lazy and don't bother to peel them as it will all get blended up in the end, but you can if you like).
- In a medium saucepan add all the ingredients with the apples and cover. Cook on medium low heat for about 15-20 minutes till the apples have broken down.
- Using an immersion blender or blender, blend the apple mixture till smooth.
- Allow to cool, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
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