In Vienna, where I grew up, Kellogg’s is synonymous with breakfast cereal but to my surprise, their biggest selling product since 1964 are Pop-Tarts. For those who are unaware of these delicUnfortunately we didn’t have these delicious toaster pastries during the 80’s and 90’s in Vienna and I didn’t get my fingers on a pop tart until I travelled to Texas in early 2013. On my first trip to Walmart, I bought one box of each flavour and ate most of them straight out of the box 😀
Now that I have kid’s of my own and no Pop-Tarts anywhere on the island, its time to come up with my very own recipe. And what better filling to use, than grandma’s lemon curd from my Lemon Pie Recipe? If you want to go straight to the recipe, click the “Jump to Recipe” button.
My little lemon toaster pies require three main parts. The first part is the pie crust and for this one I use my all-time favourite recipe which you can find in my Apple Pie recipe and my Lemon Pie Recipe. This is my go-to pie crust and everyone loves it.
Pie Crust does need a bit of practice, its not necessarily difficult to make but temperature plays a big roll in the recipes success. The reason temperature is so important is the melting point of butter. To get a flaky pie texture, you need the butter to melt during the baking process and not during the dough preparation.
This is why we add ice cold water and chill the butter before blending. Make sure you follow the recipe carefully and your pie crust will be delicious.
History of Pop-Tarts
Although Kellogg’s is Pop-Tart brand we all know and love, they where not the actual inventors of the product. Post Holdings (the company behind Weetabix) actually came up with the idea of a toast able fruit filled pastry. Unfortunately they where a bit to eager to bring the product to market and revealed it before it was ready.
Kellogg’s managed to develop their own toaster pastry in just six months, and with clever marketing beat Post with their own product. You can read the full story here on Mashed.com
Although this section is called “fun facts” this one is a bit more on the serious side. Kellogg’s has been sued over pop-tart related fires since the early day’s of their release. The packaging was then re-designed to include a warning that cautions consumers to not leave the pastry unattended in the toaster. There are records of a few lawsuits that where settled by Kellogg’s but no guilt was admitted in any of them.
Personally I think anything left in the toaster or oven can cause a fire, its just common sense but then again, common sense is not common at all.
Ingredients for Lemon Pop Tarts
You can get really creative with the filling, just have a look at all the available flavours of this pastry. From Cherry, Watermelon, Blueberry, Cookies & Cream, Brown Sugar & cinnamon to Chocolate chip and cookie dough, anything goes. Funny enough there is no Lemon flavoured pop tart so something Kellogg’s should think about 😀
- 2 1/2 Cups of All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 1 Cup of Unsalted Butter, this has to be cooled and cut in to small cubes.
- 1/4 Cup of Powder Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of Vodka
- 2-3 Tablespoons of Iced Water
Lemon Curd Ingredients
- 1 ⅓ Cup Water
- 5 Large Egg Yolks
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
- 1/4 Tsp Salt
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Zest
- 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
Sour Lemon Glaze (Optional)
- 2 Cups Icing Sugar
- 2 Tablespoons of Lemon Zest
- 1/2 Cup of Lemon Juice (add as needed)
How to make Lemon Pop Tarts
Lemon Pop Tarts (as the name suggests) are tarts or pies so the pastry is almost a 1:1 butter/flour ratio. We are going to use a little more flour to keep them from crumbling when we pick them up, they should after all be eatable by hand. The lemon filling is from my beloved Lemon Pie which has the perfect balance of tangy, sweet and rich lemon.
Step 1: Pie Dough
In a food processor, combine the dry ingredients. Leave the cubed butter in the fridge until the very last moment. I also place it in the freezer for 5-8 minutes before using it. When the flour, sugar and salt are combined, add the ice cold butter and pulsate in short bursts until crumby and combined. DO NOT keep blending it will melt the butter. Short bursts with 2-3 second breaks. Then add in the ice water and pulsate until you get a gritty texture that sticks together when you press it with your fingers. Knead to a solid shape and wrap to cool. I cant say this enough, dont let the butter melt.
If you want detailed instructions on Pie Crust check my Lemon Pie Recipe it goes through all the details.
Step 2: Lemon Curd
Separate the egg yolks from the egg white. Set the egg white aside as you will need it for the meringue. In a medium sized saucepan combine the water, sugar, corn-starch, salt and lemon zest. Set to medium heat and constantly stir until the sauce thickens. Don’t let it boil. Once thickened add 3-4 table spoons of the thick sauce in to the egg yolks while constantly whisking. This will temper the eggs and avoid clotting. Now add the tempered egg yolks back in to the sauce pan and stir until smooth. Add in the butter and lemon juice and whisk until combined. Pour in to the baked pie shell and set aside to cool.
Step 3: Fill & Bake
Roll the dough to the thickness of a coin, then cut in to 5 x 2 inch rectangles. Add a teaspoon or so in the middle of the upper half of the rectangle. Fold in the middle to cover the filling and then press the edges together. Using the tips of a fork, press the edges to seal them.
Now paint with egg-wash. I usually use 1 Egg and 3-4 tablespoons of water well mixed. Make 3-4 holes in the top of the pie to avoid a min steam explosion. Now bake at 175C or 350F for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.
For the lemon glazing, combine the powder sugar and lemon zest. Then add lemon juice one teaspoon a time and mix until thick but still runny and no clumps are left.
Drizzle over the pop tart and let it cool.
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Homemade Lemon Pop Tarts Recipe
- 1 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 2½ Cups All-purpose Flour
- 1/2 Tsp Salt
- ¼ Cup Vodka
- ¼ Cup Powder Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Iced Water Adjust according to dough texture
- 1⅓ Cup Water
- 2 Large Eggs Yolks
- 1/2 Cup Crystal Sugar
- ¼ Cup Cornstarch
- ¼ Tsp Salt
- ¼ Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
- ½ Tbsp Lemon Zest
- 1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
- ½ Cup Powder Sugar
- 2 Tsp Lemon Zest
- 2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
- Combine the cold butter, flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts with a couple of seconds breaks between each burst. The key is to keep the butter cold, long bursts will create heat by friction and melt the butter. Once lightly combined add the vodka and pulse 2-3 more times. Last add the ice cold water. Careful don't add too much, go one table spoon at a time. The texture should stay crumbly and NOT become a batter or dough.
- Place the crumbly dough on your working surface and lightly knead together. Don't forget the dough must stay cool so wash your hands with cold water before you start. Knead the dough together very very lightly. Its almost like we are just compacting it in to a ball. Now wrap with kitchen membrane and place in the fridge for 30-40 minutes until the butter sets again.
- Now that the dough has cooled, we can roll it in to a sheet that's approximately 3mm or 0,10 of an inch. Cut in to 5×2 Inch rectangles. Knead the cut-offs together and roll in to more sheets until you have 8-9 rectangles.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg white. Set the egg white aside as you will need it for the meringue. In a medium sized saucepan combine the water, sugar, corn-starch, salt and lemon zest. Set to medium heat and constantly stir until the sauce thickens. Don't let it boil. Once thickened add 3-4 table spoons of the thick sauce in to the egg yolks while constantly whisking. This will temper the eggs and avoid clotting. Now add the tempered egg yolks back in to the sauce pan and stir until smooth. Add in the butter and lemon juice and whisk until combined. Pour in to the baked pie shell and set aside to cool.
Fill, Bake and Drizzle
- Place 1-2 teaspoons of Lemon Curd in the top centre of the dough rectangle. Make sure you have enough space to fold it in the middle and pinch the edges together with your thumb. Using a fork, seal the edges all around.
- Make an egg-wash with 1 whole egg and 3-4 tablespoons of water. Whisk until smooth. Now paint the pop tarts until well covered and place in the oven at 175C or 340F for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let them cool for a bit and then prepare the lemon drizzle. Combine the powder sugar and lemon zest. Now add the lemon juice 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you get a thick clump free glaze. Drizzle over the pop tarts and let it set.