Puff Pastry “Pop Tarts” (Sweet or Savory)
Homemade strawberry “pop-tart” pastries are a sweet treat for any occasion. Warm jam and fresh strawberries stuffed inside of a buttery and flaky puff pastry is perfect for breakfast, brunch or dessert. They look pretty and taste even better.
I’m sure many of you are intimidated by making homemade puff pastry, with these simple steps I assure you that with beginner’s luck, you will conquer this recipe.
A little about puff pastry before we jump into the recipe. Puff pastry is the result of layers of butter being “folded” into the dough. The butter creates air pockets and flakiness within the dough so that you have the perfect puff pastry – if a biscuit and croissant had a love child it would be the puff pastry.
Once you make the dough and add in the butter, you will need to make 6 “books” in order to complete the multiple layers of dough and butter. A book is created by rolling out the dough and then folding it into thirds.
You will have to do this process 6 times, it will take some time because you will need to rest the dough (and your arms) to let the butter and dough firm back up so that it’s easier to roll out and to help prevent the butter from seeping out. You can probably get two “books” done at a time before resting for 30 minutes.
This will all make sense as you read through the recipe. There is also a video at the end of the post for a demonstration.
Last thing, you can break this up over two days to fit it into your schedule.
The Pop-Tart Pastry Filling
Fruit “pop tart” pastries, require using fresh fruit & fresh herbs for the best outcome. My top three fruit combinations are pear & honey, strawberry & mint, and blueberry & lemon zest.
You can really fill this with anything you want, it can be sweet or savory, the technique and rules stay the same. You will want to avoid overly wet ingredients because it will make it harder for the bottom to bake through. Also, because the filling is sandwiched between raw puff pastry, it will have minimal time to cook therefore I recommend if you are doing a filling needs to be cooked (bacon, eggs, chicken, or even onion) to make sure it’s cooked to your preference before adding it into the “pop tart” pastry.
The key secret ingredient is apricot jam. You can find this is any grocery store (I think). It will add a little sweetness to your fruit “pop tart” pastries, but more importantly when you melt it down it turns into a glaze which you will want to brush on top for that bakery display box shimmer and shine.
Fruit “Pop-Tart” Pastry
- 16 oz Butter divided
- 14 oz All Purpose Flour + some for the counter
- 3/4 TBSP Salt
- 7 oz Ice Cold Water
- 1 lb Fruit or Savory of Your Choice see blog notes
- ½ Lemon
- 6 TBSP Apricot Jam (for Fruit Pastry Only) see blog notes; divided
- 1 Egg
- 2 TBSP Water divided
Make the Butter Block (Called the Beurrage in French)
- Divide the butter, you will need 13oz of butter which is 3- 4 oz sticks plus 2 TBSP, let the butter come up to just-about room temperature. It should still be firm. Set the remainder 3oz of butter aside.
- On a sheet of parchment paper, unwrap the butter and lay the sticks side by side so that they touch. In the center of your square of butter, add the 2 TBSP of butter on top.
- Cover your butter with another sheet of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, you will gently hit the top of the butter until it starts to form a homogenous square. To keep the shape you will want to use your hands, rolling pin or a bench scraper to push the sides of the butter back into a square shape. The goal is to have your butter in a even square/rectangle shape that is between ¼ and ⅓ inch thick.
- Once your butter is formed, wrap it up in your parchment paper and place it back into the refrigerator so that it can firm up in it's new shape while you make the dough.
Make the Dough (Called the Détrempe in French)
- Gather your ingredients: 3oz (the remainder of the butter) – melted, flour, salt, and cold water.
- Attach the paddle attachment to your stand mixer and add the flour and salt to your bowl. On slow, combine the dry ingredients until evenly distributed.
- While the speed is on medium-low, slowly add in the melted butter and ice cold water. You should pour them in together, timing it so that you are done pouring them at the same time.
- Mix the dough together until it forms into a ball.
- Dust your counter with flour. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it on the counter for a couple of minutes. Then form the dough into a ball.
- Score an "x" on the top with a knife. Wrap it in parchment paper or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for about 20 minutes (you can rest it longer or even overnight if you want to do these steps early)
Make the Puff Pastry (Called the Pâte Feuilletée in French)
- Take the butter block and dough out of the refrigerator and set it out for about 5-10 minutes to take the chill off. (See picture in step 4, you will notice that the butter is firm but soft enough to leave a finger print when touched)
- Sprinkle the counter with flour, and place your ball of dough in front of you so that the "x" is now a cross, this will make rolling the dough out easier.
- You will want to roll out the dough using the guides created by the scored cross. Place your rolling pin so that the scored mark is in the center and roll the dough out. You will want to create 4"petals" leaving a little extra dough in the middle.
- Dust the top of your dough with flour and place your butter block in the middle, on top of the extra dough hump so that the sides of the block line up with the "petals."
- Fold the "petal" flaps over the butter like you're wrapping a present.
- Flip this over so that it's seam side down.
- You will want to roll this dough out into a long rectangle, making sure it doesn't roll out wider than it is right now. You will also want to try to prevent the butter from piercing through the dough. The extra dough in the center is designed to help, as you roll this out, the dough will become evenly disbursed as the butter becomes incorporated. (I have a video below if you want to see a tutorial). *Should dough break allowing butter to come out, sprinkle the butter with some flour and keep rolling. Once the rectangle is formed you will have an opportunity to fold the the dough so that the butter has the opportunity to be reincorporated.
- Make sure to work fast enough to keep butter and dough firm and not too soft. If your dough or butter ever get too soft, place back in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to firm back up, this will make your rolling easier. If your dough is too soft, it will be harder to roll out because it will try to bounce back. You will have to roll this out 6 times (each time is called a "book", in my experience you can roll it out about 2 times before it will need to rest in the refrigerator.
- The first step is to "walk out" your book of dough. You will want to press your rolling pin into the dough evenly up and down to help wake up the dough. This will also help your butter become evenly distributed through out.
- Second, you will want to roll out your dough evenly up and down the dough until it becomes as long as you can get it, I usually aim for the length of my rolling pin. Keep in mind you don't want it to become wider so every once in awhile tap your rolling pin on the side to push it back to the same width you started with.
- Once it is rolled out, you will need to fold it in thirds. This is one book. * If you have butter that popped through, try to make sure that side in tucked into the fold. You can flip the dough over before folding if the butter came out on the bottom while rolling.
- You will want to repeat this step 5 more times for a total of 6 books. Always starting seam side down, walk out the dough, roll it out, fold in thirds. Remember to take breaks, once it seems like it's too soft and the dough is getting harder to roll out, rest in the refrigerator. As a beginner it's easier to work doing one or two books at a time between rests. Just take your time, it'll come together.
- Once your 6 books are complete, rest one more time.
Making the Pop Tart Pastry
- Divide your puff pastry into two and roll them both out to about ¼ inch thick, keeping somewhat of a rectangle shape.
- Place them in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes until firm.
- While they are in the freezer, thinly slice your strawberries and lightly squeeze juice from ½ of lemon on top and set aside.
- Working with one at a time, take one dough sheet from the freezer. You will want trim the sizes so that it's a rectangle shape. Cut down the middle creating two long detangles. Cut those two rectangles in the middle, creating four squares, then cut those in the middle so that you have 8 even-ish rectangles from the pastry dough. Line your sheet pan with parchment paper and lay down your pastry bottoms.
- Fill each bottom with a spoonful of apricot jam., about ½ TBSP each. Make sure to leave a border around the edges.
- Slice your fruit & "fan it" on top of the jam., add any extra add ins. Dip your finger in water and lightly trace the outside boarder of the pastry.
- Take out your other dough sheet from the freezer. Trim the edges and create 8 more rectangles. Using a lattice cutter or paring knife, cut the design in each of the 8 pieces and carefully stretch them out so that holes appear and place over the top of each pastry. Press down with a fork around the edges to seal the "pop tart". Mix together your egg and 1 TBSP of water to create an egg wash. Brush the egg wash over each pastry. Make sure to add the egg wash after you cut the design/vent holes.
- Place pastries back in the freezer for 15 minutes. While you wait, preheat your oven to 400F. Helpful tip, do not preheat your oven early it will make your kitchen warm and the puff pastry will warm up making it harder to manage.
- Take the pastries out of the freezer and trim the edges.
- Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn your oven down to 350F and bake for another 20 minutes.
- While the pastries bake, over medium low heat, melt 2 spoonfuls of apricot jam with 1 TBSP of water. Brush on your apricot glaze, sprinkle with a little sugar.
If you need a lattice cutter, I used this one from Amazon:
As an Amazon Associate, I may be compensated from your purchase using this link.
Puff pastry goes well with a lot of recipes such as chicken pot pie, beef wellington, other pastries.
If you have a busy schedule, break it up:
– Make sure to note how many “books” have been completed so
that you don’t lose count, make sure they are completed within 48 hours.
– If you rest the dough longer than 30 minutes, just let it sit out on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before trying to roll out your next “book”. The butter should be firm but not hard otherwise it could puncture the dough.
This dough freezes well:
Make sure to defrost it in the refrigerator a day or two before you want to use it. Let it sit out on the counter for about 5-10 minutes before trying to roll out your next “book”. The butter should be firm but not hard otherwise it could puncture the dough.