“Pop Tarts” (Square Turnovers) Recipe

Since it was Hedy Goldsmith’s Baking Out Loud that inspired me to try this project — and risk trademark infringement — I’ll use her crust recipe. It’s a bit leaner than my standard pie crust, which means it’ll hold up better. Plus it has a bit more sugar and salt, which will be more evocative of the real deal. You’ll want:

15 ounces (3 cups) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (scant one ounce) sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) cold butter, cubed and very cold
6 tablespoons ice water
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
egg wash
jam of your choice
sugar for sprinkling (turbinado is recommended)

In a large bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle (beater) combine the dry ingredients and stir to blend. Add the cubed butter and cut it in by hand, or turn the machine to medium low for about four minutes. The mixture should look like coarse meal. Add the water and vinegar and gently knead or mix until a crumbly dough forms. remove the dough to a lightly floured board and knead it 6-8 times until a smooth dough forms. Divide the dough in half, pat each half into a disk. Shape according to the tutorial above!

13 thoughts on ““Pop Tarts” (Square Turnovers) Recipe”

  1. Jam turnovers are what your Mum lets you make with the leftover pastry from a pie. They are a lovely memory from my childhood. Usually in our house they were made from bought flaky pastry, the slight saltiness of the pastry and the sweetness of the jam – so delicious.
    I still do it myself, although never from bought pastry. Just wish my grandkids were here for me to teach how. I don’t think their mother makes pies.

    1. Not many people make pies these days. It’s sad. This last weekend neighbors on the block had a house fire, which was fortunately put out before it did much damage. We all went down to visit after all the hubub died down. Some folks on the block very kindly brought over some baked things…but there were purchased someplace. The sentiment was genuine and I know they were appreciated, but it just felt kinda weird. People simple don’t bake much now. Yet another reason why Joe Pastry needs to take over the world!

      – J

  2. Oooo Joe what is turbinado sugar? What with A1, Raw, Caster , Confectioners, Icing, Muscovado, Brown, I just knew my pantry (and tastebuds) were lacking something. Looking forward to your response. Rick

  3. I’m harvesting my first grapes (we think they are Concord) and hopefully making jam soon from the rich juice chilling in the fridge. Wonder how grape jam would be in these tarts??

    1. Linda — send me some!

      As long as the jam is good and thick it should work just fine. You want something with a good deal of fruit pulp so it doesn’t just run out of the tarts like a jelly would. As long as its a meaty jam you’ll be in good shape!

      – Joe

    1. Hey Samantha! Good question: the acid help to undermine gluten development and keep the crust tender and shape-able.

      Thank you for the note!

      – Joe

  4. Hi Joe,

    Yesterday as I was guiltily eating a very mediocre store bought pumpkin pop tart and reading Joe Pastry. I thought, “How did he know about the pop tart?” I haven’t eaten one of these things in years, but the pumpkin enticed me and I just couldn’t help myself. Reading your recipe, I felt like I was saved from eating the rest of the box. So if I were to get my pumpkin fix using your pop tart recipe, could I substitute something like pumpkin butter or mashed pumpkin with spices or something? Please help me so I don’t eat the rest of the box!

    Best regards,


    1. I haven’t tried those, Eva, but I’d be interested. I like Pop Tarts and see nothing wrong with eating them. However I think home bakers can certainly do better. Regarding the pumpkin variety I think yes, pumpkin butter is what you want. Mashed, sweetened pumpkin or squash would also work well. Obviously pie filling won’t work because it’s both liquid and a custard…so even if you were able to devise a way to keep it in the turnover it would break under the high heat. Let me know how yours go…they sound delicious!

      – Joe

  5. Ooh, I just took the fam to a pumpkin festival (crazy Germans have festivals for everything!) and we picked up some pumpkin-rhubarb butter that was amazing. Too bad we ate it all-it would have been perfect for these

  6. These look so good!
    How about chopped baking chocolate for a filling? would that work?

    1. You certainly can use Baker’s if you like. It will be firm when it cools, but that’s not a bad thing!

      – Joe

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