So many conversations between myself and those close to me are based solely on memories, movie quotes, and memes. My father, brother, and I can literally have an entire conversation using funny and sarcastic movie quotes. My mom and I can have in-depth, exciting discussions based around recipe ideas, cooking, and beautiful food memories. My best friends and I can sit together hysterically laughing for 20 minutes straight over something ridiculous that happened 15 years ago. It’s a gift to have such a strong connection with the people you love.
The same goes for my husband and me which brings me to the super random origin story behind today’s recipe. When I was about eight months pregnant, he sent me a meme that said, “Can we please stop messing around and just frost the whole pop tart? We have the technology.” I’m not sure if it was the serious pregnancy craving that this triggered or the fact that this statement was so right on, but the philosophy of that random meme seriously resonated with me.
So much so, that the same day, I went and found a package of gluten-free puff pastry sheets on my way home from work, and embarked on what would become a passion project to create the perfect homemade pop tarts! POP goes an epiphany…all from one of the funny memes my husband sends me on a daily basis. That’s real love, people.
Let me be clear: I am not putting down the classic childhood toaster treat; you never disrespect timeless treasures. However, my mission to create a fully frosted pop tart developed into this love of brainstorming different variations that are gluten-free, filled with fresh, whole ingredients, and topped with different frostings that contain far less refined sugar. And that’s what I’m about, simply nutritious and delicious eats everyone can enjoy. These Blueberry Pop Tarts with Lemon & Toasted Sesame Glaze are my latest and greatest creation, and I’m so excited to share!
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this recipe, there are some things you need to know about substitutions and non-negotiables:
Something important to know as you prepare your ingredients for this recipe is that some of them can be substituted. The first being your puff pastry sheets. I’ve tested this recipe with traditional puff pastry, and the outcome was exactly the same. So if you don’t want to use gluten-free sheets, or you can’t find them, no worries. You can follow the exact same methods for this recipe.
You also don’t have to use coconut sugar. You can use white granulated sugar, turbinado cane sugar, or brown sugar, and the glaze will have the same general consistency. It may differ a bit in color, but that’s totally fine!
I typically prefer coconut sugar when I bake because it’s healthier and more natural. It has a much lower glycemic index than refined sugars, meaning it spikes blood sugar levels less, and as a result, prevents sugar crashes or dessert hangovers. I also love the flavor of coconut sugar. Similar to brown sugar, it’s deep, rich, and caramel-y. Oh, and if you’re wondering, no, it does not taste like coconut. But if you prefer one of the other options above, do you!
Finally, when prepping your egg wash, you can totally use regular milk. I have a dairy sensitivity and so I steer away from it in general. I also love nut milks and oat milk, so I opt for whichever of those is in my fridge. The ratio will be the same.
All the above being said, there are some non-negotiables in this recipe. First, your blueberries must be frozen. When you prepare your reduction, the cold, icy water that releases from the frozen blueberries works as the perfect thickening agent, which plays a huge role in giving the filling that jam-like consistency. In my opinion, frozen blueberries are a more ideal option anyway, because you can just place your leftover blueberries back in the freezer without worrying about them going to waste.
Confectioners’ sugar is also a must in preparing this glaze. In this recipe, I am a stickler for the glassy, glossy texture atop these pop tarts, and this is needed to achieve that. I tried some other topping options and the flavors and textures just didn’t come together quite as beautifully. However, because I like to focus on more natural ingredients, I include only a bit of confectioners’ sugar here, so that’s a plus!
Finally, your sesame seeds must be toasted. I prefer toasting them myself so the oils from the seeds are freshly released and reach optimal intensity for topping the pop tarts, but you can certainly purchase them pre-toasted. Whatever approach you decide to take, toasted sesame seeds are critical here for developing a heavenly flavor and texture pairing.. The smokey, nutty flavor complements the tanginess of the lemon juice and zest, and the sweet but slightly tart filling beautifully, not to mention the little crunch and pop they add to the entire experience!
These Blueberry Pop Tarts with Lemon & Toasted Sesame Glaze create this magical connection between rustic, cozy, home sweet home-style treats and elegant, refined, and sophisticated desserts. Pop Tarts, but make it gourmet!
Blueberry Pop Tarts with Lemon & Toasted Sesame Glaze
Recipe Title: Blueberry Pop Tarts with Lemon & Toasted Sesame Glaze
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 3 Pop Tarts
For the Egg Wash
1 tablespoon almond milk or oat milk
For the Filling
1 ½ cups frozen blueberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
For the Pastry
1 package gluten-free or classic puff pastry sheets (a 17.3 oz-18 oz package is perfect)
For the Glaze
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds (method below)
1 ½ tablespoons oat milk
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoons coconut sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Zest of one lemon
Pinch of kosher salt
Preheat oven to 375°
Prep the Egg Wash
- In a small bowl, whisk the egg and almond or oat milk with a fork until fully combined. Place aside.
Prep the Filling
- Add the blueberries, lemon juice, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring frequently. The ingredients will begin developing a thick, jammy consistency.
- Once simmering, reduce to low heat and stir in the cinnamon.
- Continue to stir frequently until a thick reduction forms, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat to cool down and prepare to fill the pastry.
Prep the Pastry & Assemble the Pop Tarts
- If frozen, allow puff pastry to thaw. Once completely thawed, gently unroll and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
- Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut the puff pastry into 6 equal rectangular sections.
- Use a silicone pastry brush to coat the top of each puff pastry section with egg wash.
- Divide the blueberry filling evenly among three of the puff pastry sections, leaving ¾ inch on each side available for sealing.
- Place a second puff pastry section on top of each filling-covered section. Use a fork to gently press and seal all sides. Brush the tops again with egg wash.
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for at least 30 minutes before glazing.
Toast the Sesame Seeds & Prep the Glaze
- Add the sesame seeds to a small sauté pan. Toast over low-medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent burning, for about 5 minutes, until they are golden and smell toasted.
- Add the oat milk, lemon juice, coconut sugar, confectioners’ sugar, lemon zest, and kosher salt to a small bowl. Use a fork to whisk until smoothly combined and a thick glaze is formed.
*Note: If you want a thinner, more runny glaze, stir in an additional ¼ teaspoon of oat milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency. If you want to thicken the glaze, stir in an additional ½ teaspoon of confectioners’ sugar at a time.
Food Styling & Photography by Christine Fiorentino