Pop Tart Origins!
Let's talk Pop Tarts, friends! These little pastries have been an amazing outlet for my creativity from day one. I've always loved how versatile they are and how I can turn seemingly any flavor into a delicious little tart. And, my goodness do I love their origin story!
I'm calling it an origin story because, like a superhero, they just deserve it. I've been in love with REAL Pop Tarts for years. I could never bring myself to eat more than half of a store-bought pop tart, except maybe the brown sugar ones. We all know those are phenomenal. But the other flavors were always too sickly sweet and just didn't have any texture to me, the pastry just seemed sad. However, what I do know is that I have an unhealthy love of pie dough. I will eat it baked into a plain sheet of dough, I will eat your pie crust edge, I will eat it tossed is sugar and cinnamon, I will eat your crispy pot pie set-asides, and I will definitely eat a Pop Tart when the pastry is made of this dough that I've tweaked to perfect buttery and soft perfection. I was playing with this recipe for a while and one day just happened to make a Pop Tart that changed my life. My family ate them all in maybe five minutes and I then thought about them for days. And if I recall correctly I maybe posted one picture...
So, a few days later when I got a message from a sweet couple saying they had a strange wedding dessert request I could have never know what I was in for! (I would love to say that this couple made me fall in love with collaborating and sharing ideas. I had some amazing clients before and have had amazing clients after, but they had so much faith in me that it changed the whole experience and shaped my love for this industry.) I got an email back saying that they were in love with the idea of Pop Tarts as their wedding dessert, so naturally I jumped up and down as I quickly told them they had found the right sprinkle obsessed girl. Can you believe that no one else was open to the idea of doing this?!?!?!
We talked about flavors for a very long time and, as a couple who was getting married at a brewery, naturally we got to base one flavor off of a beer. We got to base a flavor off of what their "wedding cake" flavor would have been if they were cake people. And we got to do another just all around classic iconic flavor. And, surprise, surprise, all three flavors are on the menu still today. I can't help it, I'm sentimental and they're just delicious.
Aside from being just giddy at every minute that I was going to be a part of their event, I was also slightly unprepared for a Pop Tart production of that scale. I was still working as a full time Pastry Chef and so doing all of that work when you get home is very daunting. Every baker knows the process of turning something that you love baking into a production line isn't the most glamorous or awe inducing. You never want to loose the magic, and you also want it to be a process that guarantees freshness of product and smart time management. For Pop Tarts, that process is sped up significantly because, while they can sit out and are shelf stable after baking, I always want to serve them at most twenty four hours after being made. They are delicious long after that but that is my guarantee for freshness of a product. Which means that all of the Pop Tarts were baked and iced the night before the wedding!
I was able to prep the fillings and pie dough in advance, and I rolled and cut the dough and kept it cold until it was time to assemble the tarts. And for Pop Tarts you get to cut out twice as many pieces as you think because they need a font and a back! So hello 700 pieces of pie dough and goodbye arm function from rolling that much dough! I do have a much better system now, but seeing that many Pop Tarts lined up, iced, and sprinkled was pretty magical. The couple I got to work with was magical, the vendors I worked with were magical. I've never felt so appreciated and valued at a venue, and I've never fallen so much more in love with a product after making over 300 of them in a row. I love our Pop Tarts, and I love their story. Maybe because I remember being so spent and tired and just crazy proud of myself? It still blows my mind that I was the only person who would agree to do it, and I still can't believe the response they got. There are guests from that wedding who found my personal Facebook page and are still friends with me so they can tag me in the memories of their first Pop Tart experiences. Y'all are wild, and I love making these Pop Tarts for you!