cranberry toaster strudel (no mixer)

I recently asked a food poll-type question on my Facebook page about pop tarts.
What kind do you like and what are you looking for if you could make your own?
There was an overwhelming response for a "toaster strudel" type pop tart.
And of course you wanted easy--well, as easy as one could get with a pastry tart.
I made this toaster strudel fairly easy.
I don't have a mixer--so everything was done by hand, BUT done in as few steps as possible.
I also cheated a bit by using a cranberry butter for the filling (the Trader Joe's Cranberry-Apple butter is fabulous and it's ready to use; already has pectin in it, so no need to add cornstarch).
The hard part, if we have to have one is measuring out the dough into rectangles.
I highly suggest using a ruler next time to get straighter lines, if you want such a thing.
My lines were that straight, I was more "rustic".
The basic dough is a pate brisee dough from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery here in Boston
and Flour the cookbook.
Very easy to dough to put together; came together very fast for me, and I did not use a mixer!
Everything was done by hand; used my hands to get the dough to the right consistency.
Actually I prefer using my hands when dealing with pastry doughs and breads, as we all know they can be tricky, and once you over-mix, the dough turns 'tough'.
But not all pastry doughs can be done by hand, a mixer is a must.
If you don't have a mixer and want to give this a go, then follow along with me, if you feel safer using a mixer then please do so.  The original recipe with mixer instructions can be found here.
Add butter chunks to flour and use your hands to make crumbly.
This is what is looks like after you add in the egg mixture. Will be sticky.
Pretty easy right?
It's really not that hard.
To be honest I'm not that good at measuring out the rectangles, but I did rush it.
I highly suggest getting a baker's measuring board, like this one or something similar.
I have one on my wish list.....
I made my glaze very thick. I did not want a runny glaze, I wanted a thick frosting.
Sprinkles make it all better don't they?
I got these "all natural" sprinkles from Whole Foods; no dyes or chemicals.

Cranberry toaster strudel
Pate brisee dough recipe from joanne chang
print recipe

Pâte Brisée
8 pop-tarts or one 9-inch double-crust

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 TB sugar
1 ts sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks ) cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 egg yolks
3 TB cold whole milk

½ cup of cranberry butter (or any filling you wish)

egg wash for gluing edges AND glazing tops:
1 egg, mixed

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 TB whole milk
Rainbow sprinkles for sprinkling

Cook notes:
You can use whatever filling you wish.  If you use a jam, please mix a little bit of cornstarch with it to thicken it as it bakes (about ¾ ts cornstarch mixed with a little water and then add in ½ cup jam).
I do not have a mixer, and did this all by hand. Don’t run away!  It was actually quite easy and you might prefer it because you will get a better feel for the dough, and will be less inclined to overmix it. The less you work the dough the more flaky the crust. Of course if you have a mixer and feel more comfortable, then please go ahead and use it.
I made my glaze very thick, as I did not want it to dribble down the edges.  If you prefer a more runny glaze, then just add a bit more milk.
I used the cranberry butter from Trader Joe’s; you can use any type of cranberry butter you like though.
I was horrid at measuring out the squares for the dough; I did not follow my own instructions!
Bad baker.  If you follow them you should get 7-8 rectangles; I only got 7.
And remember if dough gets too sticky while your measuring or filling it, just pop it back in the fridge.

In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, and salt) until combined.
In a cup, whisk the egg yolks and milk until blended; set aside.
Get a large sheet of plastic wrap ready, and set aside, near your workstation.  This is what we will place the dough in once it’s mixed.
Place butter chunks in the flour mixture, and using your hands just crumble everything together until you have a crumbly dough, and dough holds together well when squeezed.  And making sure there aren’t any giant clumps of butter left; small clumps are fine though!
Don’t worry if there is still flour in bottom of bowl—that’s fine!
Add in the egg mixture and mix again using your hands until you have a nice sticky mess.
At this point I’m supposed to dump dough onto a floured work surface and knead a little bit; I did not see the point in this as I wanted to work the dough as little as possible.
Dump the dough onto plastic wrap, flatten to about 1-inch thick in a circle or square, cover very well, and place in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.  Do not let this sit in fridge more than 48 hours; it starts to turn a little sour and will harden.

When ready to bake, take dough out of fridge and let it sit about 15 minutes; if your kitchen runs hot or the season, then you might not need to let it sit.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.

Divide dough in half. Press each half into a rectangle. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each half into a 14-by-11-inch rectangle. Using a paring knife, lightly score 1 rectangle into eight 3 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch rectangles (about the size of an index card).

Brush the edges of the rectangle with the beaten egg; this will be our glue to stick the rectangles together.  Important step!
Spoon 1 to 1 ½ tablespoons of cranberry jam in a mound in the center of each scored rectangle; don’t let the jam go to the edges!
Place the second large dough rectangle directly on top of the first.
Using fingertips, carefully press down all around each jam mound, so the pastry sheets adhere to each other.  I then used a fork to crimp the edges.  You can also use a fluted roller if you have one.
Place the rectangles about an inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops of the pastries are evenly golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack for about 30 minutes.

For the glaze:
Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, and milk until you get the right consistency you want.  I made mine very thick, like a paste. If you want thinner just add more milk or a hint of vanilla extract.
Sprinkle with sprinkles for a nice decorative touch.  You might have to push the sprinkles down a lot to make them stay put in the frosting.
You should get 8 rectangles; I only got 7 but that’s because I didn’t measure them right.


  1. Love this! I wanna try it with leftover cranberry sauce.

  2. I am sooo impressed! I used to eat a Toaster Strudel every day in jr high and h.s. :) I bet the filling could be switched to absolutely any combo under the sun from Nutella to PB & J - girl, great work. Pinned

  3. Yes. Yes. Yes!! Cranberry filling - brilliant idea for a non-toaster toaster strudel. :D They look fabulous.

  4. looks great! i love that cranberry apple butter from tj's. yum!

  5. Confession Time: I'm a hopeless Cinnamon Brown Sugar Pop Tarts addict.
    After years in group therapy, I finally kicked the habit.
    Now, you're showing me how to make this at home.
    The dough looks CRAZY delicious.
    Back to therapy.... ;)

  6. Yum yum yum. I LOVE toaster struedel/Pop Tarts, etc. Yours look amazing!

  7. What a fun recipe! I love the sprinkles on top!!

  8. All I want now is cranberry butter...holy cow! Why have I never had that? These look fantastic and fun and I'd love one for breakfast tomorrow (no mixer rock star, you!)

  9. Oh my gosh, I love this! Do you know how much I love, love toaster strudels! Ugh. I ate those all throughout my childhood.

  10. homemade pop tarts won my heart earlier this year and now I can't get enough! This cranberry filling is kind of dreamy and totally T-day perfect!

  11. Perky Twinkletoes loves pop tarts. It makes me feel young again! Toaster strudels came along when I was a bit older but I do remember burning my mouth on them. Great job, Dawn!

  12. Oh man, you are combining some of my favorite things here, a cranberry toaster strudel? Sounds like a delicious post-Thanksgiving brunch item, if I was being really ambitious!

  13. These look and sound so good! Love the cranberry filling!

  14. So cute & tasty - my kids would LOVE them!

  15. I also don't have a mixer so I love seeing recipes like this. Also, almost all of my baked goods look rustic, too! ;)

  16. They look very tempting! A wonderful holiday snack.



  17. Yay for homemade toaster strudels! They're so different from pop tarts. These look crazy good. Of course any recipe from Joanne Chang is amazing. Her sticky buns and banana bread are so yummy!

  18. wow these look amazing and i love that you do everything by hand very talented

  19. These look awfully tasty! I have a mixer but lugging it out from my lower cupboard where it's burried behind things is such a pain that I rarely use it. Plus, you get more exercise doing things by hand :)

  20. What a fun project! This is so creative - really inspired. I wouldn't use a ruler - rustic works or me. ;-) Really, really nice and fun recipe - thanks.

  21. Your pop tarts look delicious! (I like the rustic look too.)

  22. i prefer the rustic look, for sure. this is a clever creation, dawn, and an excellent excuse to use sprinkles!


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