Forget store bought! Homemade cherry pop tarts are easy hand pies with a buttery, flakey crust and filled with a quick homemade jam from summer cherries.

Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts

Forget store bought! Homemade cherry pop tarts are easy hand pies with a buttery, flakey crust and filled with a quick homemade jam from summer cherries.
Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts

Forget store bought! This homemade cherry pop tart recipe makes easy hand pies with a buttery, flakey crust and are filled with a quick homemade jam from summer cherries.

You'll never be able to buy pop tarts again after you try these easy homemade cherry pop tarts! This recipe has a buttery crust and delicious homemade filling!

Every parent I talk to these days – my husband included – is eager to bring May to a close. We’re in the homestretch, the final days of school bringing with it the awards ceremonies, performances, playoff games, class parties, final field trips, and nearly nightly events at the schools. May is always a busy month, and for us, with two kids promoting to the next grade level, well, it’s been even more action-packed — and it sounds like most of us are eager for summer vacation to begin.

Except for me.

Honestly, I don’t want my kids to graduate. Why? It means another grade level done, another year older…and speaking of older, telling you that come fall, I will have a freshman in high school sounds so…well…old. When did this happen?

Transform cherries into simple homemade cherry pop tarts! It's the ultimate treat!

My daughter received a letter in the mail last night, from her 6th grade self. Her teacher had them write letters to their future 8th grade selves, and as she laughed over all the things her younger self wrote, it reminded me of just how quickly this all has gone. All of it. Not just middle school, but ALL of it.

Cherries get transformed into a simple jam that is the filling for homemade cherry pop tarts!

Homemade pop tarts are easier than you think! You can even make the filling from scratch!

I see a pregnant friend and it reminds me that of that reality so long ago, and wow, it really did go by in a flash.

I see the kid’s art work in their old art folders, the clothes they outgrew from even just 3 months ago, the old posts that I update, the mascara on the vanity that is not even mine…and I just want to package them up and keep them small.

So, yeah, I don’t want the year to end.

Eat your homemade cherry pop tarts unglazed or glazed, it's all delicious with this easy recipe!

I can take solace in one thing — they’ll never outgrow pop tarts. Right? I used to be addicted to brown sugar pop tarts in grad school, full disclosure. But lately, I won’t buy it, except for when my daughter orchestrated a pop tart challenge for her 12th birthday sleepover, because I’ve grown to really dislike the cardboard texture, so dry and brittle. But after we went cherry picking, everyone (hubby and kids) requested homemade cherry pop tarts, so of course, I had to make them.

Pop tarts bring out the kid in all of us, especially when it's homemade. Try this easy cherry pop tart recipe with a homemade cherry jam!

These homemade cherry pop tarts are the hand pies I wish were in those blue packages – instead of the dry crumble, these have a tender, buttery, flakey crust. Inside, they are filled with a quick homemade jam from summer’s first sweet cherries. And you know what, they were surprisingly simple to make — and even more fun to eat. In a word, they brought out the child in all of us, even if we can’t stay small forever.

Homemade pop tarts are easy hand pies that kids and grown ups will love! You'll love these pockets of cherry goodness!

Homemade Cherry Pop Tarts

Makes 6 | Prep: 30 minutes, plus chill time | Cook: 30 minutes

Forget store bought! Homemade cherry pop tarts are easy hand pies with a buttery, flakey crust and filled with a quick homemade jam from summer cherries.

Ingredients

Dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Filling

  • 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon cold water

Assembly

  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar

Glaze:

  • 2 tablespoons cherry filling
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar
  • sprinkles, if using

Instructions

Make the dough:
In a medium bowl, stir the flour, salt and sugar together with a fork or a whisk. Using your fingers, two forks or a pastry cutter, begin to work the butter into the dough until you have coarse crumbs. Stir in the water a tablespoon at a time, using a fork to incorporate it into the dough, checking it with your fingers by pinching the dough together. You can also do this with a food processor, if you wish. Do not over-work the dough – you want to be able to see bits of butter within the dough, and it will still be rather shaggy and loose. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use your hands to bring it together into a ball, but be careful not to overwork the dough. When the mixture pulls together into a ball, wrap the dough in a piece of plastic wrap, form it into a rectangle, and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.

Make the filling:

In a small sauce pan, stir the cherries, sugar, lemon juice and salt and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the cherries are soft and bubbly. Lower heat. Whisk together the cornstarch and water, and stir into the cherry, stirring constantly, until it is a thick jam. Remove from the heat, transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to cool completely.

Assemble:
On a lightly floured surface, prepare to roll out the dough. Lightly sprinkle the dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a large rectangle about 1/4-inch thick. Use a ruler and pizza cutter or knife to cut the dough into 3×4 inch rectangles. Gather the scraps of dough and re-roll to cut more rectangles. You should have about 12 rectangles. Place 6 rectangles on a parchment paper lined baking sheet(s).

Whisk the egg and water together, then lightly brush the edges of the dough on the 6 rectangles. Place 2 tablespoons of cherry filling in the center of each rectangle (be sure to reserve some filling to make the pink glaze). Lay another rectangle on top, pressing the edges with your fingers, and crimping by pressing together with a fork. Continue with the remaining pop tarts. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, along with the egg wash.

While the pop tarts chill, preheat the oven to 400°F with a rack placed in the center of the oven.

When the pop tarts are ready to bake, lightly brush the tops with the egg wash and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Use a fork or skewer to poke small holes on the top of the dough to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool a little before glazing.

Make the glaze:
Use a fork to mash the cherry filling until smooth, and stir in the water. Whisk in the powdered sugar in 1/2 cup increments until smooth and you achieve your desired consistency, using a little more or less as necessary. Pass through a sieve, then spread the glaze on your pop tarts, and top with the sprinkles. Let it cool on a wire rack (it takes about 40 minutes for the glaze to harden)…or enjoy immediately.

Notes

  • The separate components can be prepared in advance, from the dough to the filling, making these pop tarts an even easier treat in advance.
  • You can also form the pop tarts and instead of refrigerating for 20 minutes, freeze in a freezer safe container and bake at a later time.
  • While this recipe yields 6 pop tarts, you can easily double it to make an even dozen. Save some for future baking, or bake them all at once!

Dough based on Mini Egg Pies, Kawaling Pinoy

Comments

  1. Sarah

    Great recipe – except for when I floured everything and went to roll the dough out (after following all of these steps to the T), it melted almost instantly! Is 1/2 cup butter too much?? How can I remedy this?

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Sarah,
      Oh dear, did the dough itself “melt?” The first thing that comes to mind is that perhaps the dough did not have enough chill time in the refrigerator, or perhaps the room temperature in the kitchen was too hot. When working with this dough I make certain that it is well chilled. In terms of butter to flour ratio, this is one of my favorite pie doughs, and has always been reliable for me, so I stand by 1/2 cup butter (1 stick). The only other thing I can think of is that perhaps too much water was added to the dough, in which case, adding more flour to the dough should fix this.

      I hope this helps and that you are able to salvage the dough — these are so fun to make and eat!

    • Sarah

      Hi again Liren!
      Ok, so I remade the dough, it worked perfectly the second time. No, it didn’t “melt”, melt but it was very sticky the first time around. (1) I should have gone with my gut when adding the water to the dough, it was off by a table spoon. I’m obvi new to baking and should have known to just add a little bit of flour to balance it out. (2) I turned the oven on well before I rolled out the dough and we have a small kitchen so it heated the entire kitchen up! Oy vey!

      Perfect the second time. What a treat! Thanks so much for the post and the reply. I can’t wait to try it with other fruit!

    • Liren Baker

      Hi Sarah! I’m so relieved to hear that it worked out the second time! Ah, sticky dough — yes, extra flour — sometimes it’s hard to control things like heat and humidity and moisture in a dough, so it can take some tweaking. I know it can be so tempting to keep adding water, until you realize you’ve gone too far! And I well know the challenges of a small kitchen heating up too fast, LOL. I’m really glad you tried again and loved the pop tarts! This would definitely be amazing with all the summer fruits!

  2. Laura | Tutti Dolci

    These pop tarts are absolute perfection! :) I brought home four pounds of cherries from the farmer’s market yesterday, and now I know just how to use them :)

    Reply
  3. Ana

    Delicious flavors, but my version was quite a mess. I think that I left the dough too thick so I ended up with 4 rectangles and the jam wasn’t quite thick enough. I probably could have cooled my dough down more (it was in the fridge for 3 hours) and thickened the jam further (perhaps I added too many cherries as the tablespoon of cornstarch didn’t do much to thicken the jam). I will definitely try these again as the flavors are quite yummy and I love cherries.

    Reply
    • Liren Baker

      Hi Ana, I’m not sure how thick your dough was when it rolled it out, but about 1/4 inch thick is what I shoot for — if necessary, you can gather up any scraps and re roll again for more rectangles. And it is possible that your cherries yielded more liquid, requiring a touch more cornstarch or time on the stove, but as it cools, it does thicken. I hope those tips help and you try it again — these little pies are so good!

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