This toaster strudels recipe is courtesy of our contributor Leah…As a pastry chef, one of the most common things I hear from people are questions about making their kids favorite desserts and pastries at home. Some are concerned about the cost, others are concerned about the long list of ingredients that seem to plague packaged food these days, and others just want to be able to include their kids in their food preparation a bit more.
While many delectable goodies are a trained skill set, there are many ways to make well-loved specialties at home. One of my personal favorites, and one of the easiest for the busy mom, is the toaster pastries. Pillsbury makes the Toaster Strudel Pastries that are well-loved by children and adults alike. With a wide variety of flavors, it is no wonder. If they weren’t so simple to make at home – I’d probably be tempted to try some (I am a sucker for all things “apple”). But that’s the good news – they are so incredibly easy and can be made with a few store bought ingredients, that everyone can have their own favorites.
These toaster strudels can be filled with a variety of flavors. From the traditional ones like strawberry, apple, blueberry, to ones like pumpkin, field berry, or a favorite of kids around here – Nutella and Peanut Butter. Making toaster strudels at home is a fun activity, a great way to save money and a good way to cut down on the added sugars in the filling. It is also the perfect time of year to take some of those in-season berries, and use them for breakfast pastries for the upcoming school year. Yes, these toaster strudels freeze just like the boxed ones.
There are a few different ways make these toaster strudels, but I’ll walk you through the two easiest (jam vs compote).
All you need is:
- Puff pastry sheets – will make 8 pastries (this can be found in the frozen aisle, usually where they stock frozen pie shells. Make sure it’s puff pastry – not phyllo. President’s Choice makes it, and most grocery stores have at least one kind). This can also be made from scratch but is a much more time consuming process.
- Jam, preserves, compote, Nutella, cream cheese, etc. (whatever you want to put in them)
- Corn starch
- Powdered/Icing Sugar
- Lemon Juice
- Egg (for brushing the pastries)
Follow the instructions on the box of the puff pastry to defrost.
Jam/Preserve Method – While this method is the easiest and quickest, it doesn’t give you the flexibility and control of compote. That said, feel free to throw in a few more berries, adjust the sweetness to your liking, and add spices and flavors as you go. The mixture is very forgiving.
Place ~1 cup of jam in a sauce pan and heat until boiling. Meanwhile, place ~1 Tbsp of cornstarch with ~1 Tbsp of cold water in a cup and mix. Once the jam is boiling, slowly stir in the cornstarch mix, lower the heat to a simmer and stir until the cornstarch is mixed in and the mixture starts to thicken (about three minutes). Set aside and allow to come to room temperature.
Compote Method – This method is a little bit more time consuming but the results are worth it. You have complete control over the filling flavor, the sweetness, the texture. This is my favorite as I can control the sugar and the flavors. I like a compote with a bit of bite left to it, while if you like a smoother texture, cooking it further or immersion blend and straining it can provide that.
Choose whatever fresh or frozen fruit you have handy. I used a mix of frozen Saskatoon berries and fresh blueberries (don’t throw in leaves or twigs or anything). You will then want to add a bit of lemon or lime juice, a sweetener – I used a bit of honey, and any other flavors you would like. As it was a blueberry mix, I added a bit of lemon zest, and a tiny bit of vanilla. The amounts do not need to be precise. Add a bit of water to the bottom and begin cooking over low heat. You can walk away for awhile at this point. You will cook the compote until it has desired texture you want. You will want it to be a bit thicker than jam (like above) to contain it in the pastries. Once you have the correct texture (you may need to mix in the cornstarch/water mixture like the jam method), put aside to cool to room temperature while the dough thaws.
Once puff pastry sheet has defrosted, preheat oven to 425F. Using a pastry cutter/pizza cutter or knife, cut the dough into four equal strips (so they are short and fat, not tall and skinny)
Place your toppings into the middle of the upper part of the dough – I spread a thin layer of cream cheese, and then placed a spoonful of our Saskatoon berry/blueberry compote on top.
Seal the edge with a bit of water, and fold the lower half up over top. Crimp the four edges with a fork and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Repeat with the remaining pastry pieces.
Cut slots in the tops (like pie) or poke with a fork to allow the steam to vent. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, and then egg wash each pastry to give it that rich golden brown color. Then bake 15-20 minutes until golden.
Allow the pastries to cool. If you wish to add the icing glaze, this can be made with a mix of ~1 cup icing sugar, and 1-2 Tbsp water/milk/vanilla/lemon juice. Slowly add the liquid to the icing sugar while whisking until you achieve a thick but pipe-able consistency. Pipe over the pastries and allow to set, and serve.
There are two methods of preserving them depending on your needs. If you wish to bake them fresh, make the pastries as instructed (skipping the egg wash step and leaving off the icing). Once they are cool, freeze on level surface. Once frozen solid, you can stack them and place them in a Ziploc bag. The night before you wish to serve them, pull the pastries you need and place them on a parchment lined tray, cover with cling wrap or in a bag, and place in your fridge overnight. In the morning, preheat the oven, egg wash the pastries and bake as above.
If you wish to make traditional toaster strudels, you will want to bake the pastries thoroughly to golden brown. Let them cool completely, but omit icing. Then freeze like above. This will allow them to be pulled, toasted and eaten. The icing can be placed in a squeeze bottle, pastry bag, or Ziploc bag.
Breakfast is one of the most traditional times for a pastry, but that doesn’t mean they have to be as rich in added sugars, colors and preservatives as many store bought ones. It is an easy enough task to enlist the help of children, and it is an excellent way to use up fruits (or just get more fruits into their diet). I often find that with the sweetness of the icing glaze on top, it is possible to place a relatively unsweetened mix into the middle of the pastries.
You can always make it a touch more special with a few drops of food coloring in the icing glaze, or a few sprinkles on top. While I will never advocate pastries for breakfast every morning, if I was going to – these toaster strudels would definitely be one of those treats. It’s versatile, and store bought puff pastry makes it easy-peasy. The worst part of it all is waiting for the pastries to cool before eating!
Thank you to Leah for sharing this delicious tutorial with us! You’ll find more of Iced…Bake Shoppe’s creations on their Facebook page. They deliver throughout Canada and the US so you’ll want to keep them in mind for your next special celebration! Their cookies are always adorable & are the highlight of a party’s buffet table.