Yes, you read that right; turkey dinner pop tarts; Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts, and I think it’s one of the best creations I’ve ever come up with!
That being said, I bet the first thing that comes to mind when it comes to my Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts, is pieces of turkey in jam filled pastry with frosting on top, right? No worries, these are savory pop tarts! Any sweetness comes from what you usually mishmash together on your Thanksgiving plate, like sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, or fruit in your stuffing. BUT, what you add to these flaky, tarts of Thanksgiving dinner, is entirely up to you, or what you have left over.
I came up with the idea for Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts, last week, thinking I would have plenty of leftovers to attempt these. I made SO much food that there was no way I wouldn’t have enough leftovers! Well, happily, there were barely any leftovers because everyone loved everything, but sadly, that left me with nothing to make these pop tarts come to fruition.
Parents to the rescue; they had a small container of one of the stuffings I made (which was amazing..created by Jessica of How Sweet It Is), a bit of cranberry sauce, and a couple of slices of breast meat from my turkey (which was also amazing, created by Amy of SheWears Many Hats). This year I added some new to my old and always requested Thanksgiving standbys, and now both of the above just might be a part of my Thanksgiving repertoire from hereon in.
SO, instead of celebrating Black Friday with my wallet, patience, and sicko traffic jams, I made these. I partook in a bit of online Black Friday fun, but the best is yet to come on Cyber Monday, and you don’t have to leave your house to get some great deals. I’ll be there, butt firmly implanted in my computer chair, thank you.
Speaking of deals. I need to digress for a moment.
Did I ever tell you all about the marble pastry board I placed a bid on at ebay? Well, for days, I was the only bidder, which is usually what happens. With 3 minutes left to go, someone started bidding on it, fighting me tooth and nail, until my original bid of $12.00 was up to $40.00!
When it hit $45.00, I gave up since it was just too ridiculous a price for a small marble pastry board. So, I surfed different online stores for another marble board, and sure enough, found the same exact marble pastry board for $14.00! I couldn’t resist; I sent the obsessed, opposing bidder a message with all the links to the $14.00 pastry board. She replied with an ‘Eff You’.
That was probably the most gratifying ‘Eff You’ anyone has ever bestowed upon me.
So, Mom and Dad save the day. I couldn’t make as many pop tarts as I wanted to (I made half of my recipe, and was able to cobble together a top for the 9th dough rectangle that was left without a partner, for a total of 5 pop tarts), and I didn’t know if they were going to work, but at least I had something to fill them with. The urge to try these was so strong that I actually gasped for a second when I realized I might not be able to attempt them, but just one second..I swear. I may be obsessed with ideas and experimenting, but not that obsessed. Alright, maybe a little more than ‘not that obsessed’.
I know what you may be thinking as I ramble on about my ‘idea’ and ‘experiment’. Leftover turkey and sides wrapped in a dough and baked; that’s been done a gazillion times, from homemade hot pockets to savory hostess fruit pie like pies that are carriagable…ad infinitum.
AND look at these Thanksgiving croissants from The Milk Bar!
What’s different about these Thanksgiving leftover pop tarts is that they’re streamlined. You cannot fit a ton of filling into pop tarts, so you get just the right amount of turkey, cranberry and stuffing (or whatever leftover sides you want to add with the turkey) with each bite. No filling oozing all over the place (not that that’s a bad thing), and they’re definitely much more handy, like your basic boxed pop tart, albeit, much better because it’s all homemade; nothing artificial.
I over-baked these by about 6 minutes (33 minutes). So, about 25-27 minutes, as you see in the first photo up top, is just about right.
Oh, how could I forget the best part? You can heat these pop tarts up in a pop-up toaster once they’ve baked and cooled. Try that with a big, fat loaded empanada or pot pie! You can also make tons of them (double the dough recipe) and freeze them unbaked, taking out how ever many you need, for up to 3 to 4 months. You can also bake the pop tarts and freeze them, again, taking out what you need, letting them thaw, then heating them up in the oven, toaster oven, or, my fave, the pop-up toaster!
Not exactly the best interior photos, but trust me, these pop tarts look A LOT better away from my Lowel Ego Light. Most importantly, they’re delicious; so flaky and loaded with Thanksgiving dinner flavor!
Obviously, I’m selling you on these because they did work, and they’re awesome. As a matter of fact, I’m eating one as I type this. I used an herb pie dough for these pop tarts, but you can use any favorite pie dough recipe, and for the fillings, use any combination of leftovers with the turkey- like turkey with mashed potatoes, stuffing, and whatever vegetable(s) you have left over, to just turkey, a little gravy and mashed potatoes and/or stuffing. How about turkey and mashed (or casseroled) sweet potato or candied yam pop tarts?
A totally streamlined Thanksgiving leftover sandwich (you know, the one you make at midnight hours after the big meal?)! Of course, you must make a few of those, but all those little bits left over when you’re done Dagwooding those sandwiches, that won’t give you a Dagwood sized sandwich, is what you need for these pop tarts!
As you can see in the photo collage, I was lucky enough to have scrounged some candied, syrupy sweet potatoes (we always call them candied sweets or candied yams) which I mashed to keep the pop tarts sleek and trim, before they poofed until next year.
Oh. might I add..of course you can completely omit the turkey and make these vegetarian!
I made one change to the recipe after biting into one. Instead of the thin slices of turkey you see in the collage above; I changed it to two tablespoons chopped turkey per pop tart. I did this because with some bites, I ended up pulling out the whole slice of turkey, having to bite down to break it in half so I wasn’t left with a pop tart without turkey. BUT, shredding the leftover pieces of turkey is even better than chopping because it keeps the pop tart even more streamlined (how many times have I used streamlined so far?)
In conclusion, I hope you make these Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts, and I hope they become part of your Thanksgiving leftover day(s) for years to come plus!
Finally, how would you like a visit to your blog by the Fairy Hobmother to grant you a wish, one which you can then pass on to your readers? Thanks to Jamie from Life’s a Feast, the Fairy Hobmother stopped by my blog and gifted me with an Amazon gift certificate! Since I couldn’t decide what I wanted or needed, the Fairy Hobmother gave me a gift coupon to Amazon so I can choose what I want when I can figure it out. If you leave a comment, – make a wish, since the Fairy Hobmother will be watching over my comment section to choose someone to sprinkle fairy dust on – in other words, receive what you wish for! Leave a comment and you might get lucky!
Thanksgiving Leftover Pop Tarts
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, chilled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces and frozen
- About 6 tablespoons ice water (optional - remove 1 tablespoon of ice water and replace with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar)
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped or shredded turkey breast meat*
- 9 heaping tablespoons stuffing
- 9 tablespoons cranberry sauce
- OR - any combination of leftover sides you prefer, a tablespoon or small amount of each like whatever creation of sweet potatoes you make (casserole, candied etc), mashed potatoes, vegetables, et al.
- 1 egg, beaten
- Grated parmesan, or any hard, aged Italian cheese you like
- Blend first 6 ingredients in processor until herbs are very finely chopped. Add frozen butter. Pulse processor until mixture resembles coarse meal. (Alternatively, you can do this by hand, chopping the herns finely before adding them to the flour, then cutting the frozen butter in with a pastry cutter)..
- Transfer mixture to large bowl. Using a fork, mix enough ice water into flour mixture to form moist clumps.You want it to look raggedy with lumps of butter. Gather dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and gently flatten into rectangle. Wrap tightly and chill 30 minutes. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled, or you can freeze for 1 month)
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove dough from the refrigerator and let dough sit a few minutes until workable.
- Place chilled dough on a lightly floured work surface. Cut out as many 4-inch x 6-inch rectangles (or 3-inch x 5-inch for more pop tarts) as you can. Wrap and refrigerate dough scraps, since you may have enough for another pop tart or two, which you will rest in fridge and bake as above.
- Brush half the rectangles of dough lightly with beaten egg. Let sit until egg is tacky instead of wet and slippery, about 5 minutes.
- Spread 1 tablespoon stuffing over each of the egg brushed rectangles, leaving about ½-inch, or a bit more, clean along each edge around the rectangle so you'll be able to seal them. Top stuffing with 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped turkey and 1 tablespoon of cranberry sauce (or whatever combination of leftovers you use, 1 tablespoon of each), spreading each layer so it covers up to the ½-inch clean edges. Repeat with the rest of the egg washed dough rectangles.
ALTERNATIVELY, if you're not making the pop tarts with different combinations of leftovers to please each person's taste, like I did, combine all of the leftovers you want to use and spoon about ¼ to ⅓ cup of it on each pop tart, then continue with topping and sealing as directed in recipe.
- Top each filled rectangle of dough with a rectangle not brushed with beaten egg. Press down each edge to seal it well, then press the tines of a fork all around the edges of the rectangles to seal. Repeat with remaining pop tarts.
If you're not going to bake them immediately - NOW is the time to freeze them. Place tarts on baking sheet and freeze until frozen solid. Place them in a freezer bag and freeze up to 3 months. To bake frozen, add 5 to 10 minutes to original baking time in a 350 F preheated oven.
- Gently lift pop tarts and place on a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Brush each pop tart with remaining beaten egg, and sprinkle with some parmesan or any hard Italian grating cheese you prefer. Poke holes to vent the pop tarts. I poked three rows with a fork.
- Place baking sheet with pop tarts in refrigerator for 30 minutes. No need to cover them since they're brushed with egg wash. Roll out dough scraps and make more pop tarts. I got two more to make 12.
- Remove baking sheet from refrigerator and place in preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until light golden brown.
If you want to freeze them already baked - let cool to room temperature, then freeze them on a baking sheet. Place frozen, baked pop tarts in a freezer bag for up to 3 months, To serve and eat, bake in a preheated 350 F oven or toaster oven for about 15 to 20 minutes OR let thaw, then heat them in a pop-up toaster for a few minutes.