The summer heat is overwhelming, and hot times call for cold foods. Grab some ice cream, you say? A popsicle? That’s quaint. Instead, reach for the unexpected. Although frozen liquids will always have an icy place in my freezer and a warm place in my cold heart, it’s time to embrace a new frozen dessert: the Pop-Tart.
Prior to a few days ago, I hadn’t eaten Pop-Tarts in years, but something about them called me to them recently; it was probably a sale. I was a little surprised to see serving suggestions listed. When I was a child, it was toasted or bust. (If you’re a straight-out-of-the-box person, I’ll never understand you.) But the box also told me frozen was an option, information I greeted with incredulity and hope.
Untoasted–or as I call them, “raw”— Pop-Tarts are my least favorite. I dislike the crust’s pasty texture, and O prefer the filling to be warm and gooey. My fear was that freezing them would turn them cold and pasty, or worse, what if the frozen filling became too hard to eat? I decided that this test should be done with two flavors to get a better idea of what fillings might be more successful. I chose Strawberry for Team Fruit and S’mores for Team Chocolate.
After a few hours in the freezer, I performed my taste test, and was pleasantly surprised. Remarkably, the crust was anything but pasty; it was crisp in a way that I can only describe as cold-toasted. It didn’t have the browned flavor you get from the Maillard reaction (you need heat for that), but it snapped and crumbled the same way. Both the strawberry and s’mores fillings were certainly firm, but hardly tooth-crackingly so; they had the consistency of chewy fudge. The filling holds the freezing temps more than the outer crust, making a tart grow refreshingly cooler as you move toward the center.The cold even tamed the cloying sweetness a tad.
Frozen Pop-Tarts are best when eaten immediately so you can enjoy the different textures and temperature sensations. The crust begins to thaw back to its pasty stage after about five minutes, and the center stays cool for only a few minutes longer. Luckily, it only takes about 45 seconds for me to eat a Pop-Tart.
Ice cream is decidedly colder but I can see myself opting for a Pop-Tart over a bowl of ice cream semi-regularly. As a bonus, even if you like the hot or room temperature versions, open packages of Pop-Tarts won’t go stale as quickly if you store them in the freezer.
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