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Popping Up Pop-Tarts

This retro treat is making a gourmet comeback.


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Pop-Tarts have come a long way. In the East Bay, pastry chefs are replacing the 38-ingredient boxed treats with house-made versions, using organic, seasonal, and local fruits. And much like the gourmet mac ’n’ cheese trend, the twenty- and thirtysomething hipster foodies can’t get enough of the modern, gourmet version of their childhood mainstay.

“It started out as a retro thing,” says Alicia Toyooka, the pastry chef at Oakland’s Kitchen 388. “People spend money on things that make them feel safe and happy.”

Toyooka makes a dozen varieties of these single-serving pie squares, from strawberry rhubarb to banana Nutella to orange cardamom pastry cream. Similar creations can be found at Tender Greens in Walnut Creek and at Teacake Bake Shop’s Burlingame store (they hope to carry them in Lafayette by the end of the year).

“It’s definitely a nostalgic product,” says Teacake owner Agnes Hsu. “And really, who doesn’t love a Pop-Tart?”

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