Product Review: Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts from Kelloggs
Wait a second, you’re telling me pumpkin season is over?
It took me the better part of two years worth of wandering around various Walmarts and Targets in four different states before I finally scored a box of Kelloggs’ fall-themed Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts. And although the displays dotting those same Walmarts and Targets have moved on to Sugar Cookie and Gingerbread flavors, there was no way I wasn’t going to pick up the Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts I’ve long heard about.
I’ve talked about my love-hate relationship with Pop-Tarts before. You can read more about it here, but it all comes down to the fact that Pop-Tarts, in general, are the best looking food product you will ever see on a box. Unfortunately, they’re only mediocre once you actually eat them. Once more, they all end up tasting like a generic chocolate or fruit filling surrounded by flavorless crust.
Amazingly, the limited edition Pumpkin Pop-Tarts don’t taste like S’mores Pop-Tarts, and they don’t taste like ”Name your Berry” Pop-Tarts either. Saying they taste like pumpkin pie is obviously a huge stretch (and as someone who ate a magnificent and homemade, fresh-grated ginger containing Pumpkin Pie for Turkey Day, I should know) but they are better than the Baked McDonald’s rendition. And, despite never being blown away by a Pop-Tart before, I do think I’ve discovered my new favorite Pop-Tart.
First, what works. The filling, to be specific. It’s not traditional pie like in consistency, but it has an unprecedented and complex flavor for a toaster pastry. Unlike, say, Libby’s Pumpkin Pie filling, the Pop-Tart “goo” is more of a combination of something vaguely jelly or jam like. The spices are strong but they don’t come across as too heavy — thanks, I can only assume, from a super-sweet initial taste that even makes the blander tasting “crust” worthwhile. I also like the “frosting” on top. It bugs me that it doesn’t melt into a glaze (think of how a donut frosting melts) but it has a sweet flavor that tastes of vanilla.
No, not Madagascar-bean vanilla, but c’mon, this is a Pop-Tart after all. And before you start asking what the sprinkles are for (no, I’ve never had a Pumpkin Pie with sprinkles on it either, unless you count that time Dad burnt the turkey and the fire extinguisher went off) know that they actually caramelize in the toaster oven, giving off a poor man’s crème brûlée effect which makes me consider adding actual sprinkles to actual pumpkin pies in the future.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that we’re still talking in the context of a Pop-Tart. Among other things, this means even the most boring of supermarket glazed donuts creates a similar, if not better, tasting experience. Likewise, the 400 calories in two Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts are relatively easy to consume, leaving you feel like you just got through all of, like, a third of your breakfast. And the crust? Still pretty much worthless on its own, and given the extremely scant helping of filling, you’ll have to space out your bites strategically. And, if it takes me another two years to find a box of these, I guess that means I’ll have to space out those bites very strategically.
- Pros: Perhaps the best-tasting Pop-Tart I’ve ever had. Sweetness is multi-layered and has great “fall spice” flavor. Filling is addicting. Sprinkle crème brûlée effect. Actually one of the healthier Pop-Tart flavors out there, with “only” 14 grams of sugar per pastry, and no trans fats.
- Cons: Not actual pumpkin pie. Frosting doesn’t melt like a donut. Skimping on filling. Crust… ugh. Feeling like you’ve only eaten 1/3rd of your breakfast after downing 400 calories. Only comes in 16-pack. Almost impossible to actually find.
GrubGrade: 7.50/10 (Good)
(Overall GrubGrade is not an average)
Nutrition: Pop Tarts Pumpkin Pie