Kitchn Love Letters

I Tried the Frozen Pastries I Was Obsessed with as a Kid and All I Can Say Is, Wow

published Jun 22, 2022
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Refrigerator, with freezer door opened. Food in freezer has been neatly organized. On the fridge door the freezer inventory checklist is hanging.
Credit: Sarah Crowley

For the most part, my mom and dad made sure my sister and I put something in our stomachs before school. They encouraged us to have yogurt and oats as often as possible. Some mornings, my mom would make us chocolate chip pancakes from a mix. And on rare occasions she would let me have the one thing I’d always ask for: Pillsbury Toaster Strudel.

Sold in packs of six, 12, and, in the case of Strawberry, 30, the rectangular strudels were the ideal morning meal to me. It’s been years since I’ve had one for breakfast, though, and I couldn’t imagine how it would taste to my more mature palate. Would the freshly warmed (and iced!) pastry still live up to the hype? In the name of nostalgia (and research!) I decided to buy a box to find out.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

I picked up the bright blue box with the strawberry-flavored strudel in the freezer section of my local grocery store. When I got home, I immediately tore it open to find my beloved frozen pastries and those classic plastic tubes of icing. I popped two in my toaster oven and waited a few minutes while my apartment kitchen filled with that familiar, buttery smell. Then, I let the pastries cool slightly before squeezing a swirl of icing from the tube onto each one.

Credit: Taylor Kocher

My Grown-Up Take on Pillsbury Strawberry Toaster Strudel Pastries

Wow! There are definitely some familiarities in revisiting an old favorite, but there are also plenty that’s changed. With one bite, my hands and mouth were as messy as I remember — strawberry filling and icing oozing everywhere. And although the strudel felt smaller in my now full-grown adult-sized hands, I was immediately brought back to those extra-special mornings at the kitchen table with my mom and my sister. 

Credit: Taylor Kocher

As for the taste, the soft, flaky pastry was sweet — sweeter than I remember — and about as buttery as the smell that filled my kitchen promised. The filling, which was a nice mix of sweet and tart, does balance the sweetness of strudel pastry well enough on its own, but when combined with the icing it definitely became too much. Eight-year-old me probably would strongly object, but I would limit or even skip the swirled icing on future pastries. I would, however, save it for drizzling over a freshly baked muffin or scone.

While I’m an adult now — so I can eat whatever I want for breakfast — I probably won’t be toasting these pastries every morning. Still, I’m glad I took this trip down memory lane.

Buy: Pillsbury Strawberry Toaster Strudel Pastries, $2.49 for 11.5 ounces at Target

Did you have a favorite breakfast pastry when you were a kid? Tell us about it in the comments.