On a website full of reviewers devoted to seeking out the greatest junk food, claiming any sort of donut expertise would involve Icarus-level hubris, and I’m not trying to drown in a sea of comments. However, as a native Bay Stater turned Southern California resident, I’ve spent my life in two places that are well known for the treat and feel comfortable claiming a deep love for doughnuts, which I spelled in full to pay proper respect. And of all the varieties that can make up a delicious dozen, someone from Massachusetts especially appreciates the donut shop staples that inspired the two newest Pop-Tarts: the Boston cream donut and the apple fritter. I was excited to see how they fared in toaster pastry form.
Let’s start with the Frosted Boston Creme Donut. I was skeptical because the bakery item this ‘Tart is based on is no slouch. We’re talking about the official state donut of the home of Dunkin’ Donuts here. But they certainly smelled like a Boston cream donut in the foil and looked exactly as a Pop-Tart version would and should. After taking a bite, I had to admit it was pretty close. The chocolate on top was too mild to evoke the thick frosting that would be on a donut but tasted nice. The custard filling was rich with hints of butterscotch, though achingly, unflinchingly sweet. I wouldn’t want to eat this for breakfast. But I never eat Boston cream donuts before noon, either.
I’m not sure if heating up Boston cream donuts is a thing, but of the four ways one can enjoy a Pop-Tart according to the box (as-is, frozen, microwaved, and toasted), I thought toasted was the clear winner. It really intensified the chocolate flavor and made for a more balanced bite.
The Frosted Apple Fritter Pop-Tart felt like very comfortable territory for the brand. Fruit and frosting is a no-brainer for them at this point, and one could argue this was a little phoned-in. It smelled like any basic apple baked good but was not easily recognizable as an apple fritter. I had a similar feeling about the flavor. Knowing what it was supposed to taste like, I could convince myself that the frosting was like the hearty coating of glaze on a good fritter. The dried apples that found themselves in the “Contains 2% or less of” section of the ingredients packed a wonderful sharp appley punch (next level food science) that seemed to be coated in the same cinnamon as the chunks that dot the real thing. If I’m being honest with myself? This was just a very good apple Pop-Tart.
If you need this one to taste like a fritter, I did find freezing it brought it closer to its namesake’s flavor profile. If you want to have a great time and don’t care about the name on the box, toast it. Hot apple cinnamon filling never hurt anybody. Okay, never hurt anybody patient enough to let it cool down enough first.
When I reflected on them as a pair, I realized the flavors were technically successful but shared the same fatal flaw: they aren’t exclusively donut flavors to begin with. The apples in a fritter are reminiscent of pie filling, and the Boston cream donut is unapologetically supposed to taste like a type of cake. Those flavors paired with a crumbly pastry crust? Well, to loosely quote a line said to a fellow donut lover on The Simpsons, ’tis a fine pie/cake Pop-Tart, but sure ‘tis no donut Pop-Tart.
So, they miss out on the same respect I pay doughnuts. But I do respect Pop-Tarts for always trying to give us offerings that are both comfortingly familiar and intriguingly unexpected.
Purchased Price: $3.29 (Both)
Size: 8-pack box (Both)
Purchased at: Shaw’s (Both)
Rating: 6 out of 10 (Frosted Boston Creme Donut), 7 out of 10 (Frosted Apple Fritter)
Nutrition Facts: (2 pastries) Frosted Boston Creme Donut – 370 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 250 milligrams of sodium, 70 grams of total carbohydrates, 31 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 4 grams of protein. Frosted Apple Fritter – 370 calories, 9 grams of fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 mg of cholesterol, 260 milligrams of sodium, 69 grams of total carbohydrates, 29 grams of total sugars, 1 gram of fiber, and 4 grams of protein.