It’s like that old children’s book:
If you make a Pop-Tart organic, it’ll want a typewriter to tell people about it.
If you give that Pop-Tart a typewriter, it’ll need thick-rimmed glasses to see the keys.
When you give it thick-rimmed glasses, the Pop-Tart will need to know the proper pronunciation of “quinoa” for its upcoming poetry slam…
I jest, but Nature’s Path Organic’s toaster pastries are, in my mind’s eye, Hipster Pop-Tarts. And just like Trader John Misty—err, I mean, “Joe”—Nature’s Path has a sleek, pumpkin spiced pastry to compete with Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts: Kellogg’s big guns.
(And we all know Pop-Tart guns should be taken seriously.)
Thick. That’s my first impression of Nature’s Path’s Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries. While Pop-Tart crust melts in your mouth like a golden puff pastry, this organic pumpkin chrysalis is hearty, dense, and chewy. It’s like biting into a whole grain country biscuit, and with its doughy–mealy blend of lightly buttered yeast, these pastries taste like something out of a Southern–Northeastern fusion restaurant, too.
And if it sounds like the crust opens an innovative Cracker Barrel of Monkeys, just wait ’til you try the filling. Right up front, I didn’t get much pumpkin flavor from it—there’s just so much more crust than filling. There’s definitely undertones of generic “pureed harvest vegetable dusted with brown sugar and cinnamon,” but the most prominent taste is molasses.
Yes, Nature’s Path chose a unique sweetener here, and as a result, the mildly spicy, yet darkly sweet ‘n’ grainy pastry ends up tasting like a domesticated—or perhaps tranquilized—gingerbread man. To paraphrase the classic tale: “You can’t catch me, I’m speeding away in my Prius!”
When toasted, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries become a fair deal more potent, as the molten filling seeps into the now crispy and cracker-esque crust. Radiant warmth complements the cozy flavor, too, as brown sugar and molasses team up to produce a delightfully caramelized sweetness. Bizarrely, the heat seemed to awake a honey graham flavor in the crust, too, making the final product—melty, sprinkled frosted included—taste like an autumn-spiced s’more.
I’m not saying you should grab a skewer and roast these over a campfire, but I am saying that even Smokey the Bear would ask for seconds.
While I almost always recommend that people freeze their Pop-Tarts, as it produces a “taste-it-to-believe-it” crispy cookie dough texture, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries are practically inedible after spending time in the freezer. What little pumpkin spice flavor they had is dulled away, and the crust becomes so hard that it’s like gnawing through whatever industrial grade corrugated cardboard they use for storage in Antarctic labs.
So even though the weather’s getting colder, be sure to keep your Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries well insulated.
Overall, Nature’s Path Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries are bad at staying true to their name, but do a good, albeit structurally flawed, job as a “seasonally evolved brown sugar cinnamon pastry.” Like the lovechild of a gingerbread man and a butternut squash, these molasses-steeped rectangles aren’t better or worse than Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts, because that would be like comparing apples to jack-o-lanterns. Instead, they make for a good fireside alternative thicker and more savory than Trader Joe’s otherwise similar pumpkin pastries.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to try toasting one of these bad boys and then flash-freezing it. You know, for science!
The Bowl: Nature’s Path Organic Frosted Pumpkin Pie Toaster Pastries
The Breakdown: Half cornucopia, half speculoos, and all crusty all the time, these pastries trade sweetness for rich wheatiness and a more malty molasses filling. If that niche experience sounds perfect for your palate, you probably laready left for the store 3 paragraphs ago.
The Bottom Line: 7.5 gingerbread condos out of 10