Despite what you may have seen or heard, this isn’t an actual Starbucks Pop-Tart. It isn’t a Starbucks Toaster Strudel, either. And it certainly is not a Starbucks Magpie, since i’m pretty sure the coffee chain’s aviary license expired decades ago.
No, Starbucks’ latest sugary coffee companions are the invention of New York baker Meghan Ritchie, and they’re called Megpies. More specifically, they are “artisan tarts,” which Google Translate claims is hipster-speak for “please don’t shame me as I dip this double-decker Pop-Tart into my Cotton Candy Frappuccino and accidentally spill some on my portable typewriter.”
Individually wrapped and sold next to the register, these all-natural Megpies come in strawberry and cinnamon + brown sugar. I can only assume this is a non-sugar coated (but still literally sugar coated) attempt to mimic Pop-Tarts’ two most popular flavors: Frosted Strawberry and Frosted Brown Sugar Cinnamon.
Since I’ve eaten enough Tiny Toast cereal this summer to give myself a not-so-tiny bloat, I decided to give the berries a break this time and give in to Cinnamon + Brown Sugar’s spicy temptation.
Oh, and if you’re wondering why I didn’t try one of each, it’s because these Totally Not Pop-Tarts will run you back $3.95 a pop, which is indeed more than the cost of a 16-count Brown Sugar Cinnamon Pop-Tart box. That’s fine, Starbucks, as long as this Megpie has few shares of Google stock buried in its gooey innards.
So this is what a Cinnamon + Brown Sugar Megpie looks like. Maybe it’s my wallet talking, but this thing is pretty darn cute. And chubby, too:
When compared to a Pop-Tart, my Megpie is like the Mario to Kellogg’s Luigi. It’s shorter, but twice as chunky and hopefully filled with as much “sauce” as Mario on marinara night.
I nibbled into a naked, crusty corner, and holy mamma mia! This thing is doughy! It’s got the mild crumble and sweetly buttered flavor of a puff pastry, but I’d be much more likely to call this Megpie a buff pastry. The dense crust’s center is more elastic than it is fluffy. There’s nothing inherently bad about the idea of “edible pastry Play-Doh,” but it does feel a bit strange.
Thankfully, the too-thin icing is still able to give off a pleasant sheen of cinnamon sugar taste. Imagine someone took a bag of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, extracted the mountain of dust and crumbs that accumulates at the bottom, and whipped it with butter until it became a spreadable paste. I wish there were more of it, but since I’ve already eaten paste and Play-Doh before even reaching the filling, I’m just happy that I’ve gotten to relive my kindergarten days.
And speaking of the filling: darn you Starbucks, I need more of this stuff too! Just fill a mason jar with this goo and have it on my desk by 9:00! Bring pictures of Spider-Man, too!
While the icing brought a smack of cinnamon, the tragically scarce filling packs a wallop of creamy brown sugar. Though a lot of its flavor is unfortunately swallowed by the doughy whale it lives inside, the filling teams up with the icing and crust to produce a pleasant overall taste that reminds me of a cider doughnut.
And anything that reminds me of cider trips, apple picking, and Halloween in the middle of summer deserves a place in my jack-o-lantern heart.
I wanted to see if I could combat the rubbery doughiness by popping my Megpie into the toaster. But for whatever reason, it didn’t toast at all, and everything just started to mush-ify and melt like a muffin left out in a monsoon.
This wasn’t all bad, though. The flavor took on some interestingly smoky and spicy notes, and the end result tasted exactly like a slightly undercooked apple pie that someone forgot to put the apples in.
So while all 3 of you who are still here ponder that unnecessarily complex analogy, I’ll continue trying to decide whether this Cinnamon + Brown Sugar Megpie was worth it. On one hand, I probably could have baked a batch of similar, cheaper confections using a brick of puff pastry dough and a turkey baster full of buttered brown sugar. But on the other hand, this artisan tart was freakin’ delicious, and hey: the store’s called Starbucks, not Starnickels.
If you have $4 to spare and want to experience a “homemade Pop-Tart,” I say go for it. I, meanwhile, will be shoulder deep in my couch, looking for enough spare change to try a Strawberry Megpie.
Who knows, maybe they already built a Starbucks in between the cushions?
The “Bowl:” Starbucks Cinnamon + Brown Sugar “Megpies” Artisan Tart
The Breakdown: Though it’s a little too doughy, way too under-filled, and a bit pricey, Starbucks’ attempt at a Pop-Tart is still thicker than George Costanza’s and tastes like a rectangular cider mill doughnut. It’s probably more socially acceptable to eat than a double Pop-Tart ‘n’ Butter sandwich, too.
The Bottom Line: 8 heroic pastry plumbers out of 10
(Nutrition Facts: 340 calories, 170 calories from fat, 18 grams of total fat, 11 grams of saturated fat, 0.5 grams of trans fat, 50 milligrams of cholesterol, 300 milligrams of sodium, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 16 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein per Megpie)