Monday, July 18, 2011

Baked Fruit Pockets (Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan Optional)

The Daily Dietribe family has been growing. Earlier this month, I introduced you to V, my new gluten-free product reviewer (and beautiful housemate). And today I'm introducing you to someone that I've been bouncing ideas off of for months. I have to tell you in all honesty that since I'm a bit of a control freak when it comes to my recipes, I usually ask for his advice and then promptly ignore it. Yesterday, I finally let go of some of my legendary control in the kitchen and asked him to help me create a recipe.

It started with a batch of cherry scones. I thought they were okay, but needed work. He and V (he needs a name, doesn't he?) really liked them. In fact, at one point he asked me, "Is it bad that I keep eating these?" I'm pretty sure he meant, are they bad for me, and I assured him that he could have another one guilt-free.

He decided they reminded him of fig newtons, and that we should make them again as little fruit pockets. After some thought, we determined they needed a tad more maple syrup (the scones only had 1 tablespoon), a little more rise (enter an egg and baking powder), and some sort of fruit filling (he made a cherry filling and a raspberry filling). I had to take a deep breath and a leap of faith when I decided to ask him to work on the filling rather than making it myself.

Letting go of control around food is one of my goals for this year. As you might know if you've ever had problems with disordered eating, there's a tug of war inside you for food control. Letting go of that control helps me with eating normally more than anything else does. Writing a cookbook is the ultimate exercise in control. You have to have extreme control over all of your recipes, ingredient amounts, baking time, etc. You pretty much have to be a little OCD. On the other hand, you're faced with baked goods on a daily basis and if you're facing down the binge monster with your iron control every day, you're going to exhaust yourself really fast. A couple of years ago, there's no way I could have handled this. Even now, I can't deny it's difficult. But I'm learning to let go. Let go of my fear that there will not be enough food and I must hoard it all. I do this by literally letting go (i.e. giving away my baked goods). Let go of the fear that there will not be enough money to buy more supplies and food. Again, I do this my giving my food away and remembering this quote: If you continually give, you will continually have. Let go of the need to be perfect and the fear of showing my flaws. I do this by giving away baked goods that aren't up to my standards yet rather than eating them out of fear of someone knowing all of my recipes aren't amazing.

Yes, writing a cookbook is an exercise in control and the art of letting go. So is sharing your blog. I started The Daily Dietribe at an extremely difficult point in my life. During a time when I was feeling lost, I found a part of myself I never knew existed. Out of that, this baby blog was born and has grown into a nice upstanding, adult blog. It's giving birth itself to a cookbook (will that make me a grandma?), and I've started my journey towards a career and life that I love. I don't think it's exaggerating to say that none of this would have happened if not for a random day when I started eating gluten-free and wrote my first entry in this blog. So of course it tugs at my heart strings a bit to invite others to be a part of it. But it also makes me happy that I've created something that others might want to be a part of. It's all a part of letting go. Which of course allows me to simply be, without all of those inner battles tugging me in one direction, then the next, and ultimately leaving me tied to one spot.

And now back to my original point...

As is often the case, it was not my intention to write so much here. I simply wanted to introduce you to someone new. Someone who has the same passion for food that I do, but comes at it from a different angle. He challenges me to try new things and isn't afraid of my evil eye when he tells me he doesn't like something I've made. This is occasionally annoying, but good for all of you since it means I have to work even harder to create recipes that your average non-gluten-free person will like. Of course, there will always be recipes that I'll love and post even if he doesn't like them. After all, I'm an artist right? I can't be a slave to the masses! (Um... Iris, get ahold of yourself here.) And for the most part, The Daily Dietribe will still just be me, dancing around in my kitchen and baking to my heart's content. But don't be surprised if there's mention of someone new helping me out here and there.

Perhaps we shall just call him: the assistant.

Did I mention that the assistant has been gluten and dairy free for the last three days? Are you wondering how long that will last? So am I... (I'm hoping it sticks!)

So without further ado (because there's been a lot of ado here already), I give you Baked Fruit Pockets. They look like pop tarts, but I won't call them that because the assistant nixed the idea. They also don't taste like pop tarts, as they have a much heartier (and dare I say, healthier) flavor. They would, however, be a perfect pop tart substitute if you're looking for a sweet breakfast. This recipe makes eight fruit pockets, and while I haven't experimented with freezing the leftovers yet, I'm guessing you could freeze them and then grab one and toast/microwave it for a quick breakfast. Or take your time and enjoy it for an afternoon snack with tea.

I also have to be completely honest here and say that I think these would be amazing made with melted butter or melted coconut oil rather than extra light olive oil. I made them with oil because I'm not doing dairy right now and coconut oil is a tad expensive to be using all the time. But now that I've got the recipe down, I'll probably try these with coconut oil the next time I make them. In the meantime, if you make any adaptations to these, be sure to come back and let us know what you did and how they turned out! If I had all the time and money in the world, I would test my recipes with a number of variations because I love for you to be able to make them no matter what your dietary restrictions are. As it stands, I've made these egg-free and sugar-free, and I've included variations in the instructions.

Happy baking!

Baked Fruit Pockets
Print-Friendly Option


2 1/2 cups blanched almond flour (275 grams)
1 cup brown rice flour (130 grams)
1/3 cup tapioca starch (40 grams)
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup extra light olive oil (subs: grapeseed oil, melted butter or melted coconut oil)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups chopped fruit or berries (cherries and raspberries both work great)
3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt
(optional) 1-2 tablespoons honey or 10 drops liquid stevia

1 tablespoon unsweetened milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Start by making the filling. In a medium saucepan, bring the fruit, water, and salt (and honey or stevia if using) to a gentle simmer on medium heat. Let reduce until thickened (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Once done, set aside to cool. 
  3. While the fruit is reducing, whisk together the almond flour, rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. 
  4. In a smaller bowl, whisk the egg, applesauce, olive oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. *
  5. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until well combined. 
  6. Form dough into a ball with your hands. Place the dough in between two large pieces of wax paper. Roll the dough out until it’s about ¼ inch thick. Cut rectangles about 3 x 7 inches. Place a large spoonful of the fruit filling on one end of the rectangle. Fold the other side of the dough over it and pinch the sides closed with your fingers so it makes a square pocket. (Don't feel you have to be too precise with the sizes here. You can make them exact, give them a more rustic appearance, or even play around with making different shapes like the assistant did. A fun baking project with the kids, perhaps?)
  7. Place each square on a greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. At 20 minutes, take the baking sheet out and brush the pockets with the maple syrup/milk wash. Place back in the oven for 2 minutes. Take out and put on a cooling rack. Let cool before eating.
Makes approximately 8 pockets. 

* To make these egg-free: In step 4, pour 3 tablespoons of boiling water over 1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal. Let sit for a minute, then add the rest of the wet ingredients and continue with the recipe.

** To make these with stevia, leave out the maple syrup, add 1 1/2 teaspoons of liquid stevia to the wet ingredients, and increase the olive oil from 1/3 cup to 1/2 cup. Add stevia to the filling as noted in the ingredients instead of maple syrup. Skip the maple syrup wash or simply do a milk wash.
Roll the dough and cut out rectangles. Put a large spoonful of fruit puree on one side.
Fold over your squares and pinch the ends closed. Pretty, aren't they?
Ask the kids to make fun shapes. Be aware baking time will differ...

Let cool, then gobble up. Or let go and give them away.


Tasty Eats At Home said...

These look delightful. The "crust" looks nice and brown and slightly crisp on the outside, but pillowy as well. Yum.

Ricki said...

These look amazing, Iris! I may just try them with coconut oil, as you say. And wow, wishing I had an "assistant" over here! ;)

Heather said...

Those do look good! :)

Maggie said...

I would like a baked fruit pocket please! What a yummy idea! I love it when you write heartfelt posts like this one. xo

Gracie said...


Kay said...

Iris, I'm so going to stuff them with some savory filling... and pretend its a samosa and eat it!!

Thank you sooooo much for the recipe. I love you!

Iris said...

Love you too, Kay! :)

Anonymous said...

Eggs are not vegan, is there any way to make these without the egg?

Iris said...

Anonymous, they can definitely be made egg-free (that's why I said vegan optional). Look at the bottom of the recipe, under the serving size, and it has instructions for the egg-free version. Hope you enjoy it if you try it!

Anonymous said...

Can these be made with gf all-purpose flour? That's the kind I have on hand.

Iris said...

Anonymous- No, almond flour is very different from the grain flours used in all-purpose gf mixes. I would recommend looking for a recipe online that uses grain based flours like rice, garbanzo, quinoa, sorghum, etc. That's easier to switch with an ap mix.

siewlingchaw said...

can i use whole wheat flour to sub almond flour, rice flour, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, and salt if i'm not into a gluten free diet ? :)

Iris said...

Sieqlingchaw- I really don't know. I only bake gluten free, so I don't even remember how regular flour with wheat works. I would google a pop tart recipe using regular flour. I'm sure there have to be a bunch out there!


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