Tuesday, January 16, 2018


B E A U T Y   B I T E S  | F I G G Y  P O P - T A R T S
A grown-up version of pop-tarts inspired by my Mediterranean roots that are grain- & refined sugar-free. . . 

This is an appropriate Iggy Pop rendition of my face after trying these Figgy Pop-tarts. Despite or perhaps precisely because of being a transplant from Turkey to the U.S. at the age of 10, I didn't grow up eating pop-tarts. 

Our move to the U.S. came through a turmoil that pushed my mum to have to send the 10-year-old me and my then 8-year-old sister on a plane to the U.S. alone, on a night's notice. We stayed with my uncle and my now aunt, and my mum arrived half a year later. Months were spent making art projects for her and fiddling with phone cords for when we could hear her voice, as FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp, or any other remote technology beyond collect international calls did not exist then. I heard her voice maybe once a month for a few minutes. 

My tongue missing my mother's meals licked tears.

 She fed us well, always cooking for us despite having maids and nannies. Cooking and feeding her children was the privilege she would not have given to the hands of another. She did this until our move, even when government officers that eventually led to divorce came knocking on our door. My mother would welcome us back from school with a smile as sunny as the orange juice she had freshly squeezed with toast every single day

So, having grown up without pop-parts wasn't particularly a culinary amiss in my life. But perhaps, it was an experiential one in the cafeteria of my school, where my eyes would occasionally gloss over like those of said Iggy Pop's as I spied pop-tarts in nubby little hands.

This is my nod to my pop-tartless life with an adultified version with Turkish flavours of dried figs, spices, and walnuts married with the caramel notes of ghee. Enjoy!

Paleo, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Refined sugar-free

For the pastry dough*
170 g (1.5 cups + 3 tablespoons) blanched almond flour
37 g (1/4 cup) cassava flour
14 g (2 tablespoons) coconut flour
1/2 tablespoon ground psyllium husk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 egg, preferably pasture-raised
60 g or 5 tablespoons Fourth & Heart ghee, I used the vanilla bean one

For the filling
120 g (4 oz.) of dried fig or date paste, available in Middle Eastern markets
1/4 cup crushed raw walnuts
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed orange juice
1/4 cup peeled roasted chestnuts, optional but provides density
1/2 teaspoon Allspice

For the frosting
1/4 cup of the filling
2 tablespoons of almond milk
1 teaspoon of arrowroot flour/tapioca starch
1 tablespoon coconut sugar

Yield: 6 Servings
*Please follow grams if you can as flour substitutes are finicky and measuring by the gram will provide more accuracy

1. Start with the pastry dough by combining the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl with a whisk
2. Add the ghee and mix well with a spoon
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg then add to the mixing bowl to combine well
4. Using your hands, roll the mixture into a dough then refrigerate for half an hour to chill

1. As the dough is chilling, prepare the filling by heating the ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat as your stir
2. The mixture should be soft yet chunky
3. Set the filling aside and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

Pop-tart Assembly
1. Take the dough out of the refrigerator to place between two sheets of parchment paper
2. With a rolling pin, roll the dough out to about 1/4 inch thick sheet
3. Cut a large rectangle into thirds vertically then in half horizontally to create six rectangles
4. Set extra dough aside, as you'll roll it out to make another three later
5. Place a large spoon's worth of filling into the top three rectangles then flip the bottom ones over the top pastries carefully by holding the sides of the parchment paper
6. Gently peel the parchment paper away and using a fork, gently press the sides onto each other, as pictures above
7. Repeat the steps with the leftover dough, making sure you set aside 1/4 cup of the filling to make frosting
8. At this point, you can beat an egg yolk to make an egg wash over the pop-tarts to brown them but it's optional
9. Place the pop-tarts in the oven for 10-15 minutes, until they turn golden brown.
10. Place on a cooling rack and serve warm!

1. To make the frosting, simply heat the ingredients up in a saucepan (I use the same one I used for the filling) and mix until semi-liquid. Add additional liquid if necessary.

Fourth & Heart is a sponsor of The Thirlby. All content, ideas, and words are my own. It is thanks to generous sponsors such as Fourth & Heart that we can bring this special content like this to you.