Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Gluten-free Goodness

Although neither Toby or I have been labeled as Celiac, I still try to do a lot of gluten-free baking and buy gluten free products for the variety. Toby has sometimes displayed extreme moodiness after having something with wheat it in. Still not sure if it's a coincidence or food related, but I've kept it cut back just for now to be sure.

Most times the reactions I get from people when I say what kind of 'diet' we're on is "Oh wow that must really suck".

Well why does it have to?? Gluten-free can be utterly delicious.

Ok, yes, if you take a bite form a gluten free pizza and then a bite from a 'normal' one, inevitably you're going to like the regular pizza better. But when you've eaten the stuff at the not-so-good end of the gluten-free spectrum you can truly appreciate the AMAZING stuff that they're coming out with.

-For one thing: Glutino.
Best. Brand. Ever.
Gluten-free pretzels. Honestly, better than regular pretzels.

And they have cookies that are better than 'real' cookies. Om nom nom

-Bob's Red Mill flours and mixes.

This is the brand of rice flour I get. Also was just turned on to the brownie mix. So freakin delicious. Tried their pizza dough mix and it was ok, but not fabulous. Still looking for a 'fluffy' GF pizza dough recipe..

-O'Dough's breads.

Closest thing to 'real' tasting bread I've found. Although there is a 'may contain traces of egg' clause and it gave Toby a rash... so no more fabulousness for me..

I've created a really good banana muffin recipe and have an amazing fruit cocktail cake recipe. It IS possible for things to taste good when gluten free.

People have been asking for my pie crust recipe. As far as I can tell, any kind of pastry is one of the hardest gluten free things to mimic because it just ends up being really crumbly.

The pie crust recipe I use is from a regular recipe, (The Canadian Living Cookbook, pg 226) I just substituted.

Double Crust pie steps
1. Prepare pastry for double-crust, 9-inch pie.
2. Prepare filling: In large bowl combine fruit, sugar and thickener, spices or other flavourings.
3. Line greased pie plate with pastry
4. Fill with fruit mixture
5. Cover with top crust
6. Back in 425F for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350F for 35-40 minutes more, until fruit is tender, juice in thickened and crust golden brown.

Basic Pie Crust (recipe makes two single shell pie crusts or one double-crust pie.)

2 1/4 cups pastry flour (I used rice flour)
1 tsp salt
(1 tsp xanthan gum, if gluten free)
3/4 cup shortening (I used lactose-free margerine)
4-6 Tbsp cold water

-In mixing bowl, combine flour and salt (and xanthan gum). Cut in shortening with pastry blender or rub in with fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger pieces. The fine crumbs produce tenderness, the larger produce flakiness.
(not sure if that last part really applies for gluten-free, but you get the idea)
-Stirring briskly with fork, gradually add just enough water, 1 Tbsp at a time, to make dough hold together. (I usually end up with 4 Tbsp i think) Press into ball. Cut in two, flatten each into a disc.
(This is where it get tricky if gluten-free. There will inevitably be crumbs, but hopefully the xanthan gum and water can combine enough to not make it fall apart completely. Just handle with care and try to keep it contained)
-Roll out between two pieces of wax paper to prevent sticking and cracking.
- Remove top layer of wax paper and carefully 'flip' crust into pie plate. (Maybe there's a more glamorous way of doing this, but it works... sometimes) Repeat for top crust.

Fruit/Sugar/Thickener ratios
Apple - 5 cups, peeled and sliced/1/2 to 1 cup sugar plus 1/2 tsp cinnamon/ none
Blueberry - 4 cups/ 3/4 cup/ 6 Tbsp flour or 3Tbsp cornstarch
Peach - 5 cups, peeled and sliced/ 3/4 cup/ 4 Tbsp flour or 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Raspberry - 4 cups/ 1 cup/ 4 Tbsp flour or 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Rhubarb - 4 cups, cut in 1/2" pieces/ 1 1/2 cups/ 6 Tbsp flour or 3 Tbsp cornstarch
Cherry - 4 cups, pitted/ 1 cup/ 4 Tbsp flour or 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Strawberry - 4 cups, halved/ 3/4 cup/ 4 Tbsp flour or 2 Tbsp cornstarch
Strawberry-Rhubarb - 3 cups strawberries plus 2 cups chopped rhubarb/ 1 1/2 cups/ 6 Tbsp flour or 3 Tbsp cornstarch

--If you are using frozen fruit instead of fresh, thaw just enough to separate, then proceed exactly as with the fresh fruit, but increase thickener. Generally frozen fruit requires twice as much thickener as fresh fruit because it produces more juice.

(For thickeners, flour will produce 'cloudy' juice and cornstarch will produce 'clear' juice. Rice flour tends to stay 'gritty' and doesn't fully dissolve, so I use cornstarch, but the pie needs to cook about 20 minutes longer to allow the cornstarch to cook fully)

Gluten-Free crumble topping
(This is my mom's creation since she loves apple crisp but can't have oats or flour)

1 cup GF flour
1/4 cup flax meal
1/2 cup brown sugar
'Some margerine' (about 2 Tbsp... )
'Drizzle' of honey.... about a Tbsp or less.

-Combine flour, flax meal and sugar in medium sized bowl
- Mix in margerine with a fork using brisk movements. Should resemble coarse meal.
- Drizzle in honey and continue to mix with fork until all flour is mixed in and starts to resemble coarser meal with little balls.

-Spread on top of whatever fruity thing you're making, be it pie or crisp. Should be golden brown when done, but tends to burn if left too long... on pies that need to bake longer either wait until fruit is half cooked before spreading on, or cover with tin foil when top looks golden.

1 comment:

  1. I just found out I am a celiac, I had never even heard of it before. great recipes!