This year my son chose a pumpkin cake for his birthday. Instead of the typical blood-sugar-through-the-roof-frosting, I chose an organic no-sugar-added apple butter. Pumpkins and apples are a natural combination. I developed the recipe based on the fact that I was going to use the apple butter. As such, the cake by itself is not terribly sweet. Topped with the apple butter though, it’s the perfect touch of sweetness. It’s moist and fluffy — uncommon for a gluten free cake.
For the dry ingredients:
14 ounces gluten free flour mix
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
For the wet ingredients:
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tsp gluten free vanilla
2 cups organic pumpkin (I used canned)
1 cup almond milk or hemp milk
- Preheat oven to 325 for at least 15 minutes. Oil two 8″ or 9″ round pans.
- Sift the dry ingredients. Set aside.
- On low speed, place agave and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat, adding one egg at a time – until the color lightens.
- Add vanilla and pumpkin until well combined.
- Alternating, add flour and milk a little bit at a time – mixing well between each addition. Halve the batter between the 2 oiled pans. Smooth out the top with a spatula.
- Bake for 35 minutes on a rack placed in the middle of the oven.
Yesterday, I was at the market. Pears were everywhere. Which means: fall has officially arrived!!! I bought four 3-pound bags. I couldn’t help myself. I thought I would continue on my preserving streak. That is, if the pears even make it into the freezer before we eat them all. This morning, I thought it would be really fun for the kids and me to hunker down and make something quintessential autumn: pears and apple together in a tart. Because gluten free tart crusts can be quite temperamental, I decided to draw on my time living in France and make a cross between a standard tart and a clafoutis (pronounce clah-foo-TEA). Clafoutis has a custard-like tendency. But, if you make it using less liquid and eggs, it resembles a tart. They are wonderful. And they can handle the juiciness of these two fall fruits. After this came out of the oven (and I tasted it), I decided that this dessert will hold a special place at Thanksgiving this year…with vanilla ice cream, of course….
For the fruit mixture:
4 small pears, sliced thinly
2 medium apples, sliced thinly
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tblsp honey
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tblsp gluten free flour (all-purpose flour blend)
For the tart mixture:
4 ounces (just over 2/3 cup packed) ground almonds
3 ounces white rice flour (need help measuring? Go here).
3 ounces sweet rice flour
1/3 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup non-dairy milk
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Peel pears and apples and slice thinly. Toss in a bowl with honey, spices and flour. Set aside and let flavors meld while you’re preparing the tart mixture.
- In the bowl of a food processor, grind almonds to a fine powder. Be careful not to grind too much or you end up with almond butter! Remove and set aside.
- Place eggs, milk, agave in the food processor bowl and pulse two times to combine. Add almonds and flours and pulse a few times more. The batter is a liquid – but it is on the thicker side. Transfer to a baking dish. (I used a piece of stoneware that had a lid). Layer apple pear mixture over the batter. Using a knife, gently swirl the apples and pears into the batter (just so some pieces of fruit show through in the finished product).
- Bake 60 minutes covered. Remove lid. Bake an additional 10 minutes (so that the top browns). If you are using something without a lid – you may need to cover the tart with some foil to prevent too much browning on the top…
I have battled for quite some time to come up with a really good gluten free, dairy free scone. Let me just say, my success rate has been about 1 percent. This morning, I decided to put my frustration aside and give it another shot. And, boy, am I glad I did. Victory. Finally! In gluten free baking, I think it’s really important to measure flour in ounces – which I have done here. Starches are notorious for being untrue-to-measure. If you choose not to use these cherries (which are high in both vitamin A and folic acid), you can opt for raisins, dates, nuts or some other kind of dried fruit. Just be careful to choose something 1.) unsulphured and 2.) unsweetened or fruit juice sweetened. In a perfect world, I’d choose to make these with brown rice flour because of its higher nutrition and fiber value – but I’ve found that it is much too crumbly for scones. So, I’ve added in some flax seed meal to get us back on track. Side note: a kitchen scale is one of the best tools in gluten free baking. For some help with measuring equivalents: see the “dry measure equivalents” chart here.
10 oz white rice flour
2 oz tapioca flour
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp xanthan or guar gum
1/2 tsp salt
4 tblsp coconut sugar
2 tblsp golden flax seed meal
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/2 cup dried unsweetened tart cherries
2/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (if the dough is too dry you can add another 1-2 tblsp)
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with the applesauce. Set aside.
- Place the rice flour, tapioca, baking powder, gum, salt, sugar and flax in a large bowl. Stir to mix well.
- Add coconut butter, rubbing it into the flour mixture for several minutes until it begins to become a bit coarse. Add in the dried fruit so that it’s coated in flour.
- Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Place the mixture on some Silpat or a nonstick surface and, using your hands, knead the dough to so that it is well combined. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough into a 1 inch thick round. Using a cookie cutter of your choice, cut the scones and place them on a cookie sheet lined with unbleached parchment (or a rice flour dusted cookie sheet).
- Before baking, brush the tops of the scones with non-dairy milk or a slightly beaten egg.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
Makes 10 large scones or about 18 small ones.
1 cup brown rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup potato starch (NOT potato flour)
1/3 cup tapioca starch
Measure very carefully – using a spoon to transfer it to a measuring cup. Starches are notorious for not measuring accurately. This is where a kitchen scale comes in extremely handly. Sift, sift, sift. Then whisk a few times to ensure it is properly mixed. I don’t usually add xanthan or guar gum to my dry mix. Why? Because some recipes require more, some require less, and some recipes don’t require any at all. So, I add the gum after and sift it in along with the flour and salt. This recipe is great for sweet/tea bread, muffins and cakes like carrot cake. Sorghum adds a big protein kick to this all-purpose flour mixture.
Blueberries are everywhere right now. I love that about summer. I haven’t really made muffins since the cooler months (when I usually pair them with soups). But, today I thought I would try and bake up some muffins for a little afternoon snack out at the picnic table. I like mine loaded up with berries so I put a whole cup and a half in there. If you don’t like as many simply cut it down to one cup. In my opinion, these are even better the next day…
3 tblsp coconut oil or canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tblsp honey
2/3 cup non-dairy milk
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups GF flour minus 2 tblsp
2 tblsp flax seed meal
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups blueberries
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Mix egg, oil, agave and honey until well mixed and lighter in color. Add milk and lemon juice. Mix well.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, flax seed meal, baking powder, xanthan gum, cinnamon and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ones. Stir with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated.
- Add blueberries just until mixed – stirring gently – being careful not to pop the blueberries.
- Bake 25-28 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.