Category Archives: dessert

rustic pear apple tart

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
2 eggs
1/3 cup agave nectar
3/4 cup non-dairy milk

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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…

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amazing buckwheat cookies

Lately, I have been a little discouraged about the lack of decent gluten free/dairy free cookies on the market. I’ve tried most (if not all) at this point. Besides the trusty Arico lemon ginger cookies that I love and treat myself to every once in a while – it has remained a sad void. Not that I am a cookie hound. But, every so often a little bite size cookie satisfies.  After a little experimenting with a recently-posted-recipe from Heidi Swanson’s blog, I have to say my disappointment is no more. These are amazing….so healthy and wholesome. They also have a fantastic texture. It doesn’t hurt that they are gluten free, dairy free, soy free, sugar free, egg free and flour free. They can be “oatmeal” raisin or “oatmeal” chocolate chip – depending what kind of mood strikes you. Side note: I chose to use Buckwheat here because I am allergic to quinoa. But, I am certain quinoa flakes would work equally well. Likewise, if you tolerate certified gluten free oats – even better!

3 medium ripe bananas, well mashed with a fork
1 tsp gluten free vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut oil, liquefied or slightly melted
1 tblsp honey
1 cup uncooked Cream of Buckwheat cereal
2/3 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch kosher salt
1 heaping tsp baking powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup Enjoy Life chocolate chips, organic raisins, or Dagoba 59% cacao dark chocolate bar chopped (this particular chocolate bar IS gluten free).

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for at least 15 minutes, racks in the top third of the oven.
  2. In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla, coconut oil, honey and cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl whisk together the buckwheat, almonds, shredded coconut, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mash with a fork until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips or raisins. Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the buckwheat to soften.
  4. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 tablespoons in size onto an unbleached parchment paper (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-17 minutes. Be sure to check the bottom doesn’t burn – it should be slightly browned when you lift up the cookie with a spatula. We’re over 5,000 feet in altitude here in Colorado – and it took exactly 17 minutes in my oven…but things always take longer to bake/cook at altitude.

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melon sorbet

Melon, cantaloupe, honeydew  – this fruit goes by many names. Despite it’s various namesakes, it remains one of the most quickly digested foods. Hence, it is recommended that melon be eaten by itself. Otherwise, it has a tendency to ferment in the stomach with the foods it is consumed with. We’re now in the dog days of summer. I had some slightly overripe melon on my counter. And it seemed to me that it would be quite refreshing to cool off with some melon sorbet sitting in the shade of the back patio. I admit that I was slightly skeptical going into it…because I’ve never made sorbet before. But, I have to say that I am quite pleased with the outcome. It’s absolutely delicious and refreshing!

1 organic cantaloupe
1 1/2 tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
2 tblsp honey
2 small mint leaves

  1. Remove rind from melon. Discard. Cut mleon into large chunks. Place in blender with lemon juice. Puree. At this point you should have approximately 1 3/4 cups of melon puree (give or take 1/4 cup).
  2. Add mint leaves and honey. Blend again.
  3. Pour into ice cream maker. (I have a Cuisinart). Let it run about 25 minutes. Transfer to glass container and freeze for at least a few hours before serving.

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gluten free ice cream cones

My sister called me this morning to tell me that the Vitamin Cottage down the street (we live in Colorado) started carrying gluten free ice cream cones. I was actually headed down there anyway, so I picked up a box. My 2 little ones saw the magic box (which was so cleverly marketed towards them) and proceeded to argue about who got to carry the box in his or her mini shopping cart. When we arrived home, we whipped up a batch of vanilla ice cream (by my son’s request) and had a special treat all lined up for dessert.  They look and taste just like the cones of my childhood. I have no idea how they did it – but they are awesome.  There was so much joy on my children’s faces – it was the first time they had ever actually eaten an ice cream cone. It was dripping down their elbows…the whole nine yards…it was fantastic. Side note: They must be new to market because I did not succeed in finding a link for the cones either by name or by distributor.  As such, I’ve included a photo of the box.

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strawberry creamsicles

Today is going to be ninety something degrees. It’s only 9am and my children are already asking for popsicles. It’s really fun eating them but it’s just as much fun to make them. So, we broke out the popsicle molds.  We tried a new recipe using fresh strawberries I just picked up at the market. I used some coconut water  – which is naturally so good for you. It’s super hydrating (in this heat!) and it’s full of electrolytes – calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. Not that you needed an excuse to try these popsicles!  Side note: Try replacing sugary sports drinks with coconut water – it’s fantastic. 

1 1/2 cups roughly chopped organic strawberries
3 tblsp coconut water
3 tblsp coconut milk (I prefer Whole Foods organic “365 brand”)
3 tblsp agave nectar

  1. Coarsely chop strawberries and put in the blender with coconut milk, coconut water and agave nectar. Pulse for only about 10 seconds – so it’s still quite chunky. 
  2. Evenly divide fruit mixture between popsicle molds. Let freeze (upright) for about 4 hours. To loosen them, simply run the mold under a bit of warm water.

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banana Bread

As a child, I remember coming home from school to a house that smelled amazing. My mother was always baking something. Usually homemade bread. It didn’t matter what kind it was. To me, it was like my very own special welcome home surprise – every day. My friends used to make excuses to come over – her baking is THAT good.   When I got to college, every so often a package would arrive with delicious banana bread inside. I was the envy of the dorm. A slice of home never tasted so good!

1/3 liquified cup coconut oil
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed (about 1 3/4 cups) 
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups GF flour

  1. Preheat over to 325 degrees.
  2. Cream together oil, agave nectar and eggs. When light and fluffy, add the bananas, cinnamon,  cloves and guar gum. Blend until bananas are incorporated.
  3. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and xanthan gum. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients until smooth. Let sit 10 minutes.
  4. Pour into loaf pan that has been oiled and lined with parchment paper.
  5. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out of center clean.
  6. Let cool in pan for a few minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
  7. Try not to slice until completely cooled.  Keep refrigerated. For best taste, slice right out of the fridge.

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vanilla Ice Cream

One afternoon, my sister called me raving about this new GF and dairy free ice cream on the market, called Sid Wiggy’s.  So, the next time I was at the store I bought some. It is divine.  We didn’t have a hard time polishing it off.  Instead of buying it by the case, I decided to try and make my own…

1 15 oz can organic coconut milk
milk or water
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 tblsp GF vanilla

  1. Place coconut milk in measuring cup. Pour in enough water or nut milk to make liquid total 2 cups.
  2. Pour all ingredients into blender and puree.
  3. Transfer liquid ingredients into chilled bowl of ice cream maker (I have a Cuisinart). Turn button on.
  4. Let process in ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to freezer-proof glass dish and freeze.

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