Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Panforte-the other fruitcake.

This is a fabulous mixture of chocolate, fruit, honey and nuts. This recipe is adapted from one in Martha Stewart Living, December 2000. Its ready to eat off the bat, and also contains no added fat (apart from what already is in the chocolate and nuts). You can increase the amount of nuts and fruit with no problem.

4 oz hazelnuts
3 oz dried cherries (I used the tart Montmorency, from Trader Joes)
2 tbsp spiced rum (original recipe called for brandy, which I don't have...I haven't figured out the intricacies of gluten-free drinking yet--all I know is NO BEER)
4 oz semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 cup amaranth flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2/3 cup of honey
2/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350, toast nuts and remove the skins. Reduce the heat to 300, grease a 9 inch springform pan, and 'flour' with cocoa powder.

Place nuts, cherries, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl and add rum. Leave to soak. Mix flours and cinnamon in another small bowl.

Combine honey and sugar in saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for about two to three minutes. Pour heated syrup over the fruit-nut mixture, stir until the chocolates are melted. Add flour mixture.

Put the goop in the springform pan, and bake for about 30 minutes, remove from oven and let cool. I've found it slices better when still slightly warm.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Mini-mincemeat tartlets...

After having gone to a British School for a number of years, I associate mincemeat with Christmas. Before going gluten-free, I had found a wonderful recipe in Bon Appetit, 1998 for little mincemeat tarts. I had been quite a baker in those days, mailing family members boxes of Christmas goodies...

And so, today, in honor of Christmas past, present, and future, I give you my variation on a stalwart British tradition:

1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup potato flour
1/2 cup rice flour
1/4 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup cornmeal (can substitute quinoa flour or cornstarch)
6 tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp grated, fresh orange peel (or to taste)
scant 1/4 tsp salt
1/2 stick butter
1/2 pkg cream cheese
1 egg yolk
orange juice (prob will not need it)

Blend all flour ingredients, add orange peel, then fats, finally egg yolk. Add OJ if mixture isn't clumping. Chill dough for 1/2 hour.

Mincemeat filling:
3/4 cup mincemeat
3 tbsp minced crystallised ginger
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tsp grated orange peel (or to taste)

Mix together all mincemeat ingredients.

Butter a mini-muffin tin. Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin cups with dough (can roll out and cut out circles, or roll into little balls and press into the sides to form a little cup) Fill cups with approx 1 tsp of mincemeat each. Bake for approx 10 minutes.

Edit: The dough does not roll out well. The pic shows both 'thumbprint' type: which didn't hold together well on the sides, and the little 'muffin' tin ones, which held up better. They need to cool before you can take them out, as the dough is very tender. We ended up pinching out a cup and placing it in the mini-muffin tin, which worked best.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A fabulous new cookbook! (Not gluten-free)

I'm reading a wonderful cookbook, which I discovered by accident, called Demolition Desserts. Its most emphatically not a gluten-free cookbook, but it has some wonderful ideas and recipes, a lot of which have very gluten-free components which can be easily adapted to new recipes.

I am quite impressed. She does do a lot of meringue, but she also makes some fabulous sorbets, puddings, fruit-based things.

A couple of complete gluten-free desserts she makes:

Cocoshok: a cool dessert with the flavors of German Chocolate Cake
Black on Black: chocolate, cherries, licorice icecream
Upside-Down Pineapple Parfait: pineapple, vanilla mochi cake (rice flour!), cocnut, gelato.
Concord Express..

Some that would be easily changed to g-f, either by subbing gf ingredients or products:

Warm Chocolate Cake Crottin uses breadcrumbs, just sub gf breadcrumbs.
S'More A Palooza uses crushed graham crackers, either leave out or use crushed gf gingersnaps, leave out the malt for the chocolate sauce.
Waking Up in a City That Never Sleeps uses 'graham cracker powder'. Easily left off or substituted.

I'm not going through the whole list, but suffice it to say, I think I'm buying this cookbook. Not only does she have fabulous titles, and fabulous desserts, a surprising number of which are gluten-free, she also goes through a nice description of various ingredients and how they work, including agar-agar and Xanthan Gum...

Most of the dessert combinations can be made gluten-free by leaving out a component, but its just wonderful that there are gluten-free combinations that she makes, including a gluten-free cake! And she has a good Resources list.