Monday, April 29, 2013

Gluten Free ... Doesn't Have To Be SCARY!

Gluten Free. Does it taste the same? What is gluten? Will I know its gluten free? All questions that are often asked at bakeries across the country and while there’s no solid answer to each, one thing is certain…there are tasty Gluten Free desserts available. Even ones YOU can create at home.

First things first: What is gluten? Gluten is a protein that is found in food that is derived from wheat and other grains. Gluten acts as glue allowing baked goods to keep their shape, it provides elasticity, adds a soft texture and aids in the rising process.

In recent years Gluten Free bakeries have popped up here and there and boxed baking brands like Betty Crocker have jumped aboard creating boxed gluten free mixes. But if you want to create something from scratch in your own kitchen It does not have to be as difficult as you might think.

One option is a Gluten Free Apple Pie or Pear Tart (the fruit can be changed to your liking however). This is the most simple. Prepare your favorite pie or tart crust except substitute gluten free flour like, Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Baking Flour for the regular flour.

You’ll then fill your prepared crust with whatever fruit or filling you prefer and bake it just as you would with your normal recipe. The result will be a tender, flaky crust just like normal. You don’t even need to tell your family or guests that its gluten free and they probably won’t even notice a difference.

If you’d prefer something a little more decadent try a Flourless Chocolate Torte, it’s a sinfully delicious and rich chocolate cake (recipe below). This torte is perfect on its own with a simple dusting of cocoa powder or powdered sugar. However, once the torte is cooled you can jazz it up with some fresh raspberries, coffee flavored whipped cream or homemade ice cream. Your imagination is the only limitation with this dessert.

Eating a gluten free diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out on dessert. And doesn’t mean you can’t create it yourself. After all dessert that is the most important part of any meal…right?

CRAVE Flourless Chocolate Torte

2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes – plus a little extra for pan
1 pound of dark chocolate (your favorite kind), roughly chopped
1/4 cup of strong coffee
8 large eggs
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
Powdered sugar and fresh raspberries (for garnish if desired)

Using your extra butter grease a springform pan (9-inch) and line the bottom with a round piece of parchment paper. Cover the bottom and outside of pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Set the pan into a roasting pan and begin to boil a saucepan of water.
Using a double boiler, add the dark chocolate, butter, and coffee. Stirring constantly, melt the mixture until it is creamy and smooth. Usually 5-8 minutes. Once melted set aside.
Beat the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until it is foamy/frothy and about doubled its size in volume. Fold ½ of the egg mixture into the chocolate using a rubber spatuala and repeat with the remaining half.
Pour into the greased and lined springform pan and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come about halfway up the sides. Bake until cake has slightly risen and edges have just began to set. 40 to 45 minutes. Remove the torte from roasting pan and cool on cooling rack to room temperature. Once cooled, remove foil and refrigerate overnight.