My sister was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and forced to immediately get on the gluten-free diet. Just like that. Gone were the days of bread baskets at restaurants. One of our favorite past times when she was living in Paris. Up until a few years ago, the gluten free diet seemed like a death sentence to someone who loved bread. Not just on your lifestyle but your wallet too. Oh, but how times have changed. Well the price tag not so much, but the variety is bountiful and one on the gluten free diet can enjoy, well… just about everything anyone not on the diet can.
Pizza’s, pasta’s, bread, cookies, ice cream, crackers, soups, chips…the list goes on.
There are thousands of resources for the gluten free gal or guy. Thanks to websites like http://glutenfreegirl.com/, news publications like the New York Times featuring a gluten free recipe section: http://tiny.cc/otxow , retailers like Whole Foods and Pusateri’s carrying aisles of gluten-free products and gluten-free only baked good stores like Bunners http://www.bunners.ca/shop/; no one will go hungry and will still be able to get their ‘gluten like’ fix.
This past weekend some of our relatives came into town for a BBQ at my brothers. Knowing my brother, he made a feast that more than twenty could eat at. But I’m the same way, so no judging. Anyways, I know how much my sister appreciates something sweet now and then and I wanted to make sure she was included in the dessert fun.
I had recently been inspired by all of the rhubarb I was seeing at local markets. Spring is filled with such colorful fresh produce, so I really didn’t have a lack of options to choose from. After some blog hopping I decided to make a crumble. It’s one of those desserts which suite all seasons. Comforting and warm in the winter, refreshing and packed full of vibrant fruit flavors in the spring. Also, I heard there were many different gluten-free crumble toppings I could work with.
What I came up with: Gluten-Free Pear, Rhubarb, Raspberry and Candied Ginger Crumble.
The sweetness of the pear was balanced by the tartness of the rhubarb and raspberry. The candied ginger added a layer of spiciness to you know…spice it up.
Two Stalks of Rhubarb (chopped and boiled down with sugar)
Two cups of Raspberries
½ cup of candied ginger (chopped)
2 tsp of cinnamon
2 tbsp of dark brown sugar
juice of one whole lemon
1 tsp of zest
dash of salt
1 ½ cups of wheat free oats
1 cup of gluten free flour or pancake mix
6 tbsp of cold butter
2 tbsp of brown sugar
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of ginger
Optional (chopped nuts of choice)
Pre heat oven to 375. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a food processor with a steel blade. Pulse ten times. Peel and slice pears thinly, mix chopped cooked rhubarb, raspberries and chopped candied ginger. While slicing the pears, keep squeezing lemon juice on to the fruit so it doesn’t go brown. Mix in dry ingredients and zest. Mix together lightly being careful to not break the fruit. You can get really fancy and layer your pears on the bottom, raspberry and rhubarb in the middle and another layer of pear on top. I decided to keep it simple and just pour the whole mixture into a large pie dish. Cut the cold butter into the dry crumble until clumps form. Mix with hands to make sure all butter is combined and pour on top of fruit until completely covered. Place in oven and bake for 40 minutes.
The Turn Out?
The flavors, amazing. Everyone at the party had at least one helping. Most importantly, my sister really enjoyed it. The only issue I faced was liquid pooling in the bottom. After some googling I came to learn that the small pool forming at the bottom of my pie dish was due to not cooking down the rhubarb. That fruit is packed full of liquid, which I read is a great mix for cocktails.
I had so much fun making this dish and can’t wait to explore/create the next gluten-free recipe. Love you sister. xoxo
I’d like to start off by wishing y’all a Happy Belated Apple Pie Day. I’m a new comer to the pie world, so I hope all of you pie aficionado’s out there can forgive me for my tardiness; perhaps after I tell you about the pie I made this weekend…
Let’s back up. Another Saturday morning. Woke up early and did my morning stumble on tumblr. I came upon a post about National Apple Pie, and got an aching in my core for some warm apple pie. I had a dinner party that night and I promised dessert. How perfect! I mean I’ve never made an apple pie before, but with a little focus, a dash of passion and a serving of obsessive compulsiveness, I knew I could swing it. After two hours of googling recipes, I finally decided on what I would make: Cheddar Apple Pie.
Every blog started with “I know it’s a weird combo”, but it instantly made sense. I’m a big lover of sweet and savory. Ever had maple syrup and cheddar cheese?…Amazing. If you haven’t tried it, make it your next guilty indulgence, but be careful not to eat the whole block. Cheddar with Apple Pie is actually loved by all New Englanders. No kidding…some of the best cheddar cheeses (besides Ontario and Quebec) hail from there. My mom also had cheddar with apple pie. Growing up in a bustling house with an ever more bustling mother who loved to cook, she got to experience good home cooking. She told me my Bubbie would often have slices of cheese beside the apple cake. If my bubbie was doing it, I know this was legit and not much could go wrong…well only if ‘clutsy me’ took over.
For the recipe, I used the epicurious as my starting point and borrowed from other websites, while adding my own personal touches.
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chilled solid vegetable shortening, cut into pieces
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
6 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese, coarsely shredded
2/3 cup (about) ice water
3 pounds Ida Red apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
1 whole fresh lemon juiced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tbsp - cinnamon sugar mixture
1 tbsp of wild honey (or any honey)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 egg, beaten to blend with 1 tablespoon water (for glaze)
Cut shortening and butter into small cubes and chill. Needs to be very cold to get flaky crust. Blend flour and salt in processor. Add shortening and butter and cut in using several on/off turns. Add cheese and cut in until shortening and butter resemble small peas. With machine running, gradually blend in enough very cold water until soft moist clumps form. Once it comes together. Gather dough into ball; hand kneed for a couple turns, make into a round ball and flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Peel and core apples. Give them a honey bath in cold water. Cut into very thin slices. Thank you to my Shun knife for being so glorious! Mix apples, brown sugar, 1/3 cup sugar, flour, lemon juice, cin/sugar mixture and spices in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes at room temperature.
Getting Ready for Take-Off:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 15 minutes.
Hand kneed dough to warm it up and divide into two equal pieces. Roll out dough on floured surface to quarter inch thick into an oval.Cover as much of the bottom as you can. Spoon fruit into pie and fill right to the edge. Place the 3tbsp of butter cut up across the fruit. Roll out other half into an oval, quarter inch thick and about ½ inch larger than pie dish. Crimp the border with your fingers…or buy one of those fancy pie plates. Tuck in dough around edges. Brush lightly with egg wash. Bake pie 15 minutes. Take it out and brush crust with egg glaze again. Top with 2 teaspoons sugar. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pastry until golden, about 35 minutes. Cool on rack 15 minutes.
I was a bit nervous once I put the pie in the oven, since I realized I didn’t pre bake my inner crust. YIKES! After taking a few deep, deep breaths, I was calmed by the memory of my mother telling me that my Bubbie never baked the inner pie shell. That woman could cook with her eyes closed while playing mahjong; I could trust her.
After a sweat induced 45 minutes, my pie was ready and she was a beaut. She was throbbing from the inside out, oozing in sugary apple goodness and swelling from her cheesy core. This pie was begging to be eaten. I brought it down to my neighbors after dinner ended. We all stood in the kitchen as she warmed up in the oven, distracting ourselves with conversation, struggling to keep focus, due to the smells permeating the air. Enough was enough. We took it out of the oven, grabbed six plates, opened the vanilla ice cream and cut six heaping portions of Cheddar Apple Pie. The next thing that happened was R rated and may offend the ears of some conservative pie eaters. Let’s just say there was a whole lot of groaning.
I didn’t leave the pie behind. Our hosts understood. Gave a piece to my mother, to my partners brother and then there were only two. It wasn’t even 24 hours later and the pie dish was completely empty. A few remnants of burnt cheese on the side was all that was left and that was a job only the kitchen sponge could handle. I don’t know if it was luck but this pie was mighty fine. I’m looking forward to my next. Blueberry season is right around the corner.