Christine from New Zealand wrote to say, “I haven’t had a Crumpet for years and wondered if you had a recipe for gluten free crumpets?”
She piqued my interest as I had never had one. So I did a bit of research. Crumpets are made with a rather thin yeast batter and are cooked on a bake stone or griddle in crumpet or English muffin rings. The distinguishing feature of real crumpets is their pliable texture and the characteristic holes into which butter deliciously melts and oozes.
After reading a mainstream formula, I developed this recipe makeover. These crumpets are soft, light in texture and quite tasty. You will not be disappointed. Add your favorite jam or slather with butter. I like both. If you are not able to get one of the all-purpose flour blends I mentioned here, you can use any flour blend you have available.
1 ½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend such as Gluten-Free Pantry All-Purpose Flour or King Arthur Multi-Purpose Flour
½ cup sorghum flour
2 ¼ teaspoons dry active yeast
1 teaspoon of sugar
½ teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon melted butter
TIP: If using a blend that does not contain gum and salt, add 1 teaspoon xanthan gum and ½ teaspoon salt.
1) Combine flours, yeast, sugar, cream of tartar and blend. Add warm milk and water and beat for 3 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for about 20 minutes. The thick batter should double in size.
2) Add baking powder, baking soda and butter and beat for 1 minute or until well mixed. Cover and let stand 10 minutes.
3) Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees. Coat 8 to 10, 3 ½ inch English muffin rings well with vegetable spray. Set on griddle, bake stone or large skillet (see note below).
4) Place enough mixture into the center of each ring to come halfway to the top of the ring. Cook for 4-6 minutes over medium heat, until bubbles appear over the entire surface, and the dough appears ‘dry’.
5) Use tongs to remove the ring. Turn the crumpet over and cook an additional 2 to 4 minutes to brown the top. Remove from the pan and cool on a baking rack. Split and enjoy. Or, if thin enough, do not split before eating.
Notes: Alternatively, make thinner crumpets by filling only one-third of the way up the rings. These do not need to be cooked on the second side. If you don’t have a griddle, heat a heavy cast iron skillet and line it with as many rings as possible. You’ll need to make these in more than one batch.
Happy Holidays! With Thanksgiving just around the corner, wow your guests with this unique and delicious twist on traditional apple pie. The rich sour cream center brightens the apple flavor and the presentation can’t be beat. For those with a dairy allergy replace the sour cream with soy sour cream or coconut yogurt. This can be made egg-free, too.
½ cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup all-purpose flour blend (any brand)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter or dairy-free butter replacement, cut into small pieces
5 McIntosh apples
2/3 cup low-fat sour cream, dairy-free sour cream or coconut yogurt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
½–¾ cup sugar, to taste
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour blend of choice or rice flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
1 Flaky Pie Crust, uncooked (below)
1. To make Streusel Topping, combine all topping ingredients in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Reserve.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Peel and thinly slice apples.
4. In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream and egg and beat well.
5. In another bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Whisk into sour cream mixture. Add apple slices, tossing to coat.
6. Spread mixture over uncooked crust. Sprinkle Streusel Topping over the top.
7. Set pie on a cookie sheet for ease of handling. Place on middle rack in preheated oven and bake 55 to 60 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is brown. If crust browns too quickly, cover edges loosely with foil.
TIP: For an egg-free pie, replace the egg in the filling by adding 3 additional tablespoons sour cream (or dairy-free substitute) in step 4. Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch or potato starch in step 5.
Flaky Pie Crust
Makes One 9-Inch Crust
Unless rolled too thin, this dough is not prone to tearing. If it does, pull it back into place and pat it down.
1½ cups + 2 tablespoons High-Protein Flour Blend (below)
1 tablespoon potato flour (not potato starch)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ teaspoon salt
2-3 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons cold butter or dairy-free butter replacement
4 tablespoons organic shortening
1 large egg or 2 tablespoons additional unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the knife blade, combine dry ingredients. Cut buttery stick and shortening into pieces. Sprinkle over dry ingredients. Pulse several times until pieces are the size of large peas.
2. In a separate bowl, combine egg, vinegar and applesauce. Add to flour mixture and blend just to combine. Carefully gather dough into a ball. (Watch your fingers as steel knife is very sharp.) Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
3. Place the dough between 2 layers of plastic wrap and press it down with heel of hand. Then gently roll it into a 9-inch circle. Start from the middle and roll out uniformly in all directions to form the circle. Rotate the dough in ¼ turns to help even-out crust to about ¼-inch thickness throughout.
4. Carefully peel off the top layer of plastic wrap. Turn the crust into the pan, slowly peeling off the backing. Press the crust into the pan and crimp the edges, trimming off any excess dough.
TIP: To reduce the fat in this pie crust, replace 3 tablespoons butter or shortening with an equal amount of unsweetened applesauce.
High-Protein Flour Blend
Makes 3¼ cups
1 cup amaranth flour
1 cup brown rice flour
¾ cup cornstarch or potato starch (not potato flour)
½ cup tapioca starch/flour
1. Combine ingredients. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.
Short on time? Use a commercial high protein flour blend or add 1 cup of amaranth flour to 2 1/4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend.
A version of this recipe first appeared in Living Without Magazine.
Crêpes were the first recipe I made over after I was diagnosed with celiac disease more than 35 years ago.
A few months earlier, I had been given Julia Child’s first cookbook, “Mastering The Art of French Cooking,” and I was cooking my way through Julia’s wonderful recipes. Her cookbooks opened a door and, whisk in hand, I went through. I cooked and baked and held parties just to have tasters who would help me devour my experiments. Her book was my beacon, my inspiration.
Then a doctor told me to avoid gluten and I was overwhelmed. I could not simply put those books back on the shelf and close my mind to the delicious foods I had discovered. So I went to culinary school and began experimenting again, but this time, I made my recipes with gluten-free flour. As long as I maintained the ratio in a recipe, the balance of wet to dry and fat and sugar, and replaced regular flour with the same amount of gluten-free flour, I had success every time.
I picked crêpes first because the formula called for a few simple ingredients – eggs, milk, and flour. What could be easier? And the batter sits overnight so the mixture is tenderized and softens. It turns out, the ingredients have an affinity for rice flour. The crêpes held together beautifully. The results were delicious. I flamed them with brandy to make Crêpes Suzette. I filled them with ricotta cheese, lemon and currants. No one had any idea they were gluten-free.
With my taste buds engaged and my curiosity in overdrive, I was ready to try more recipes. Today, I am confident that any recipe can be made over with gluten-free ingredients. My cookbook, “Gluten-Free Makeovers,” is filled with many of these successes.
Last week would have been Julia Child’s 100th birthday and the 50th year since “Mastering The Art of French Cooking,” was released. Celebrations large and small were held all over the world. I made crêpes in honor of Julia’s birthday, reserving an extra shot of brandy for a toast. Happy Birthday, Julia and Bon Appetit!
This recipe is a classic French formula. The trick is to make these very thin so they are pliable and easy to roll. Since this is peach season, I made up a quick peach Melba-style filling. Unfilled crêpes freeze well.
Makes Fifteen to Twenty 6-inch Crêpes
The Crêpe recipe is reprinted from my cookbook, Gluten-Free Makeovers (Da Capo Press) where you’ll find more delicious fillings for them.
2 large eggs
¾ cup rice flour
¼ cup tapioca starch/flour
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon sugar (for dessert crepes)
1¼ cups milk, soy milk, or rice milk
1.Whisk together the eggs in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine rice flour, tapioca starch, salt, xanthan gum, and sugar, if using. Whisk into the eggs just until moistened. The mixture will be very thick and gloppy.
2. Add the milk, a little at a time, stirring vigorously until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of heavy cream. Cover and chill for up to 24 hours.
3. Lightly oil one or two 6-inch crêpe pans or heavy frying pans and set over medium heat. Pour about 2 tablespoons of the batter into each pan and swirl until the pan is coated. Pour any excess batter back into the bowl. Cook the crêpe until the edges look very dry, about 1 minute. With a sharp knife, loosen the edges of the crêpe. Using fingers, grab the edges and flip the crêpe. Cook another 30 seconds and remove to a platter. Continue until the remaining batter is used, lightly oiling the pans with a paper towel as necessary.
Peach Melba-Style Filling
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
2 tablespoon brandy
6 medium vine-ripened peaches, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 peach, skin left on, for garnish
Combine jam with brandy. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mixture over the surface of a crêpe. Add a few pieces of cut up peaches. Roll the crêpe. Repeat until all the crêpes are used. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
I envy Northern California for its long growing season, its verdant farms and endless vineyards. But from June to September, Connecticut is in full bloom and I am content to stay close to home, near the local orchards and farms that rival anything I’ve seen in any other part of the US. Our best chefs know that cooking with fresh, local foods can turn ordinary recipes into three-star meals. I’m reminded of that secret when Connecticut’s harvest smiles. I load up on fresh corn, heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and herbs. I can never have enough!
And just about now, the orchards are bearing fruit – – pears, apples, and peaches. Ah. Peaches. Perhaps my favorite of all the local produce. Nothing else comes close to that juicy, tree-ripened crop. Their faint fruit perfume floats over the back roads as I drive by the local orchards. I buy them by the bushelful. By the time I get home, I’ve devoured a sizable number and my car seat and steering wheel bear the sticky evidence. It’s a race to reach my saturation point before the trees return to their dormant state. So I eat just as many as I possibly can. But I reserve enough to bake a few special treats.
This peach cake is one. Fresh peach slices, fanned out over the buttery cake, turn this into an elegant dessert that bursts with intense flavor. The cake makes the perfect company dessert that fools most into thinking it’s not gluten-free. Perhaps that’s because I started with a great, gluten-filled recipe. This is a makeover from one I saw in Bon Appetit several years ago. It can also be packed and taken to a picnic or a pot luck meal. Don’t tell, but I make this with frozen peaches when the fresh varieties are not available. They beat the hard, unripened fruit that I find in stores throughout the rest of the year. I’ve also used fresh plums. The purple skin makes for an equally beautiful presentation.
3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend *
½ cup sorghum Flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons finely grated orange zest
2 large eggs or egg replacer of choice
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
4 ripe, but firm peaches halved and each half cut into 4 slices*
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon for topping
Whipped cream or whipped dairy-free topping
Second Choice: Cascadian Farms or other brand Organic sliced peaches can be used. Thaw fruit before using. Purchase 2, 10-ounce bags and pick the prettiest slices for this cake. Save the rest for another use.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil a 9-inch spring form pan. Combine the flour blend, sorghum flour, baking powder, and xanthan gum in a bowl; set aside.
Beat ¾ cup of the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl until fluffy. Add the dry ingredients and orange zest and beat until crumbly. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the orange juice and beat just to incorporate. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan.
Arrange the peach slices on top of the batter so that they touch and form concentric circles that cover the batter. Press into the batter lightly. Don’t worry if the slices are not perfect. The cake will partially cover the fruit as it bakes. Combine the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon and sprinkle over the batter.
Bake 55 to 60 minutes, until golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife along the side of the pan to release and remove the side of the pan. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or dairy-free topping.
* If the blend you use does not contain salt and gum, add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon additional xanthan gum to the dry ingredients.
May is Celiac Awareness Month
I am celebrating with cupcakes and I hope you’ll join me. I’ll tell you how in a moment, but first, here’s a little background on why this event has far-reaching implications for all of us.
The World’s Tallest Gluten-Free Cake
Last year I was part of the world’s largest gluten-free cake event along with the American Celiac Disease Alliance (ACDA) and the 1in133.org awareness project. Hundreds of us met in Washington, DC to build the world’s tallest gluten-free cake, bring attention to the number of people with celiac disease and convince the FDA to reopen the process for creating gluten-free regulations.
While Jules Shepard and John Forberger headed the confectionery team, Andrea Levario and I headed to Capitol Hill to manage the legislative front. With our sons, media folks and gluten-free manufacturers in tow, we spoke to Congressional leaders about the importance of gluten-free regulations. We asked them to keep the pressure on the FDA to push the regulations forward.
They Heard Us And We Ate Cake
In the early evening, we gathered at a reception for supporters and Congressional folks. To our delight, the Deputy Commissioner of the FDA, Mike Taylor, attended. In front of hundreds of us, Deputy Commissioner Taylor told the group we would have gluten-free regulations. On August 4, the FDA reopened the comment period for the regulations. The comment period closed on October 3 and the FDA promised to issue these regulations by the end of the third quarter of 2012. The countdown is on.
Calling All Cupcake Builders
This May, as we await the forthcoming regulations, I invite everyone to make cupcakes – – one for every year you have been gluten-free. Take a picture and share it with the community by posting to the ACDA’s Facebook page. Then post to your Facebook page, blog and link back to the ACDA’s page. Vote for your favorite cupcake by “liking” the photos on the Alliance Facebook page. Prizes will be awarded in categories like best presentation; most unique decorations; most years being gluten-free; and kids categories. The winners will receive products and coupons from several gluten-free companies. Get out those whisks and mixing bowls. The more likes we receive the more voices will be heard from our virtual community. Go to 1in133 for guidelines.
Let’s Eat Cupcakes
This weekend, I made 56 chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting; 36 for me and 19 for my son, Jeremy. That’s a lot of cupcakes. Let me tell you. But, I’ve seen, firsthand, the power of community. When a standard for gluten-free on food packaging comes out, I can say I had a hand in making it happen. I hope you’ll join me in that effort. It feels good. And, besides, you get to eat cupcakes!
Here’s the recipe I used. You are welcome to “borrow” it. The chocolate cupcakes are a variation on those in my book, Gluten-Free Makeovers. The frosting is pure decadence – – a blend of peanut butter and cream cheese. I love peanut butter and chocolate and the slightly tangy cream cheese flavor cuts the sweetness in a lovely, subtle way. To bring it all together, I top these cupcakes with crushed Reese Peanut Butter Cups. If you are allergic to peanut butter, you could use sunflower butter or simply frost these with plain cream cheese frosting.
CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM CUPCAKES
Makes 24 to 28 cupcakes
2 ¼ cups Cake and Pastry Flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1½ cups granulated sugar
12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk, soy milk, or rice milk
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly grease or oil two 12-cup muffin tins or line with paper liners. Combine the cake flour, cocoa, baking powder; and baking soda. Set aside.
In a separate bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to incorporate. Blend in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients and mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups, filling a little more than half full. Smooth the tops and bake on the center rack for 16 to 18 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from the pans and cool completely before frosting.
PEANUT BUTTER BLOSSOM FROSTING
1 cup smooth peanut butter (any gluten-free brand)
½ cup milk
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup (about 6) Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, crumbled (optional)
Beat the peanut butter, milk, cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar together until smooth and fluffy. Frost cupcakes. Sprinkle with crumbled peanut butter cups. Refrigerate until time to serve.
Cake and Pastry Flour
1 cup sweet white sorghum flour (4 ounces)
1 cup white rice flour (5.4 ounces)
¾ cup cornstarch (3.4 ounces)
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum (or guar gum)
½ teaspoon salt
SHORTCUT: This blend makes very light pastries and cookies with a fine crumb but, if you are pressed for time, you may use 2 ½ cups of any all purpose flour blend. Add the xanthan gum and salt if they are not already in the blend.
As a child, my biggest worries this time of year were whether Mrs. Lord was making caramel corn balls for Halloween and if Mrs. Oakes would have any candy coated apples left by the time I came to her house to trick or treat.
I spent the entire month of October anticipating the Candy Corn, the Tootsie Rolls, and the Mars Bars that would fill my shopping bag – several bags, if I was lucky. As I counted the days until the end of the month, I brooded about the ever cooling weather pattern. Would there be snow in the tiny Maine town I called home? Would I need mittens – something that made it very difficult to eat Mrs. Oakes’ sticky candy apples. Most of all, I wondered how many layers of clothing I would need to wear under my costume. Would the ubiquitous black cat costume still fit or would I have to opt for my brother’s red devil number?
In school, I sketched faces I might want to carve into my jack-’o-lantern. I practiced drawing angry faces, funny ones, sad ones. In the end, the pumpkin always looked the same, owing to my lack of dexterity and the ever-dull knife that was the only one my mother allowed me to use. Each year I promised myself that next year’s pumpkin would be much better. It never
But not once did I realize that all the pumpkins I carved or stole from people’s porches and smashed in the middle of the road were edible, that pumpkin was food. I missed the connection, that these orange orbs were essential to my grandmother’s Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and my mother’s pumpkin quick breads. Pumpkin – – duh?!
I can’t say when the light went off, when I began using pumpkin in baking rather than carving. But one day, it did. And, now it’s the orange flesh that pleases me. Low in calories and high in fiber and vitamins, pumpkin is my friend. And it’s particularly great for gluten-free baking, adding moisture and texture to muffins and quick breads. Warm spices – – cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg – – pair nicely with pumpkin puree. Although you can bake a pumpkin and remove the flesh, you can also buy canned pumpkin puree. It’s so much easier and just as good.
So, say “Hello” to pumpkin and its many uses, and to this flavorful, moist pumpkin bread with crumb topping I made in honor of the season .
½ cup white rice flour
1 cup sorghum flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
2 ½ tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1½ cups pumpkin puree (most of a 15-ounce can)
1 cup sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup chopped pecans or other nuts, optional
1 cup Crumb Topping (below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly oil two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pans.
Combine the flours, cornstarch, tapioca starch, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, sugar, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the pecans, if using.
Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Sprinkle ½ cup of the crumb topping over each loaf. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes away clean. Set on a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn the breads out onto the rack and let cool completely. Wrap with plastic and let sit overnight before slicing.
Makes 3½ Cups or 3 Cups If Nuts Are Omitted
Store remaining topping in the refrigerator for 3 weeks or freezer for 3 months.
¾ cup rice flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup ground pecans, walnuts, or almonds, optional
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or non-dairy buttery spread, at room temperature, cut into pieces
Combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and pecans, if using, in a large bowl. Mix well. Add the butter and use your fingertips to mix just until crumbly.