Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Perfect GF Cupcakes!

I love to check out other people's blogs, and do a lot of searching for recipes online. With all the fresh strawberries I got at Way Fruit Farm, I had to make strawberry shortcakes. I like to do this with cupcakes because they're such a nice individual size. I found a recipe online for great gluten free cupcakes, which is, for all of you who have tried, hard to do. Well, she was right, they are perfect, and so I'll recopy it here, but give you the link to her post.

First, start with the Gluten Free Pantry Old-Fashioned cake mix, just the mix
1 pkg vanilla instant pudding
1/2 cup sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup orange juice
1 Tbsp plus 2 tsp good vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Mix the wet ingredients in a large bow. Add the combined dry ingredients and beat on high speed for two minutes.
Line 18-20 muffin tins with liners. Fill 2/3 to 3/4 of the way full for cupcakes with nice mounds on top. This recipe is so great, that when you overfill, it won't just spread out but actually rise up.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden and test done.

All that vanilla extract really masks any taste of the orange juice (which is what makes the cake rise so very well), and these taste really good. They're still rather heavy, but they're gluten-free, so there's not much getting around that.

For the great cupcakes pictured here, I used a bit of lemon curd to make a sweet and tangy frosting that was so great! I only had a few cupcakes left, so I'll try to adjust the amounts of the frosting for you to get a dozen cupcakes, but you might have to fudge with it.

3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp lemon curd
yellow food coloring

Cream the butter, then add the powdered sugar and mix. Add the vanilla and mix, then add enough lemon curd to achieve desired consistency and taste. If you don't want it too tangy, you can also add some milk, and less lemon curd.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Fruit Pizza-Gluten Free

I've always been intrigued by fruit pizza. I've never actually had it, but it's always sounded interesting. My favorite sugar cookie recipe, from www.eatingglutenfree.com, is also said to be a good fruit pizza crust. And then, there's one of my favorite old copies of Cooking Light magazine that features lemon curd. A lot of my memories are associated with smells and tastes. As a child I remember the bliss that was lemon curd from Picolo Mundo, a bakery in Chicago. It was a definite treat for the family, certainly not a day to day thing, but I've loved lemon curd ever since. So, when I got a spread in the magazine devoted to lemon curd, I was quite interested in the food. But, sadly, never got around to making my own lemon curd, and trying all the recipes. Until this week. As I was making Lemon Meringue Pie for Father's day, there were no individual lemons for me to purchase at the store, so I had to buy an entire bag of about a dozen lemons. So, I've found myself with a few lemons on hand to use up, and the perfect excuse to make the Cooking Light lemon curd calling for three fresh lemons. And, after going out to the fruit farm and picking my own fresh sweet strawberries, the perfect excuse for making the fruit pizza featured in the magazine. So, I'll try to add the various elements of the recipe here.
First, I made the lemon curd the night before so that it could thicken in the fridge overnight. The recipe is as follows:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
2 eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons, I had to add a touch bottled juice to make up the difference)
2 Tbsp butter
Combine first three ingredients in small saucepan over medium heat, and whisk, about two minutes, until sugar dissolves. Then add juice and butter, and stir constantly with whisk about five minutes, or until mixture coats the back of a spoon. Let the mixture cool in the pan, then transfer to a container, cover and chill.The pizza is best served right after being prepared, so this does involve some planning. First make the sugar cookie dough, I cut their batch in half, and still didn't use all of the dough for the crust, I'll give you my halved batch ingredients:
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp margarine
6 Tbsp vanilla pudding powder
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
scant 1 tsp xanthan gum
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups Featherlight flour mix

Cream first three ingredients. Add egg, mix well. Add vanilla. Add xanthan gum, baking powder and salt; mix well. Finally add flour mix and beat well. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour, until it is still and able to be rolled out. Then, roll the dough out into a 12" circle, about 1/8-1/4" thick and place in 12" pizza pan. I removed dough, and flattened it out until desired thickness, within the pizza pan.
Bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned, and cooked through.
For the pizza you will need the following ingredients:
2 Tbsp seedless raspberry jam, melted (I used regular jam and just sent it through a sieve to remove seeds)
3/4 cup lemon curd, or enough to spread across the pizza
Container of each of the following berries: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries
2 ripe plums, sliced
2 Tbsp sugar

Melt the jam and spread it across the top of the sugar cookie. Then, slowly drop the lemon curd on top of this, and spread a layer over the jam. Arrange the plums in a circle around the edge of the pizza, then using the berries in whatever order you choose, fill in the concentric circles until you reach the center, and mound the remaining type of fruit so that the surface is covered. Sprinkle the fruit with the sugar, then place under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, taking care not to burn the outside edges of sugar cookie crust.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Gluten Free Hamburger Buns

Sometimes, lettuce just isn't enough for a burger, and you really want some bread with your meat. I decided that with summer at the gates, I needed to try out a hamburger bun recipe, and was pretty happy with this first attempt.
This recipe comes from Bette Hagman's "The Gluten-Free Gourmet Revised Edition". Although I have the greatest respect for Bette Hagman and what she's done for gluten free cooking, her recipes aren't always my favorites, we don't seem to have the exact same taste, but they're always a great start for me. And sometimes, as in her crepes, I find her recipe to be better than any others I try. I also have learned great tips from her, these are a perfect example with making my own english muffin rings with tin foil. I've hardly modified her recipe, partly out of necessity and also for volume, but will put it in as I made it.

1 cup Four Flour mix
1/2 cup GF mix
2 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup dry milk powder
1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin
3/4 tsp Egg Replacer
scant 1/2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup lukewarm water (105-110 degrees F)
1/2 Tbsp yeast
2 Tbsp butter flavored Crisco
2/3 cup water
1/2 tsp cider vinegar
1 egg
Grease English muffin forms, or make your own by taking 4 10" lengths of tin foil, and fold it in half, then fold it in half again, and then again, until the strip is just over an inch high. Then form a ring, folding one end into the other, and taping together with masking tape. Place these on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray on the inside of each.

In the bowl of your heavy duty mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine first 8 ingredients.
In a small bowl, dissolve the teaspoon sugar in the lukewarm water, then mix in the yeast. Set aside. Combine the shortening and water in a microwave safe bowl. Place in the microwave on high for one minute, or until water gets hot. There should still be some solid shortening left when you remove it from the microwave. Continue stirring until all the shortening in melted.
Turn mixer on low speed. Slowly add shortening and water mixture, then vinegar, until combined. Then add the egg. This mixture should feel slightly warm. Pour in the yeast water carefully and beat at highest speed for 3 1/2 minutes. I literally use a timer to be sure it's thoroughly mixed. The dough will be very soft, more like a cake batter, but that's right.
Spoon among your forms and fill half full.
I used a rising tip found in Shauna Ahern's book "Gluten Free Girl". I preheated the oven to 200 degrees, then turned it off and set the pan of the buns in the oven with the door slightly ajar. They doubled in size in about 25 minutes. Then I took them out and preheated the oven to 375 degrees. I put them in and set the timer for 10 minutes, after which I covered them with tin foil so as not to burn the tops, then set the timer for another 10 minutes when they were done. I left them on the pan to cool while I grilled the hamburgers. I had to use a sharp knife to run around the edges to remove them from the forms, but it was quite easy. These were a little thicker than I liked for the hamburgers, and dense as most gluten free breads, but really quite good. I might fudge with the recipe a bit, and perhaps make more buns, but I've included shots of the assembled burger, and a cross section to see the texture so you can check it out for yourself. It sure beats lettuce.