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gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova

Sometimes the classics really are the best.

Pride & Prejudice. Chanel No. 5. Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Roast Chicken. The Beatles. Tootsie Rolls.

White Christmas. Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Macarons.

Ballet flats. Herbes de Provence. Berries and cream.

Classics. Things that never truly go out of style. Flavors that just work.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Friends, meet the Pavlova.

The Pavlova is a dessert that was invented in the 1920’s to honor famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova in New Zealand. The meringue is crispy on the outside and fluffy like a marshmallow on the inside. Traditionally it is topped with cream and fresh fruit – making it a blank canvas ready to be explored.

If you’ve never made one of these classics for yourself, you should add it to your list.

gingered raspberry pavlova | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes.com

Let’s be real. It’s the gingers that have the most fun.

So it would make sense that a little bit of ginger could spice up this classic. It might seem a little fussy, but it is really pretty simple to make and once you get all the components together, you have an impressive dessert.

Gingered Raspberry Pavlova
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 6 servings
The meringue base and coulis can be made several days in advance and the cream whipped shortly before assembly. The moisture from the whipped cream and the coulis will be absorbed by the merengue and the mix of soft and crunchy textures will be lost.
  • For the meringue base
  • 150 grams egg whites (this is about 5 large whites)
  • 300 grams (1 1/2 cups) sugar, preferably super fine
  • For the coulis
  • 2 6-ounce packages fresh raspberries (about 2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup [url href=”http://frannycakes.com/recipes/baking-basics-simple-syrup” title=”Baking Basics: Simple Syrup”]Simple Syrup[/url]
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/2 tablespoon tapioca starch, arrowroot or cornstarch
  • For the whipped cream
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • To finish it off
  • 1 6-ounce package (about 1 cup) fresh raspberries
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
Make the meringue
  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and if it will help, trace a 9″ circle and then turn it over so the marked side is down – you should still be able to see the line through the paper.
  2. In a very clean bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I wipe mine out with a wee bit of vinegar or lemon juice to make sure there is no grease or oil residue), add the egg whites.
  3. Starting on low and slowly raising the speed when bubbles cover the surface, raise the speed to high and beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  4. Add the sugar slowly – about 1 tablespoon at a time, making sure that you get back to stiff peaks after each addition.
  5. Dab a small amount of merengue under each corner of the parchment to hold it in place on the sheet.
  6. Scoop your merengue mixture into the circle and use an offset spatula to create a slight well.
  7. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The merengue is done when it lifts away from the parchment easily. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Make the coulis
  1. In a medium sauce pan, combine the raspberries, simple syrup, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Over medium heat, bring the ingredients to a boil and cook until the raspberries soften.
  2. Sprinkle the starch over 1 tablespoon of water and stir to remove any lumps. Add this to the raspberry mixture and cook the sauce until it starts to thicken (about 3-5 minutes).
  3. Strain the coulis through a fine-mesh sieve and allow to cool.
Whip the cream
  1. Either by hand, or in the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the cream and tablespoon of sugar until soft peaks form.
Assemble the pavlova
  1. Immediately before serving, spread the whipped cream over the top of the merengue.
  2. Gently pour the coulis over the top.
  3. Sprinkle with the fresh raspberries and sliced almonds and serve immediately.

NaBloPoMo November 2014

jellied cranberries | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries

This might get me in trouble, but I could do without the turkey on Thanksgiving.

It’s not that I don’t like turkey, quite the opposite actually. But it takes up valuable space on my Thanksgiving plate that can be used for something better. Like apple & sage gluten-free stuffing. Or my mom’s famous white jello (she won’t give me the recipe for that one no matter how many times I ask). Or mashed potatoes. Or cranberry sauce.

jellied cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Oh sweet cranberries.

Not cranberry chutney. Not cranberry relish. Those are too tart. Sophisticated even. What I want on my plate is cranberry sauce. The one that reminds me of my childhood and cranberries out of a can that you could slice.

A dish that balances sweet and tart. A dish with texture that isn’t crunchy. Something that reminds me of all the Thanksgivings growing up, but doesn’t contain any additives or high-fructose something or other. Cranberries with seasonal spices to perk them up and just enough sugar to temper their tart bite.

Let’s jelly these babies

Gelatin gives the sauce shape and structure, whole cranberries give it texture and some spices and apple cider bring back those childhood memories.

gluten-free cranberry sauce | a gluten-free recipe from frannycakes

Jellied Cranberries
Recipe Type: Side
Cuisine: American
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 20 mins
Serves: 6-8 servings
This recipe is adapted from Stephanie Izard’s Canned Cranberry Sauce recipe. It has a similar consistency to the sauce I remember from my childhood, but there is balance between the sweetness and the natural tartness of the fruit – rather than the all-sweet store-bought kind.
  • 680 grams (1 ½ pounds/ 2 12-ounce bags) fresh cranberries
  • 450 grams (2 1/4 cups) sugar
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 ½ tsp (1 packet) gelatin powder
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. In a small pot add cranberries, sugar, cider vinegar, cardamom, cinnamon and salt.
  2. Over medium heat, cook it until cranberries have burst and mix is fully combined, about 10
  3. minutes. Remove from heat.
  4. While the cooked cranberries cool, sprinkle the gelatin over the apple cider in a small bowl and let sit for 5 minutes.
  5. When the 5 minutes is up, add the cider mixture to the cranberries and stir well.
  6. Pour into an 8×8 dish (I used a clear pyrex) and let sit in the fridge for at least 5 hours before serving.


In my gluten-free pantry: Munchies

in my gluten-free pantryNo pantry is complete without a few munchies, particularly for us gluten-free & food allergic folks. I like to keep food on hand that can be grab & go so that when I show up to a work lunch with no safe food options, I can save my coworkers from seeing me hangry by having backup in my bag. I also like to fend off the weekend afternoon snack cravings, but when they come, I like to be prepared with something quick and easy or I’ll likely end up with a batch of cupcakes. (And while cupcakes are delicious, they aren’t always the best option…) So here’s a peek at what I like to keep on hand.

Crunchy + Salty

This is my preferred kind of snack. Something quick and satisfying. Something that pairs well with red wine and chick flicks or gluten-free beer and football.


There is an assortment of bars in just about every bag I own so that I am never without a safe snack, but there are a few bars out there that just taste so much better than the others. These are the ones I buy most often.

Spread it on

No pantry would be complete without some sort of nut (or nut-free) spread. And no list of essential spreads would be complete without Nutella. Nut butters are great multi-taskers. You can add a dollop to a smoothie or dip your apple slices. You can add them to toast or for pairing with plain cookies. The lack of peanut butter on this list is intentional – I don’t particularly like it. I don’t mind it in things like Reese’s cups (actually, I like it in things), but it’s not something I crave putting on a sandwich or on an apple, so I don’t keep it on hand all the time.

Just keeping a few of these options on hand keeps me from showing my hangry side while I make dinner or deter me from ordering takeout because I just want something right now and don’t feel quite like cooking. (It happens, some times you just need a snack).

Baking Basics: Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is one of those things that I keep around the house at all times because of just how handy it can be.

I used to just make it as I needed it – and avoided recipes that called for it. But then I was watching a Rick Bayless cooking demo and he talked about how great it is to have simple syrup on hand for making cocktails was. If it’s already made, you can whip yourself up a cocktail that is just a wee bit fancier than whiskey and Coke or your gin and tonic.

Its usefulness extends outside of just cocktails. You can brush sponge cake layers with it to keep them moist and help seal in crumbs. If you want to sweeten iced tea or iced coffee simple syrup dissolves more easily than sugar.

You can even flavor your syrup by adding ingredients like herbs, ginger or citrus peels to the hot syrup and straining them out once it cools.

simple syrup

Baking Basics: Simple Syrup
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 1 cup
Simple syrup can be made plain, or you can add flavors like herbs or ginger by steeping those ingredients in the hot syrup and then straining the liquid once it cools.
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Combine water and sugar in a heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and liquid becomes clear.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil and then remove from heat and let cool.


Gluten-Free Cassoulet

Single Lady Supper: Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet

It’s no secret that my baking chops beat out my cooking skills in just about every way. From the flavors I prefer to the certainty and precision that a cake requires, baking is something that I just sort of get. Although that probably has more to do with the fact that I would rather eat a cupcake than a steak.

It’s too bad you can’t live on cupcakes.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

But that’s why there are things like stew. Or in this case, cassoulet – which really is just a specific type of stew that includes white beans and usually pork or duck.

You see, you don’t really need a recipe for stew (or cassoulet). You just need to know what order to cook the ingredients. And you need to let it be.

You start with a dutch oven and get it nice and hot.

You cook some bacon or sausage to get things going.

You sear your meat.

You sauté your aromatics.

You deglaze.

You add your other ingredients and get them all cooking.

You top it off with some herbs, cover it, put ‘er in the oven…

And you wait.

You don’t rush. You don’t stir the pot. You don’t increase the heat.

You let your kitchen warm up and fill your house with the scent of a hearty dinner.

You congratulate yourself for a grown-up dinner that is healthy, hearty and perfect for this unseasonably cold weather that has come our way.

Gluten-Free Cassoulet

This recipe makes a small batch of stew. It fed me for one dinner and two lunches, although I did add some cooked sorghum to stretch it when I brought it in for lunch. If you want to make this for a family, simply double just about everything. If you hate cannellini beans, use chickpeas. If you hate rosemary, use tarragon. No red wine? Give up and make macaroni and cheese and then get your butt to the store. Just use stock. No dutch oven? Cook your meat in a skillet, but once you deglaze it, add all your ingredients to an oven-safe dish.

The rules for dishes like cassoulet (and any stew for that matter) aren’t quite as rigid as those for something like a macaron. So go ahead and make one – I promise it is worth the wait.

Gluten-Free Beef Cassoulet
Recipe Type: Stew
Cuisine: French
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 15 mins
Serves: 2-4 servings
The trick to a great stew is caramelizing the meat and deglazing the pan before letting that baby cook for a few hours. Cassoulet is traditionally made with pork and sausage for the meat, but I went with ingredients that I had on hand. We can call it traditional-ish.
  • 1/2 lb beef (most stores sell packages labeled for stew already diced, but any tougher cut of beef will work)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour (an all purpose blend, corn starch, sorghum or potato starch would be best)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 slices of bacon
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (about half a can)
  • 1 cup cannellini beans (about half a can)
  • Assorted fresh herbs for a bouquet garni – I used Thyme, rosemary, parsley and a bay leaf tied with cotton string
  • 1 cup red wine
  • Enough stock or water to cover the meat and other ingredients
  • Salt & pepper to taste (How much salt you need will be determined by what liquid you use and if it already contains salt. Start with a generous pinch if you use water or salt-free broth)
  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Toss your beef with the flour and a generous pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Prep your other ingredients: chop your bacon into 1/2″ pieces, dice your beef into 2″ cubes, mince your garlic and peel and dice your onion.
  4. Tie your herbs together into a bouquet
  5. Add the olive oil to a small dutch oven over medium heat and cook the bacon until it is crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  6. Brown the beef on all sides. You don’t need to cook it through (in fact you don’t want to), you just want to caramelize the outside of the meat.
  7. Remove the beef from the pan and set aside.
  8. Sautee your garlic and onions until the onions become translucent.
  9. Pour the red wine into the pan to deglaze all those lovely bits of meat clinging to the bottom of the pan.
  10. Add the beef and bacon back to the pan along with the carrot, tomatoes and cannellini beans.
  11. Pour in the stock until the ingredients are covered and bring to a boil.
  12. Add the bouquet garni and cover the dutch oven.
  13. Place it in the oven and cook for 2 hours.


NaBloPoMo November 2014

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

Gluten-free Chai Apple Streusel Muffins

I haven’t gotten to do a whole lot of baking lately. There’s been so much to do at work and so many trips to the hospital that I was starting to fear that I was losing my baking mojo.

That would have been a terrible thing. Because baking just makes sense. It makes my world make sense.

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

When life goes sideways, baking keeps the world in order. Combining flours and sugars with butter and eggs will almost always fix a bad day. They react in predictable, knowable ways. Whisking the liquids before adding them to the dry ingredients will turn out a tender muffin.

gluten-free apple streusel muffins | a recipe from frannycakes

And muffins are an excuse for a sweet treat at breakfast. Add in chai spices and a streusel topping and you have a winning breakfast.

You don’t need to bring out the mixer. Just a few bowls and 15 minutes. These are great warm and fresh from the oven, but if you can resist and save a few, they last for a couple days in a sealed container at room temperature.

Gluten-Free Chai Apple Streusel Muffins
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 12 muffins
  • Streusel Topping
  • 70 grams (1/2 cup) gluten-free all purpose flour
  • 105 grams (1/2 cup lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 70 grams (5 tablespoons) cold butter
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) sliced almonds (optional)
  • Muffins
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and diced into 1/4 inch dice
  • 280 + 10 grams (2 cups + 1 tablespoon) gluten-free all purpose flour*, divided
  • 70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 70 grams (1/3 cup lightly packed) brown sugar
  • 10 grams (1 tablespoon) baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 212 grams (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup strong chai tea, cooled**
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a standard muffin tin with papers or grease and flour the wells.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss the diced apple with the tablespoon (10 grams) of gluten-free flour. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and brown sugar. Cut in the cold butter using a pastry blender (or pulse all the ingredients in a food processor). It will look like slightly clumpy sand. Mix in the almonds if using and then place in the fridge.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, spices and salt, making sure to remove lumps from the brown sugar.
  5. In a second bowl, whisk together the egg, butter, chai and vanilla. Stir the liquids into the flour mixture until well combined. Stir in the apple pieces.
  6. Divide the batter between the wells. Remove the streusel from the fridge and top each muffin.
  7. Place the muffins in the oven and immediately reduce the heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until cooked through.
*This recipe uses a gluten-free all purpose blend such as Cup4Cup or GF Jules that already includes xantham gum. If your blend does not already contain this, add 1/2 teaspoon.[br]**You could use plain black tea here, but I would increase the spices in the cake by adding some granulated ginger and possibly allspice.


In my gluten-free pantry: Cheats & Shortcuts

in my gluten-free pantry

Some days you just don’t have time to whip up an entire meal from scratch. Some days real life zaps your cooking brain and you know you need to feed it, but it isn’t cooperating and helping you decide on a dish.

For some reason, I always feel immensely guilty when I use pre-jarred pasta sauce or grab a box of gluten-free macaroni and cheese. It’s irrational. It’s silly. And some days there just isn’t time or energy to cook from scratch.

On my too-tired days, I make dinner using one of these pantry-friendly shortcuts.

Skillet / Simmer Sauces

These are the shortcuts that I feel least bad about – they shorten the time required to make a balanced, tasty dinner but still require a bit of effort. Some of my favorites are the sauces from Rick Bayless / Frontera. They make taco night or enchilada night quick and easy but don’t add the kind of chemicals/ingredients that I find objectionable in most packaged foods.

Curry Paste

I’ve been a fan of Indian food since college but a good curry can take hours to cook properly – who has time for that on a Tuesday night? Curry paste can shorten that cooking time but still deliver the complex flavors intrinsic to a warming Indian dinner. The concentrated pastes give you a little more control than already-done simmer sauces (which is good for my kitchen control-freak self). The curry pastes from Patak’s are gluten-free and free of artificial colors and preservatives.

Pasta Sauce

This might be the one I feel guiltiest about. Jarred sauce on top of dried pasta leaves me feeling like I phoned it in when it came to dinner. And that is partially true – it means I can have dinner in just about 15 minutes. I don’t do it often, but I always end up craving basic pasta or needing a super easy meal whenever I don’t have a jar of sauce handy, so I try to keep one on hand at all times.

Soup in a box

Most canned/condensed soups aren’t gluten-free, but I like to keep a package or two of soup in the pantry. A roasted red pepper soup goes great with a gluten-free grilled cheese or with some leftover rice stirred in.

Macaroni & Cheese

I am just fine admitting that some days I have the palate of a 5 year old. Maybe it’s the years that passed between the last time I had some from that iconic blue box and my discovery of a gluten-free variety, but that powdered cheese brings some comforting nostalgia. And it makes an excellent Saturday lunch after a late Friday night.

What’s your favorite cheat/shortcut ingredient?

NaBloPoMo November 2014

In my gluten-free pantry: Spices

in my gluten-free pantry

When I talk to my friends about cooking, inevitably they talk about how much work it is to cook for themselves. And then they talk about how they have to follow a recipe to end up with food that tastes good reliably…which then ends with them complaining about how they never have the right spices on hand. I think that by keep a basic inventory of spices, you open up a world of flavor. You’ll be ready to handle just about any recipe and you will have more building blocks for delicious dinners.

Herbs vs. Spices

Even though they are mixed together at the grocery store, herbs and spices are different. Herbs are the leafy parts of the plant (think basil and sage) whereas spices are from just about any other part including roots and seeds. Here, I am focusing on spices – when it comes to herbs, I try to use fresh over dried whenever possible.


I am not usually one who goes for a lot of heat, but I think it is a great way to layer flavor. I like to keep a couple different chili powders on hand, rather than just generic chili powder because each pepper has its own unique flavor.

  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Ancho Chili Powder
  • Chipotle

There are other great spices for savory cooking that I couldn’t live without

  • Paprika
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Ground Mustard
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander


Spices aren’t just for chili and stew – they add flavor in sweet applications as well. Pumpkin spice might be the most common application of these flavors in sweets, but they can power up everything from pie to cake. From pudding to muffins. Try adding a few cardamom pods in with your coffee next time you brew it – you can thank me later.

  • Cardamom (pods & powder)
  • Star Anise (whole)
  • Nutmeg (whole – it is so much better when you grate it yourself)
  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Lemon Peel
  • Lavender
  • Ground Ginger

Mixes / Blends

I don’t keep too many pre-mixed blends around, simply because I like to mix and match depending on my mood and always using the same flavors would get boring to me. That said, there are a few blends that I keep around.

  • Curry Powder
  • Garam Masala
  • Herbes de Provence (Ok, this is technically herbs and not spices, this is the most traditional blend I keep in my pantry).

What are your favorite spices?

In my gluten-free pantry: Grains

in my gluten-free pantryGrains are the building blocks of many meals. They add fiber and nutrients to a meal and can help stretch meat if you are on a budget. When I first went gluten-free, I started eating a lot of rice-based dishes, but that got rather boring pretty quickly. It didn’t take long to discover quinoa, which I now buy in economy sized bags. Lately, there has been a surge in the availability of some other grains including sorghum and millet (and a few gluten-containing grains). This variety can keep meals interesting and help fill the void left by couscous and pearled barley. I try to keep a variety of grains in the pantry to keep things from getting boring and to keep a variety of nutrients in my diet.


This is the easiest, and cheapest, of the grains to keep on hand. I like to keep some short grain rice (such as arborio) on hand for dishes like risotto or paella. I keep long grain rice (such as basmati) on hand to pair with curries or to turn into fried rice. I also enjoy the nutty flavor of short-grain brown rice as an ingredient in soups and stews.


The first “alternative” grain I ate was quinoa (which is technically a seed and not a grain). It was a welcome relief from the amount of rice that made it into my diet when I first cut out gluten. Initially, I used it only in place of rice or couscous in recipes, but as I got used to cooking with it (and it got more popular), I got more adventurous. It works great in stir-fry or as the base for a grain salad. I’ve even used it in casseroles and breakfast “porridge”.


A recent addition to my rotation, whole grain or pearled sorghum is a nutty, chewy grain that can stand up to salads and stews in places that gluten-eaters might use farro or barley. You can also pop sorghum like you could pop corn, and you get something that looks like mini popcorn but is safe for people with corn allergies.


I grew up with a dad who made us oatmeal regularly on winter mornings before school and a mom who’s “garbage” cookies were based on the famous oatmeal cookie recipe from a box of Quaker Oats. These days, I keep a package of gluten-free oats in my pantry for easy breakfasts (including home-made instant oatmeal).

Are there any other gluten-free grains that you keep on hand?