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Sweet Potato Korma | Gluten-Free by FrannyCakes

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Korma

Oh lordy. It is winter outside. Complete with that white stuff that covers the ground.

Aside from that meaning that it is officially mitten weather, it also means that it is high season for hearty dinners. Spicy stews. And dishes to keep you warm. Not the shake off the cool edged wind of fall. But to warm you up from the cold that gets all the way to your bones.

To be honest, I am almost glad that pumpkin-filled everything is done for a while. Because it is high time for some cassoulet. And maybe some soup. And a curry or two.

I have been trying to make sure that I spend some time on Sundays making lunches for the week, and when it gets cold things like a dish that reheats and travels well. (I like to win at lunch). This dish is does just that. And if you pack a little fresh cilantro, you can look like you packed a fancy pants takeout meal that is both more delicious and healthier.
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Korma | FrannyCakes

I fell in love with Indian food in college. It was part influenced by my best friend, Sid, and part because it is so easy to eat gluten-free. And these days, I do not get to eat it nearly enough. This sweet potato korma is easy to make thanks to purchased korma curry paste and is ready to go in 45 minutes which makes it perfect for weeknight dinners. It is vegetarian and can easily be vegan if you swap out the yogurt for a dairy-free variety or cashew cream.

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Korma
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 4
An easy, weeknight dinner, this vegetarian korma is perfect to make ahead and pack as work lunches. If you wish to make it vegan, you can swap a non-dairy yogurt or use cashew cream in place of the plain yogurt or sour cream.
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 red onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger*
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, leaves picked and stalks reserved
  • 1 fresh red jalapeño or fresno chili, seeds and veins removed
  • 1 heaped tablespoon korma curry paste**
  • 1 14oz can chickpeas
  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt or sour cream
  • 1 cup of your favorite long grain rice, I prefer basmati
  1. Cut the sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch chunks and place in a large frying pan over medium heat with a good glug of olive oil (2 tablespoons). Fry them for about 5 minutes, or until they start to turn golden.
  2. While the sweet potatoes cook, peel and finely slice the onion, garlic and ginger. Finely chop the cilantro stalks and mince the chili.
  3. Add all the veggies and the korma paste and cook for another 5-10 minutes and stirring occaisionally. You want to make sure that the onions have softened.
  4. Add the chickpeas, canning liquid and all, to the frying pan along with the boiling water.
  5. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, or until thickened.
  6. While the korma is cooking, prepare 1 cup of rice according to the package directions and drink a glass of wine (because you deserve it for cooking on a week night).
  7. When the korma has thickened, stir in the yogurt or sour cream and the lemon juice. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.


gluten-free kohlrabi salad from frannycakes

kohlrabi salad

I grew up watching a steady diet of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Wars movie marathons. I have seen every Star Trek movie ever made but somehow managed to never watch A Christmas Story. Doctor Who is on any time I can’t find something new and interesting to watch on TV. And although I might be the only nerd who doesn’t think that Firefly was the greatest TV show ever, I am still a pretty huge sci-fi nerd.

Something about all that traveling to new worlds. Meeting new people. Eating new food.

The first time I saw kohlrabi, I was sure I was seeing a vegetable right out of a sci-fi movie. There was this weird spindly vegetable at the farmers market. I had been exploring sweet corn, berries and local chicken when I first noticed it. I saw this globe with green tentacles cut short and people passing right over it reaching for cucumbers that were perfect for dill pickles. I lived on a college campus with research farms – who knew what kind of genetic splicing might have found its way to the locals. Or what sort of alien life they had found…

Image via Gerwin Sturm on Flickr. (Licensed via Creative Commons)
Image via Gerwin Sturm on Flickr. (Licensed via Creative Commons)

It was cheap, so I bought some. The next week, it was cheap again, so I bought some more. That weird alien vegetable started to be a staple in my kitchen. It was always abundant and affordable at the local farmer’s market, and since the kohlrabi had a flavor similar to jicama or a seedless cucumber, it was easy enough to eat.

Kohlrabi, a member of the same family as cabbage, brussles sprouts and kale, is a vegetable that has become one of my favorites, although I seriously believe that at least part of the reason I love it is its alien appearance. The name is German from words meaning cabbage and radish. A perennial vegetable, it is common at farmers markets because it is easy to grow, but I have had a harder time finding it in traditional grocery stores.

(This is here as proof that I eat vegetables. It might take them looking alien to entice me at first, but I come around eventually…)

gluten-free kohlrabi salad from frannycakes

Gluten-Free Kohlrabi Salad
Recipe Type: Side
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 10 mins
Total time: 10 mins
Serves: 4
This recipe is adapted from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi and is a way to eat the vegetable I had never tried. It is a great way to try Kohlrabi if you have never eaten it before.
  • 3 medium kohlrabies (1 2/3 pounds or 750 grams in total)
  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) Greek yogurt
  • 70 grams (5 tbsp) sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon dried mint
  • about 12 sprigs baby watercresss
  • salt and white pepper
  1. Peel the kohlrabies, cut into 2/3-inch dice and put in a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the yogurt, sour cream, mascarpone, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. Add a healthy pinch of salt and a generous grind of pepper and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour the dressing over the kohlrabi followed by the fresh and dried mint and half the watercress. Taste and add salt & pepper if needed.
  5. Gently stir and place in a serving dish. Garnish with the remaining watercress.
  6. Top with the remaining watercress


gluten-free pizza blanca with roasted red peppers and chevre frais

Food Matters Project | Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Gluten-Free Pizza

This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration from a wide range of food bloggers. Each week, I will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us! My posts for this project can be found here.

Food really does matter. For millions of people in this country, it matters in a different way. Some foods are poison for them. In my case gluten and shellfish are my poisons. For some, like Blondie when he listens to his body, it is dairy. For others it is peanuts. And hundreds more types of foods can be poison to people.

I spent the weekend with people with all different sorts of food allergies or sensitivities or moral oppositions. I hung out with the girls who run Crave Bakeshop in Portland (the only gluten-free bakeshop to win Cupcake Wars). I met Mrs. Alaska, Brandy Wendler and stole her crown for a minute. I got to see old friends like Amy & the Bronskis. I got to eat with Silvana and Cybele. I barely got to talk to one of my favorites, Laura Russell (if you like asian food, you need her cookbook).

But all of these people have something in common – they all have food that they can’t eat. Yet, you won’t find a more joyful group of people anywhere. We get together and it is like no time has passed at all. Then everyone goes home and it is like Kyra from Crave tweeted this morning, it feels like the end of summer camp and all your friends are a thousand miles away.

Our combined inability to different foods has spurred all of us on to write cook books and blogs, Cybele is even launching a cookie line (I threatened to follow her around in hopes that some cookies would fall out of her bag they were that good). Food matters to all of these people in a different way than just making sure we eat better. We all need to nourish our bodies and keep them free of a different kind of poison.

In honor of my friends (new and old), I am sharing a pizza with you. One packed full of flavor and topped with (mostly) good for you ingredients.

gluten-free pizza blanca with roasted red peppers and chevre frais

This week’s recipe was Whole Wheat Pizza and topping the pizza the food matters way. I steered clear of the crust recipe for obvious reasons, but used the toppings list as a guide to make this delicious gluten-free variety. You can view the original recipe at Nikki’s site and you can see how everyone else interpreted the recipe in the comments of the link up post on the Food Matters Project.

This recipe is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Food Matters Project | Roasted Garlic & Red Pepper Gluten-Free Pizza
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dinner
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 25 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 4
  • 1 recipe pizza crust (choose your favorite, or use my favorite from [url href=”http://www.easyeats.com/recipes/1111-pear-pizza”] Easy Eats Magazine[/url] you have to be a subscriber to see the recipe)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Williams-Sonoma Pizza Seasoning
  • 2 heads of garlic, roasted and squeezed from the cloves
  • 1/2 cup diced sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1 12oz jar of roasted red peppers, cut into strips
  • 6 ounces of chèvre frays (or any goat cheese or whatever your diet allows)
  • 1 adult handful of shredded mozzarella (or any non-dairy substitute you prefer)
  1. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees (if you have a pizza stone, put it in a cold oven and let it heat up with the oven. Mix the pizza seasoning into your pizza crust and let rise (if your crust needs to).
  2. Divide the crust into four and roll out the individual portions. on a flat cookie sheet or pizza peel, sprinkle corn meal and place the crusts on top.
  3. Brush the crusts with the oil from the sun dried tomatoes and then spread with the roasted garlic.
  4. Divide the peppers and the sun dried tomatoes evenly between the pizzas.
  5. Sprinkle the cheeses over the pizzas and smash the toppings down a little if you feel like you have mounds of toppings.
  6. Transfer the pizzas to the pizza stone and bake for 15-20 minutes. (I had to bake my pizzas 2 at a time because of the size of my pizza stone). let the pizzas cool a few minutes before you cut them or eat them because they will be HOT!)
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gluten free broccoli quinoa superfood salad with radish and goat feta

Food Matters | Broccoli Quinoa Salad

This post is part of the Food Matters Project, a cooking collaboration from a wide range of food bloggers. Each week, I will cook a recipe from Mark Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook, which places an emphasis on mindful and sustainable eating. Follow along with us! My posts for this project can be found here.

Today is a Food Matters day.

One problem, I quite dislike the main component for the recipe for this week’s post.

Read more

savory buckwheat crepe with poached egg, chevre and home made ketchup

Buckweat Crepes

buckwheat crepe with blueberry syrupMy friend, Sabina and I met under awkward circumstances. She was hired to do the job I was doing as temp to hire. When the other french speaker in the office and I first met her, we thought she had been brought in to speak spanish. I really wanted to hate her. But she was sweet, and funny. And, she spoke french.

We spent lunches speaking in french so no one could understand us complaining about our boss. French words would slip into our English conversations and vice versa. She is also the one who gave Blondie his nickname. It was at lunch one day and the name just kind of stuck.

One sunday afternoon, when we were no longer working together, we decided to meet up for crepes at this little creperie in the suburbs. It is a fantastic little place, and if you ever have reason to be in that part of the Chicago suburbs, you should go.

But they have a gluten-free menu. And they make crepes from buckwheat. I found out while talking to the chef that the buckwheat isn’t a strange ingredient in Brittany, it is actually a traditional way to make a savory crepe.

savory buckwheat crepe with poached egg, chevre and home made ketchup

Sabina ordered her crepe complete, and I had mine with ratatouille. Then we had a dessert version with Nutella. The earthy, nutty flavor of the buckwheat stood up to the complex flavors of the savory fillings and was complemented by the nutty chocolate of the Nutella.

I had to make them for myself because even when I go to visit Blondie, the creperie is a bit of a drive.

I made some galletes de sarrasin for breakfast this morning and filled them with a poached egg, chevre and some home-made ketchup. Then I had a second with blueberry ginger syrup. It was a good Sunday.

Galettes de Sarrasin – Buckwheat Crepes
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Breakfast
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 6
These crepes have an earthy and nutty flavor.
  • 120 grams (1 cup) buckwheat flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • teaspoon salt
  1. Combine the eggs and water and then add the flour and salt. Make sure everything is well mixed.
  2. Cover and let rest for at least 1 hour. (I put mine in the fridge over night).
  3. Heat a small skillet over high heat. You want the pan very hot.
  4. Once the pan is hot, add a small amount of butter (a thin slice) to the pan. Once it is melted, take a paper towel and swirl the butter around. (You can use tongs to hold the paper)
  5. Lower the heat to medium-high. Pour about 1/6 cup of batter and tilt the pan to coat the bottom with the batter. You need to move quickly to do this.
  6. Cook the crepe for 1-2 minutes. Once the shine is gone from the batter being wet, it is ready to flip.
  7. Cook for an additional minute or so on the second side.
  8. Stack the crepes on a plate in a warm oven until you are ready to serve.

Add a teaspoon of sugar if you want to make sweet crepes. If you don’t like that strong of a buckwheat flavor, you can swap out some of the buckwheat for sorghum or brown rice flour.
If you have extra, you can freeze them on a cookie sheet for about half an hour and then stack them in freezer bags. You will then be able to eat them one at a time.

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ginger bourbon peach pie

Pie party!

ginger bourbon peach pieThere is an internet pie party today. There are nearly 1500 people participating. So, here’s my first ever attempt at pie.

There were peaches at the farmer’s market. I had to wait 20 minutes in line for peaches, now that there is variety (and fruit) there are three times the number of people shopping at the market, and they were the first peaches of the season.

I give you Sweet Champaign Pie. (Have you seen the movie Waitress? It came out 4 years ago. The main character makes pie and names them after what is going on in her life.) It is made with bourbon soaked peaches and ginger chips. I found the magic in making pies this weekend. The meditation that comes with making the crust by hand and the satisfaction that comes from eating it while it is still warm enough to be a gooey mess.

Now, of crust is scary, go get a pre-made crust (whole foods sells a decent pre-made one), and make this pie.

Ginger Bourbon Peach Pie
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 15 mins
Serves: 8
Peaches, bourbon, ginger. This is pie for the soul.
  • 15 grams ground flax seeds
  • 45 grams brown rice flour
  • 45 grams sweet white sorghum flour
  • 30 grams sweet rice flour
  • 20 grams tapioca starch
  • 20 grams corn starch
  • 1 stick butter, frozen
  • 1 tablespoon vodka, ice cold
  • 1/4 cup ice water
  • 4 cups sliced peaches
  • 1/2 cup crystallized ginger chips
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
  1. Make the crust: Whisk together your flours for the crust in a large mixing bowl. Grate the frozen butter into the flours using a cheese grater or microplane. Using a pastry blender, make sure your flours and butter are well mixed. It should look like mildly clumpy sand. Add the vodka. Pour in the water a little at a time, mixing with a spatula. As soon as the dough starts to come together, stop mixing. Pat into a disk about 4″ in diameter, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about 30 mins.Once chilled, roll out your dough to about 1/4″ thick.Place in pie pan and smooth to corners. Trim over hang and crimp edges. Pop in the freezer while you do the next steps.
  2. Make the filling: While your crust is chilling, pace a cookie sheet on the middle rack of your oven and to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help keep your bottom crust from getting soggy. Mix together peaches, ginger chips, sugars, bourbon and tapioca starch. Let stand for 15 minutes while your oven heats.
  3. Assemble the pie: When your oven is hot, remove the crust from the freezer and scoop filling into the shell. If your peaches have let off a lot of juice, it is ok to leave it in the bowl, you don’t want a soupy mess.
  4. Bake: Place pie on the hot cookie pan in the oven. Bake for 40-50 mins. You know it is done when the filling is boiling. Let stand for 2 hours.
  5. Scoop the filling into your cold pie shell

These directions are for making the dough by hand, if you have a food processor the dough comes together quite a bit quicker.

Don’t have a scale? Use 1 1/4 cups of a commercial all purpose blend.

Can’t do bourbon? Substitute 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract for the bourbon.

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gluten free margherita lasagna

Margherita Lasagna

gluten free margherita lasagnaI have been making pasta almost obsessively over the past 2 weeks. But really, I was getting bored with noodles and sauce. Also, it is summer and most lasagna recipes are too hearty and heavy for the warm months.

But I had fresh pasta dough. And I had 6 servings ready to freeze individually for those nights when cooking feels like a mountain I don’t want to climb. What was I going to do with the rest? Lasagna noodles! I hadn’t made lasagna since I made this butternut squash lasagna (just a picture – I wasn’t writing my recipes out last fall). Lasagna is easy & filling.

This one is great with Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce. It is tomato, onion and butter. If the sauce has too much seasoning, you won’t taste the flavors of the tomato, basil & mozzarella, so a simple sauce is best. You need to make sure that you are either using fresh pasta or boiled boxed noodles, even if they say they are no-boil, for this recipe they need to be cooked.

I made lasagna in a loaf pan, I know, not a traditional route. But it helps control the proportions and bakes up quite nicely. I will also share my fresh pasta recipe with you on Wednesday. And yes, it is worth the wait.

Margherita Lasagna
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4
With minimal sauce and juicy, fresh tomatoes, this lasagna is a perfect way to use tomatoes & basil plucked fresh from your garden.
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 6-8 lasagna noodles (either fresh or halfway cooked)
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3 small tomatoes, sliced in 1/4″ rounds
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 package fresh mozzarella
  1. Grease a loaf pan with the olive oil.
  2. Put a spoonful of sauce on the bottom of the pan and spread it.
  3. Place a noodle, another spoonful or two of sauce, then add a thin layer of cheese, a sprinkling fresh basil and then a row of tomato slices.
  4. Repeat until the pan is full.

The goal is to avoid an overly saucy lasagna. The tomatoes will have plenty of moisture, the sauce is just to enhance the tomato flavor. I make large batches of Marcella Hazan’s tomato sauce and keep it around.

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I am also on this kick to not buy anything that comes with a label, rather, nothing that comes prepared and ready to eat. I know there will be nights where

Socca Gluten Free Chickpea Crepe

Socca with sage brown butter

Socca Gluten Free Chickpea CrepeThis is winning. Crunchy & creamy. Smoky & herby. A giant plate of yum. And it is fairly healthy, naturally gluten free and French. Maybe it is good because it is French (call it Farinata or Popodum and it just isn’t going to be as delicious). And, it is healthy. The whole recipe has about 1200 calories (until you add the butter) and makes about 6 servings.

Somehow when I was in Nice I didn’t eat this. I didn’t learn what this was until last summer and I didn’t make it for the first time until February. And then I let the chickpea flour hide in the back of my cabinet until I found it during my spring cleaning.

Socca cut in squaresNow, I know some purists will tell you to eat it plain. And that is all fair and good. The flavor of the chickpeas stands out. Have a glass of white wine and munch on this on your porch while chatting away with an old friend. The next time you make it, have it for dinner with sage brown butter. Or hummus. Or feta and roasted peppers. If you can’t have beans (I’m looking at you, Dad), make it with quinoa or millet flour. Maybe even buckwheat. Skillet crepes. From the oven. Smoky. Crispy. Simple.

Oh, and make sure you use the French name, Socca. You will sound sophisticated that way.

Socca with sage brown butter
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Side
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 45 mins
Serves: 6
This is a traditional Provencal (or Italian) dish. This is the result of experimenting with various methods and seasoning. I took a cue from David Lebovitz and added cumin.
  • 250g (2 cups) Chickpea (garbanzo/gram/besan) flour.
  • 2 – 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon + 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Sea salt for topping
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  1. Whisk together chickpea flour, 2 cups of water, salt, cumin and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until smooth. If the batter is too thick, add more water.
  2. Heat oven to 500 degrees farenheit with rack as high as it will go.
  3. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a seasoned cast iron skillet and heat in the oven for 5 minutes.
  4. Once skillet is hot, remove it from the oven and pour in about 1 cup of the batter.
  5. Put it in the oven and turn the temperature to broil (high broil if your oven has it). After about 5 minutes, the socca will be dry around the edges and will have started to blister and get dark in places. Remove it from the oven, it should come right out. If it still stuck, give it a few more minutes.
  6. Repeat this step until each socca is cooked. Sprinkle cooked socca with sea salt.
  7. Once socca are cooked, melt butter in a heavy bottomed skillet. Add sage once melted. Cook until the butter is turning brown and smells fragrant and nutty.
  8. Drizzle over socca when served.

Your batter should be pretty thin, if it is too thick, add more water. You want it to be about the consistency of crepe batter, maybe a little thinner.

Be creative here, the gluten isn’t what holds these together, so any strongly flavored, whole grain flour should work. Also, you can add herbs directly to the batter if you would like.

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Stove top mozzarella mac

This is not my best photo. I was in a hurry. I was hungry.

That said, I found myself in a bit of a pickle. In fact, it was worse of a pickle than normal. I had a fridge full of nothing to eat and a dad who had driven me from Chicago to Champaign for the bajillionth time this year and he was in the garden pulling weeds (and scolding me for planting cilantro where he told me he had planted the beans, oops).  I had to make dinner. I couldn’t let my dad go hungry.

My fridge had: caramel sauce, 3 bottles of beer, mustard, jelly, half a bag of shredded mozzarella, eggs, milk, yogurt and cilantro. This is not the stuff of great recipes. It is the stuff of a single girl who had not been home all weekend. I couldn’t let my dad go hungry. I found myself wishing that I had cheddar cheese and evaporated milk to make Alton Brown’s stove-top mac and cheese. I couldn’t get mac and cheese out of my head, no matter how many things I pulled out of the cabinets, nothing else sounded good. Or wouldn’t kill my dad.

So, out of desperation was born a new favorite around here.

Stove-top Mozzarella Mac
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 4
Inspired by/ adapted from Alton Brown’s Stove-top mac & cheese.
  • 8 ounces gluten free pasta
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/8 cup whole milk
  • 2 T butter
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1 can fire-roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 t granulated garlic
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  1. Boil pasta & drain. Return to pot.
  2. Whisk together egg, milk, yogurt & granulated garlic.
  3. Put pot on low burner and add the butter. Stir until butter is melted.
  4. Stir in egg mixture & shredded cheese until a uniform sauce is made. It will be stringy & thick.
  5. Stir in tomatoes & season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Chai Cream Puffs

Ratio Rally: Pâte à Choux

cream puuffsgluten free ratio rally logoI am a joiner. And this time it was for something really great – the blogging event started by Shauna at GlutenFreeGirl – the Gluten Free Ratio Rally. It is all about the relationship between the ingredients. It gives you freedom to just cook. And bake. We start with a ratio for a well known (& loved) product and go from there.

This month’s rally was Pâte à Choux. A perfect opportunity to indulge in French pastry. I adore french pastries. (Okay, I adore all pastries). This particular technique for pastry dough has many applications – from sweet to savory, I had to stop myself from cooking myself into a sugar coma. After reading up on the dough, I found out that there are so many different things that you can make with this dough. There were the usual: eclairs, gougeres and profiteroles (cream puffs), the extravagant: croquembouche (a large number or profiteroles) and St. Honoré Cake, the surprising: churros and the one I had never heard of and absolutely had to make and make my own: Marillenknödel.

Chai Cream Puffs

I needed to start with the basic Pâte à Choux. The ratio here is 2:1:1:2. 8 ounces liquid, 4 ounces fat, 4 ounces flour, 4 eggs (8 ounces). Simple math and stunning results.  Getting this dough right, once you understand what is happening, is simple (although easy to mess up). This recipe works in traditional baking, not because of gluten, but because of the starches and the eggs. Like all baking (especially pastries) it is important that you pay close attention to what you are doing. There are a very specific chain of chemical reactions taking place.

This mix works because there is a good mix of starches & whole grains. If you need to know what flours to swap for (the brown rice & sorghum are whole grains, the sweet white rice and tapioca are starches), you can reference this chart. Only replace starches with starch and grains with grains for predictable results.

If you want to read about my foray into German apricot dumplings, read part 2 of this post.

A special thanks to Erin at the Sensitive Epicure for hosting this month’s event!

And here is a list of this month’s participants:

[box type=”info”]If you have never baked by weight, I encourage you to try it. Scales can be obtained relatively inexpensively and help you to achieve consistent results in your baking. [/box]

Gluten Free Pate a Choux with Chai Pastry Cream
#ratingval# from #reviews# reviews
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Mary Fran Wiley
Prep time: 60 mins
Cook time: 40 mins
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
Serves: 24
Cream Puffs with a spicy twist
  • 8 oz (by weight) whole milk (a scant cup)
  • 4 oz (1 stick) butter
  • 1.2 oz sorghum flour
  • 1.2 oz brown rice flour
  • 8 oz tapioca flour
  • 8 oz sweet rice flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon xantham gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
  • 21/4 cups milk
  • 2 T loose chai tea
  • 4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  1. Make the choux: Whisk flours, cardamom & xantham gum together. Boil milk, butter & salt. Reduce heat to medium and add the flour all at once. Stir until ingredients start to pull away from the sides of the pot. Remove from heat & put in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next one. Chill the dough covered for at least half an hour.
  2. Make the chai milk: Simmer the milk and chai over medium-low heat for 20 mins, stirring occasionally. Strain milk into measuring cup, discarding any extra.
  3. Make your puffs: Preheat oven to 425 degrees.Spoon small mounds of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 mins and then reduce temperature and bake for another 20 mins. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 mins. Poke a hole in the bottom (with a skewer and transfer to a cooling rack.
  4. Prepare the pastry cream. While the puffs are cooling. whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Stir in 1/2 cup of the milk. Blend yolks into the mixture, stirring until smooth. Prepare an ice bath (a very large bowl filled with ice & water – it should be a bowl that the sauce pan you are using does not quite fit in). Combine remaining milk (1 1/2 cups), salt and sugar (1/2 cup) in a medium sized sauce pan (non-reactive is ideal). Bring to a boil over medium heat while stirring constantly. Temper the egg mixture with about 1/3 of the hot milk (you have to whisk constantly – you do not want to cook the eggs unevenly) Add egg mixture to remaining milk mixture and return the pan to the heat. Continue to cook over medium heat, vigorously stirring with a whisk until the mixture boils and a trail forms after the whisk, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer pan to the ice bath and stir occasionally until the pastry cream is cool.
  5. Assemble the puffs. Once everything is cool, slice the top third off of your puffs and pipe in the pastry cream. Melt white chocolate in the microwave on medium power, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Replace tops and drizzle with white chocolate. Share.

To cook by volume: use 1 cup of sifted flour. No tapping of the measuring cup. You want 4 ounces of flour, which is the average weight of a cup of cake flour. You want 7/8 cups of whole milk.

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