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As it is with baking in the kitchen here at home I am always trying new ideas. This gluten free chocolate cake was a big hit back in September. So I changed things up a bit and worked in some fresh pears and pistachios. The cake again was really nice, but I didn’t want to revisit my failed attempt at making a Swiss buttercream just yet, to frost and decorate. The next best thing…trifles!

 

There are times I leave out the frosting and go for glazes or creams. With a few easy ingredients and some cute glasses, these trifles assemble quickly, sadly they disappear too fast.  I now realize I should have spooned some chocolate glaze on them. With extra cake always around, there will definitely be some next time.

 

Soft whipped cream, tender chocolate cake and ripe pears… yum.

This chocolate cake recipe can be used for whole cakes, cupcakes, mini chocolate loaves, etc. It is very versatile, moist, and has beautiful texture. I think you will just love this recipe.

Have a great start to your week!

 

Chocolate Pear Cake Recipe [makes one 8 inch round]

 

¾ cup g/f baking mix*

1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted

¼ cup pistachio flour [-or- use more g/f mix]

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon cardamom

¼ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

½ cup dark brown sugar

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

 

2 eggs

1/3 cup buttermilk

1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

 

2 large firm pears, peeled, cored and grated

 

Preheat oven to 350°F

Butter and line an eight inch cake pan.

 

1. Whisk together g/f baking mix, cocoa powder, pistachio flour, spices, baking soda and sea salt. Set Aside.

2. Cream together butter and sugar together until light, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk and vanilla.

4. Alternately mix in dry mixture and wet mixture into the creamed butter until fully incorporated.

5. Fold in grated pears and spread into prepared pan.

6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan and invert onto a cooling rack to completely cool.

7. Cut or break cake into bite sized pieces.

*note: If your pears are ripe and very juicy, drain or squeeze out the moisture. This will help the cake from becoming soggy.

 

 

Spiced Pear Recipe

 

4 firm ripe pears

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

1 Tablespoons cane sugar -or- honey
1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

1. Peel, core and chop pears.

2. Melt butter on medium-low heat and add remaining ingredients.

3. Gently sauté until pear are just tender. Cool.

 

to complete trifles:

 

2 cups cream

4 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

 

¼ – ½ cup pistachios, roughly chopped

 

1. Whip cream with sugar until just soft peaks.

2. Layer ingredients: sautéed pears, whipped cream, pistachios, cake.

3. Repeat step 2 until the serving vessel is full then top with whipped cream and pistachios.

Serves 8 portions.

 

Last weekend I was working on a few recipes and one of them was for this sweet treat. In the midst of tackling the weekly dust buffalos at home, I managed to come up with a nice recipe for gluten free galettes.

 

As un-romantic as cleaning sounds, these galettes were perfect for the two of us. Forgive me as I find myself lost in these galettes. Sometimes it’s just the way it goes.

 

As we sat enjoying the galettes, my mind starts to wander off dreaming of new house projects, a new coat of paint for the office, one for the bathroom, a few new furnishings, and of course some new kitchen essentials. I am definitely ready for some bright new kitchen towels, updating some cookware and more baking supplies… where to start?

 

 

Spring is on the way and approaching fast, lists need to be made; paint needs to be bought, projects checked off before gardening and outdoor fun can begin. January and February are still times of nestling away and daydreaming of spring. Certainly a great time to refresh the home where time is still a bit relaxed.

 

Cleaning continues, unfortunately. Each time I passed the galettes, dustpan in hand, I smiled, sneaking another bite. When you’re alone in the kitchen, who’s to see!

 

 

Do you have any favorite desserts for two? I would love to hear about them!

 

Pear-Berry galette Recipe [serves 4]

 

1 cup millet flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

6 Tablespoons confectioner’s sugar

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

½ teaspoon sea salt

 

2 large firm, ripe pears, cored and thinly sliced

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cornstarch

 

1 large egg, beaten

2 Tablespoons granular sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

 

1 Tablespoon finely chopped pistachios

½ cup fresh raspberries

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

preparing the galette dough:

1. Combine millet flour and tapioca flour together, set aside.

2. Cream the butter with the salt and whip in confectioner’s sugar until smooth.

3. Beat in egg yolks and whole egg.

4. Add flour mixture and mix until smooth and dough forms.

5. Press into a flat disc and chill for 4 hours.

 

preparing the fruit filling:

1. Core and slice pears.

2. Combine the granular sugar and cornstarch and toss with pears. Set aside.

 

assembling & baking the galettes:

1. Divide dough into four equal pieces.

2. Roll out each dough piece on a millet floured parchment paper into a rustic circle shape.

3. Place one-fourth of the pears in the center and gather up edges; place on a parchment lined baking sheet.

4. Repeat with remaining dough.

5. Combine the remaining sugar with cinnamon.

5. Brush the dough with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until galettes are lightly golden.

7. Garnish galettes with fresh raspberries and finely chopped pistachios.

 

*note: When working with this gluten-free galette dough, allow the dough to warm up a bit before rolling, as cold dough will crack. Keep the rolling surface well-floured so the dough will not stick to the parchment. This dough is rather soft at room temperature, so if it needs a quick chill down, throw them in the refrigerator for a few minutes and continue. Once you have the time limit down you will enjoy making these as much as I do!

 

*note: If you are not going gluten-free then try this galette dough recipe.

With the snowfall, I wasn’t eager to complete the last remaining chores in the garden; a few shrubs to wrap and clay pots to empty and store. However, remaining indoors I baked up an apple crumble, gluten-free of course. It has been far too long since I have made anything sweet to share and a better activity than spending a long afternoon in the cold weather.

 

What I love about crumbles is their simplicity and how you can use whatever fruit is in season, or a combination of them. For this crumble I added coconut to the topping and threw some almonds in, which gave it a nice crisp texture. Also, one of my favorite herb combinations, thyme and lavender; I added these to the fruit just to flavor the crumble from the usual spices.

 

If you are not used to putting lavender in your recipes, it is a great flavor, but remember that a little lavender goes a long way.

 

Sweet crumbles we all know and love, but are there any savory crumbles out there? I have seen savory cobblers that look intriguing and delicious. As a side dish for dinner they would be a nice bit of change to the table.

 

Apple Coconut Crumble w/ Lavender & Thyme Recipe

 

1 cup g/f baking mix

1/3 cup sliced almonds, chopped

¼ cup granular sugar

¼ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled

 

4 large granny smith apples, peeled, cored & chopped

            -tossed with 1-2 Tablespoons lemon juice

2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted

2 Tablespoons granular sugar

1 teaspoon arrow root powder

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

3 Tablespoons honey

¼ teaspoon lavender buds

¼ teaspoon thyme leaves

 

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

 

preparing the crumb:

1. Combine the gluten-free mix, almonds, sugar, coconut and sea salt together.

2. Incorporate with chilled butter into the flour mix by grating the butter.

*To keep the butter from sticking, coat the butter with the flour mixture and grate a few times. Repeat until all of the butter is grated.

3. Rub the grated butter into the mixture until a coarse meal forms. Chill until ready to bake.

 

preparing the fruit filling:

1. Melt butter in a sauté pan and add apples, toss to coat.

2. While the apples a gently warming up, mix together granular sugar and arrowroot powder.

3. Drizzle honey and herbs over apples; fold in.

4. Add arrowroot mixture and incorporate.

 

baking the crumble:

1. Place apples in an 8×8 baking dish and top with crumble mixture.

2. Bake for approximately 25-45 minutes until filling is bubbling and top has browned.

 

*For individual dessert serving, use various oven safe baking dishes such as ramekins or single serving bowls. A nice dollop of crème fraîche is perfect for this dessert.

Serves 6-8.

 

*Gluten-Free Baking Mix Recipe

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

1 ¼ cups brown rice flour [Use superfine brown rice for a finer texture]

1 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

 

1.   Whisk together all of the ingredients well and store in sealed container.

Makes 4 ½ cups baking mix.

 

Deciding to eat food without gluten [mostly] has been a normal part of cooking the past year. It wasn’t until the thought of creating desserts gluten-free did I start to look around and experiment with different sorts of recipes, one being an all-purpose gluten-free mix. The one being posted here is the most recent baking mix recipe that I find to be delightful, while still mimicking desserts that are with regular flour.

I was very happy making these tartlets and working with the dough. It was surprisingly easier than I thought and better to work with than pâte sucrée with flour. And I just have to say, I love the texture of this crust. They hold up well and have a nice crumb factor.

Here’s to an end of another great autumn month everyone!

 

Gluten-Free Pâte Sucrée Recipe

 

2 cups gluten-free baking mix

6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 large egg

¼ teaspoon sea salt

 

Tart rings used were 2 ½ inches in diameter and 1 inch tall.

 

preparation:

1. Process butter and confectioner’s sugar together until fluffy, 2 minutes.

2. Add egg and sea salt and process for another minute or so.

3. Add g/f flour mix and pulse just until combined, approximately 5 seconds.

4. Dump bowl onto a work surface and knead just to form a ball.

5. Flatten dough and wrap in plastic wrap; chill for 1-2 hours.

6. Cut dough into sixteen portions.

7. Roll out one dough portion at a time to an eighth inch thickness.

8. Line a tartlet ring and place in refrigerator; repeat with remaining dough.

 

Bake @ 350°F from chill for 20-23 minutes or until edges start to turn golden.

Cool for a few minutes in the tart pans, then unmold and cool completely on a cooling rack.

 

*note: You do not need to blind bake these tartlets with beans or pie weights. If the tart dough is thin enough it will look just fine. For a sleeker finish, line tartlets with parchment and fill with weights.

 

Makes 12 tartlets -or- 8-4” tartlets

 

Hazelnut & Caramel Filling Recipe

 

1 cup granular sugar

¼ cup water

 

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

½ cup heavy cream

 

¾ teaspoon fleur de sel

 

2 cups hazelnuts

 

preparing the caramel:

1. Combine sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

2. Using a skewer, swirl the sugar so that is colors evenly.

3. Cook until sugar has turn amber in color and turn off heat.

4. Toss in butter bits and then the heated cream [mixture will violently bubble.]

5. Whisk until smooth and has cooled.

6. Stir in fleur de sel.

Makes 1 ½ cups.

 

preparing the hazelnuts:

 

1. Toast hazelnuts in a 350ºF for 15 minutes.

2. Once hazelnuts have cooled slightly, place between kitchen towels and rub to remove skins.

3. Halve or roughly chop and mix with caramel.

 

Fill prepared tartlets with filling and enjoy!

 

Gluten-Free Baking Mix Recipe

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

1 ¼ cups brown rice flour

1 cup tapioca flour

2 teaspoons xanthan gum

 

1. Whisk everything together in a bowl and store in an airtight container.

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