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Gluten Free Choux Pastry for Doughnuts and Cream Puffs

December 3, 2011 - 12:58 pm

I published a teaser for this some months ago when we made the first batch of cream puffs.  It’s taken a few tries- oh, ok, quite a few tries- to get this down to a simple and repeatable experience anyone in the house can make.

The biggest issue was a procedure problem with the starter recipe, which had us use a food processor instead of a stand mixer for the final mixing.  This inevitably ended with batter going into the center hole of the food processor and making an icky mess that was devilish to clean up.  In frustration we tried working the whole thing in the stand mixer, and it worked fine!  One less appliance to clean, and an icky mess averted.

The base recipe here is for something called a choux pastry.  It’s one of the oldest recipes for a pastry dough, dating back to 1840.  This pastry is the basis for many sweet pastries, including cream puffs, profiteroles, beignets, crueller style doughnuts, eclairs, and churros.

The dough itself isn’t sweet however, and can be used for many applications.  It can be wrapped around cheese to melt in the baking, used as buns for sandwiches of various sorts, and David has all sorts of ideas for savory applications.

Today I’m publishing the cream puff shells.  I’ll add the doughnuts in a day or so.

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Recipe for Choux Pastry, baked into shells

Equipment:

  • Large baking sheet
  • Slipat mat or parchment paper
  • Stand mixer

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sorghum flour
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca flour
  • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum

Egg Mixture:

  • 2 large eggs + 1 egg white (or more, for 3/4 c.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

Heated Wet Ingredients:

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons half n’ half

Prep:

  • Preheat oven to 425ºF, and line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper and set aside.
  • Set up Stand Mixer with paddle or dough hook.  Leave standing ready with lid removed in a place convenient to the stove.

Directions:

In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix well.

Break eggs into a measuring cup, adding whites until 3/4C egg, then whisk them.  Add baking powder, and whisk some more.  The egg will develop weird lumps; it’s supposed to do that.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, water, half n’ half, sugar and salt over a medium-low flame until the butter has melted completely and the mixture has just come to a gentle boil.

Add the dry ingredients and stir, scraping bottom and sides, until the dough has collected into a single lump.

Immediately transfer dough to the stand mixer, and pulse for at least 20 seconds to cool.

Pour egg mixture slowly into the stand mixer while it’s running.  Continue blending until you have a thick, smooth sticky paste: a minute or so.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet; the recipe should make about 12.  Flatten and smooth the puffs into the shape you want.  Long and skinny for éclairs, or round for puffs.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425ºF, then lower oven temperature to 375ºF and bake for 10 minutes more.  NOTE: opening the door to the oven will cause the puffs to collapse.  Resist the temptation.

Makes 12 large cream puffs.

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Gluten Free Blueberry Coffee Cake Recipe

October 30, 2011 - 12:28 pm

At the end of the summer, Zachary and I spent an afternoon at Heather’s house picking apples, plums and blackberries.  The plums and blackberries were frozen and the apples became apple sauce.

The apple sauce is long since consumed, and the plums are being saved for trifles in mid-winter when we need a taste of summer so badly.  I’ve been saving the blackberries as well, but today it was cold.  Cold cold cold.  And I wanted to taste summer, in a warm coffee cake.  I took a blueberry coffeecake recipe I’ve used in the past, subbed in blackberries, and this is what I got:

Blackberry Coffee Cake

Let’s look at that a bit more closely, shall we?

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When I cut into it, the berries oozed out and the crumb was perfect.  It was every bit as delicious as I imagined.

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Look at the crumb and the berries:

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Nom.

Ingredients:

dry:

  • 1/2 C sorghum flour
  • 1/2 C oat flour
  • 1/2 C arrowroot flour
  • 1/2 C corn flour
  • 1t xanthan gum
  • 2T buttermilk powder (optional)
  • 1/2 t salt

wet:

  • 2/3 C sucanat
  • 1/2 stick of softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 C milk
  • 1 1/2 C berries

crumb topping:

  • 5 T cold butter, sliced
  • 1/2 C rice flour
  • 2/3 C brown sugar
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t salt

optional: powdered sugar for dusting

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 square pan or bundt pan with non-stick spray.

In a medium bowl combine dry ingredients.  Whisk together so they are well blended.

In a medium mixing bowl or stand mixer cream sucanat and butter for 3 – 4 minutes until light colored and fluffy.

Add egg and vanilla, and cream for 2 more minutes.

Add dry ingredients and mi on low to just combine.

Add half the milk in a steady stream, and mix on low to combine.  Continue adding small amounts and mixing until a thick batter is formed.  Turn up mixer speed and beat until fluffy.

Switch to the paddle attachment or use a large spoon to fold in the blackberries until they are well distributed.  Transfer batter to the prepared pan.

In a food processor or by hand mix the crumb topping ingredients.  This will be a lumpy mix; combine until the butter is well distributed in the dry ingredients.

If using a bundt pan, depress a trench in the middle of the dough and spoon the crumb topping into it.  It’s easier to remove the coffee cake if the crumb topping doesn’t contact the edges of the pan.  If using a square pan distribute the crumb evenly over the surface.

Bake for approximately 60 minutes, checking at 45 minutes and every 5 – 10 minutes after.  It can be hard to determine doneness because the berries will coat a knife.  If the center appears solid when the pan is shaken the cake is done.  If you are concerned, insert a knife in the center and gently pull back to look at the texture of the cake; you should see cake crumb and not batter.

Remove from the oven and allow it to rest for 5 minutes, then turn the bundt pan out on a plate, or serve the square pan out in cubes.  Garnish with sifted powdered sugar, and enjoy!

Gluten free Buckwheat Pancakes

June 27, 2011 - 10:15 am

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Gluten-Free Buttermilk Pancakes

(feeds about 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 C buckwheat
  • 1/2 C masa harina (fine ground corn flour)
  • 1/4 C sorghum flour
  • 2 T sucanat (brown sugar will work)
  • 2 T buttermilk powder (optional)
  • 1/4 t xanthan gum
  • 1.5 T baking powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C milk (goats milk works fine, and water can be subbed for the dairy free.)
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 large or 2 small apples, or a cup of blueberries

Directions:

Combine dry ingredients.

Beat eggs, then add milk & oil.

Combine dry & wet until fairly smooth, then leave it sit for at least 15, probably 20 minutes. The waiting is important, I promise, or they won’t be fluffy.

If you’re adding apples, peel them and slice it into very thin slices– as thin as you can.  If you’re adding blueberries wash them and set them close to where you’re cooking.

Stir up the batter after its rested.  If it seems thick, add water, a little at a time, until it is thick but will pour.

Heat a skillet and brown butter in it. Add a little cooking spray, maybe, to make sure the pan is coated with oil.

Drop some batter in the pan and smooth it out a little– it will be too thick to spread on its own.

If you wish, you can lay apple slices into the batter to mostly cover it, or scatter some blueberries over the top.

Cook pancake on medium heat until bubbles form and then break on the surface.

Flip the pancake and cook until done.

Serve and enjoy!

Note: If you have leftover batter, it will keep nicely in the fridge.

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