Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gluten-Free Apple Turnovers

I know I'm supposed to be sharing a recipe for coconut maple rice krispies treats...but I'm more excited about this recipe :)!  Pastry isn't a word you hear a lot in gluten-free circles, but I hope that changes soon.  I know those wonderfully buttery, flaky layers of carby goodness aren't easy to come by without gluten...but I don't want to say it's impossible to make a flaky gluten free pastry.  Because, dang it, I got pretty darn close... Just look at that pic!!!  How close?  So close that a friend (who doesn't eat gluten free) said SHE COULDN'T TELL THAT THESE APPLE TURNOVERS WERE GLUTEN FREE!!!

Heck yes, now that IS music to my ears, take that SXSW (sidenote: we're in austin and this was a very musical city last week :).  We had some leftover "pastry dough" that I used to make mini cinnamon sugar twists, and my 1 year old gobbled them up.  That's why they aren't pictured here ;).

I've got another gluten-free pastry recipe 'round here.  It's a couple years old.  I scaled down that recipe and modified it a bit.  So here's something new and butterfully amazing for you to sink your teeth into this weekend.  Oh, please make them and tell me how you like them!  I promise, if you do, I will never have to beg you to make them again, this recipe will become a staple ;).

One of these days I will post that rice krispies recipe I owe you...and I know I still have to make that fried chicken, dear reader who asked about it, I promise I haven't forgotten.  But when your entire household just got over the flu, pastries are called for.

I'll be back soon!  :)

Gluten-Free Apple Turnovers

For the flour mixture:
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sweet sorghum flour
2 tablespoons potato starch
3 tablespoons almond meal
1 tsp xanthan gum
3/4 tsp sea salt

A few tablespoons of corn starch to work with the dough
1 stick butter, cut up into small cubes to combine with 1/3 cup reserved flour (see below)

The wet ingredients and sugar:
1 large egg, at room temp
1/4 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar

The yeasty ingredients:
2 tablespoons warm water
1 yeast packet

The filling:
2 granny smith apples, peeled and slice up into small 3/4 in. cubes (you want them to fit into small pastry squares)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp all spice
pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Make the filling: 
After prepping the apples, combine all the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and add the corn starch last (that's the thickener.  You can let these sit out while you do prep the pastry dough.
First start by mixing all your dry ingredients together until they're well combined.  Next, you're going to RESERVE 1/3 CUP OF THAT FLOUR MIXTURE TO MAKE YOUR BUTTERY LAYERS.
(technical term is absent from my mind right now, I know it's a french word, and I will probably misspell it so you'll have to deal with my "buttery layers" term instead.)

Fold the butter into the reserved 1/3 cup of flour until and form it into a nice buttery cube.  Stick this in the fridge.

Next, combine the "wet ingredients and sugar" with the remaining flour (the larger quantity you didn't just combine with the butter ;)

Proof the yeast in the warm water, then add this to the bowl with the flour and wet ingredients.  If you've got a standing mixer, now's the time to fold this together.

I let this dough sit in a covered, warm area for about twenty minutes.

Next, you're going to have to be really patient (this is the hardest part) because you're going to fold that refrigerated doughy butter cube into the dough that was rising for 20 minutes. This is how you'll do that (I THINK THIS BLOG HAS GREAT PICS ON HOW TO DO THAT CLICK HERE TO SEE IT):

Get some parchment paper or foil and place it on the counter, along with a rolling pin.  Sprinkle a generous amount of corn starch onto your work surface and the rolling pin.  Roll it into a rectangle as best you can.  It should be about 1/2-3/4 of an inch thick (THIS IS THICKER THAN TRADITIONAL DOUGH WITH GLUTEN, BECAUSE GLUTEN-FREE DOUGH ISN'T AS FLEXIBLE :).

Next, place your butter cube in the center of that rectangle of dough.  You're going to create an envelope out of the dough by bringing that top part of the dough toward you and covering the butter square, then tucking the bottom half of the rectangle over that layer so that the butter square is covered by the top and bottom half of the dough. Now, roll over this creation so that it's about 3/4 of an inch thick, and fold the left side over the right side and roll it very lightly.  NOW PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE FOR 30 minutes and REPEAT 2 MORE TIMES AFTER THIS.

Side note: I know this is time consuming, but I'm giving you permission to eat all of these pastries the first time as a reward for all your hard work!  Or, if your family and friends threaten to steal them all before you can take a bite, just take a picture and frame the masterpiece, because that's kinda what I wanted to do after all that.

After you've done all that waiting and rolling and folding, you can get to the next step, the fun part: Get a fresh piece of parchment and foil, sprinkle (aka a handful) cornstarch over your work surface and get ready to roll..just one more time. Shape that buttery dough into a rectangle, as best you can and use a pizza cutter or buttered knife to create 8 squares.  Fill them with as much apple filling as you want (try not to add too much juice because it will spill over and burn the bottoms of the pastry).  Give them an egg wash or dress them with more melted butter, and sprinkle with some turbinado sugar.  Now, one more waiting session: let them rise for about 30 minutes.

Next, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let them cool for a bit.

FINALLY, Enjoy your buttery creations without missing the gluten, that's the easiest part :)!

And of course, feel free to email me with any questions, friends.  Happy baking!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gluten Free Multigrain Bread (that rises beautifully!)

For years, I have been trying to find (and make) a gluten-free bread with a deep, rustic flavor, and that actually RISES.   On cold days, I wanted soup and this kind of dreamy rustic bread for a hearty sandwich or just a slab of creamy butter. It was a craving for oh sooo long!  For years, so many loaves of bread ended up in the trash because they either had a beany taste, or they got stale before we got a chance to finish them (they were forgotten about and still aren't worth remembering).  Bean flours. Yuck.  I see them used in many bread recipes that come with a guarantee to rise.  But that bean taste... blah!  I just can't get over it.  I even tried using just 1/4 cup of bean flour (garfava, to be exact) in a recent recipe and I could still taste it at the end.  Bean there, done that?

The funny thing is?  I LOVE BEANS.  Just not in bread.  I love beans so much I used to crave them when I was pregnant with my first daughter; my husband and I used to joke that we'd call her Frijolina.  If you speak spanish, or if you know how to use a handy online translator, you'll know that frijole means bean.  Yes, that was my firstborn's first nickname, when she was about the size of a bean in my tummy when we lived in Beantown (true store, remember Boston?).  See, I love beans!  Just. Not. In. Bread!!!!  Of course, I do have a health conscious husband who's always keeping me up to date on the latest in health news, and he claims (after reading this reputable book)  that beans are actually not all that healthy for you, anyway (and that white rice is actually one of the safer starches... shocker!).  Some folks like to soak beans in vinegar to help get rid of the toxins... but, I digress!  Just wanted to give you the lowdown on beans and my complicated relationship with them.

Now, my health-conscious blog readers, I know!  Dun, dun, dun... I used xanthan gum!  Ack!  Shouldn't I be using something more healthy like chia seed or flax?  Well, truthfully?  I've experimented with them and they alone don't provide enough of the "oomph" required for a generous rise.  So, now you're probably wondering why I'm not using that lovely fiber supplement known as psyllium husk with or instead of the seeds.  Well, I don't plan on co-partnering with Charmin or any of their toilet paper competitors, so I'll just save you and me a few trips to the bathroom and stick with xanthan.  The amount of fiber required to provide the lift I'm looking for is quite high.  A few folks who've transitioned to using fiber as their "gluten-free glue" claim that it takes some getting used to and can cause GI upset.  But, for kicks, I actually tried using acacia fiber which is a fiber I am familiar with, and is similar to psyllium.  It's actually a more "gentle" fiber, in my humble opinion.  I've never had a bad reaction to it.  It did produce a bread with a pretty good rise, but, alas, xanthan is still the best.  Yes, it is a manipulated corn derivative, so use it sparingly--or not at all if you have an allergy, and do opt for the fiber in that case...but I recommend the acacia fiber for starters.  I, personally, do not react poorly to xanthan, and the quantity I use is so small that I don't mind sticking with it, no pun intended...(xanthan makes things so sticky!).

But the beauty of sharing recipes is that YOU can make them your own by experimenting.  Feel free to use this recipe and switch out the xanthan for fiber and let me know how it works!

I will still be experimenting with this recipe myself, but for a good reason.  What is it?  Well, this bread kinda rose so high that it started overflowing in the tiny glass baking dish I used.  Next time, I'll use a standard bread pan (I am so used to gluten free bread not rising that I didn't anticipate the overflow). My bread pan runneth over with gluten-free goodness, does yours? ;)  Also, I wanna try to make rolls with it at some point, but I think that would require a bit less liquid, maybe one less egg.  Anyhow, feel free to experiment with this recipe...but I do recommend trying it as-is at least once, because it would be delicious with a bowl of soup on a cold night like tonight.

I've got some exciting recipes to come! As soon as my kiddos get over the flu, I will be working on a fried chicken recipe.  Yes, the flu!  Dang, and I thought March was a time for flowers and sunshine, and as I write this there's thunder outside, a winter weather advisory in effect, and two kiddos ready to feel better! Last night, after a long day of caring for two sick babes, I needed something sweet and comforting so I made some delicious maple coconut rice krispies treats with the simplest ingredients (we'll just call them brown rice cereal treats ;).  They'll be up next!

Gluten Free Multigrain bread (THAT RISES and doesn't taste like beans! ;)
1 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup potato starch
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup millet flour
2 TBSP almond meal
3 tsp dry milk powder
3 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
pumpkin seeds, if you want (I topped the bread with a sprinkle of Bob's rice cereal, pumpkin seeds, and poppy seeds for texture)

1 fast acting yeast packet combined with 1/4 cup warm water

1 3/4 cups hot water
3 TBSP grade b maple syrup
2 large eggs at room temperature

1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a standing mixer until well combined.  

2. In another small bowl, proof that 1/4 cup warm water with the fast acting yeast.

3. Combine the eggs with the dry flour mixture, add the hot water and the maple syrup.  Mix for about a minute in the standing mixer (at about a medium speed), then add the proofed yeast. 

4. "Pour" batter-like dough into a well-greased bread pan (I used a glass pyrex medium bread pan, but that was a bit small :) -- the bread dough, before rising, already filled the pan.  Next time I'm going to use a pan that leaves about 1/4 in of space from the top).  Smooth top with wet fingers and sprinkle with your favorite seeds/nuts/oats.