Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Gluten-free Pecan Pie

If I had to choose one dessert that reminds me most of the Lone Star State, it'd be pecan pie. Unlike a lot of pies that require cooling before eating, pecan pie is delicious right out of the oven with ice cream (especially if you've got vanilla ice cream nearby).

Gooey, warm, molassesy, nutty... Molassesy? That's how I'd describe this pie. I used two somewhat different ingredients for the filling. Instead of using light brown sugar, I used dark brown sugar (more molasses). Instead of using regular corn syrup, I used dark corn syrup.

Ack! Corn syrup? I'll be honest. I've tried pecan pies without it and I personally find that it adds something to the texture of the filling. I tried the filling in this pie recipe and liked it, but wanted to go a little darker. I like dark chocolate and I like dark pecan pies. If you like toffee and molasses, you'll enjoy the warmer flavors in this pecan pie. Even gluten eaters gave it two thumbs (or forks) up! :) Actually, my husband gave it two spoons up because he likes to eat pie with a spoon.

Say a little prayer for Texas as you devour your next slice of pecan pie. It's a little more than hot out here, especially with all these fires! Maybe if we all do a rain dance together this drought will come to an end!

For the pie crust:
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp xanthan gum
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons shortening, cubed
4 tablespoons cold butter, cold and cubed

Combine all dry ingredients. Next add the vanilla, butter and shortening. Time to get your hands dirty! Fold everything in. Then add the water towards the end. Shape dough into a ball. You can chill it or work with it as is. I like to roll it between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Because gluten-free dough isn't as elastic, don't roll out the pie dough too thin. Instead, roll it out up to 1/2 inch thick. Then place it in a greased pie pan. From there I do the repairs. This dough is resilient so you can easily shape it or pull off a piece here and there if there are areas that need more dough. Think of yourself as an artist working with clay :).

Pecan Pie Filling:
1 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon water
3 teaspoons corn starch
3 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2-3/4 cups pecans

This is the easy part! Slowly melt the butter in a pan. Mix the corn starch and water together in a small cup/bowl. Add the brown sugar to the melted butter--stir well. Next, add the corn starch, then stir in the corn syrup and everything but the eggs and pecans. Move it away from the flame. Allow it to cool for just a minute. Mix eggs together in a bowl and slowly pour the eggs in with the rest of the melted filling, then mix in the pecans.

Pour the filling into the pie. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, covered with the pie crust protector and aluminum foil (or just foil). Bake with coverings for 45 minutes. Then remove all the aluminum/pie crust cover and bake 10-15 more minutes, or until slightly browned on edges. Allow the pie cool for just a bit when it's done so that it sets.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Maple Butter Balls

I think I just heard a pin drop, or maybe that was the tiny cry of an enraged sugar ant protesting my absence from the kitchen. He's on strike because the countertops have been free of cookie, cake, pie, and pastry crumbs for much too long.

That's changing, though. These toasty summer days here in Texas aren't keeping me away any longer. We've said goodbye to our old place in Boston, and now we're settled in our new home here in the Lone Star State--this oven's still too shiny, not enough charred pie filling stuck to the bottom just yet, but we'll change that soon enough.

I've actually started baking already (still, that was a month ago, too long!). Made a pecan pie a few times. Baked a batch of maple multigrain rolls, even. But, of course, I didn't photograph the evidence!

I better have a good excuse for this nonsense!

Though it's been quiet around here, life has been anything but boring. We've had a few adventures, including moving across the country after graduating from law school (my hubby, not me :), learning how to function while waking about 5 times a night (we've got us a night owl ;), also learning how to squeeze in a bazillion chores while also working from home during naptime. Life is full! I feel very blessed. I've missed you all dearly, though!

Can you believe I baked these cookies on March 29th! Talk about a stale recipe! I made them right after we went maple sugaring. Though I will miss Northeastern foodie adventures like that one, I will definitely miss them a little less when I'm not having to shovel snow December-March :D!

If I had to choose a favorite flavor, maple would be it! I've always found that baking with maple gives desserts a buttery kind of sweetness that reminds me of fall.

Maple Butter Balls
1/2 cup sweet sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour (I think Bob's has the best texture)
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup white rice flour
3 1/2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 large egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup
3 tablespoons maple sugar, for rolling and more for sprinkling after

Makes about 24 balls
I like to mix up all the flours in a large bowl with the salt. Then in another smaller bowl, I add the wet ingredients, including the maple syrup and the sugar. The Maple sugar is for sprinkling on top of the cookies.

Bake on a greased cookie sheet (you don't have to space them apart too much) in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 13 minutes, sugar will be a bit browned on top when they're done.

They'll be a little soft right when you take them out, so let them cool on the baking sheet for about 7 minutes.