Gluten Free Granola to Grin Over!

I recently purchased some gluten free granola that Aldi’s sells; their own brand.  It had freeze dried bits of strawberries and raspberries in it.  I ate some last night as a snack, covered with milk.  It was okay but really kinda pale and bland.  I had not planned to re-post my granola recipe so soon but I really think you can make your own gf granola so easily that it is almost criminal to buy the blah, teeth breaking stuff that stores carry for a premium price.  So I am reposting my recipe.  I myself seldom add much fruit to it; it has so much flavor and crunch just as it is that it rarely occurs to me to throw in the dried fruit.  If you are a dried fruit lover; by all means, add it in!  Image

Finding decently tasty and safe-for-me granola seemed impossible once I went gluten free. I have tried a few gf kinds and they were all less than impressive: tough, lacking in flavor and devoid of any fruit. So, in desperation, I took the recipe that my sister makes all the time and modified it slightly. You can change it to suit your pantry and your tastes. It is lovely with milk and frankly divine sprinkled on Greek yogurt or over unsweetened applesauce!

Homemade GF Granola

4 cups old fashioned GF rolled oats

2 cups shredded coconut, (the sweetened kind that comes in a bag)

1 cup sliced almonds or broken pecans/walnuts

1 cup raw sunflower seeds

¾ cup canola oil

½ cup good quality honey

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the oil and honey in a small bowl. Mix the four other ingredients in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Pour over the oil/honey and mix well. Pour onto a full size sheet cookie tray (one that has sides). Spread out to fill the sheet. Bake 35 to 45 minutes, stirring it up a few times, until it is an even golden brown. Remove tray from oven and cool, stirring it occasionally. Store in an airtight container. Note: if you don’t care for sunflower seeds use 2 cups of nuts in any proportion you like.  Be sure to get decent quality honey, I like to get mine at Bechdolt’s Orchard just south of Hellertown on Route 412.  Great flavor and it is the real deal, not watered down or adulterated.

Fruit Additives:

Any combination of the following in these or your own proportions:

1 cup each, diced dried apricots, raisins, dried cherries, dried cranberries, roasted unsalted cashews or any other dried fruit (figs and dates come to mind) totaling about 4 cups. I like to store it without fruit and add them when I am eating it. This way it stays crunchy. I had some this morning with sliced bananas and milk, just a bit of dried cherries added: fabulous flavor.  This batch was made with pecans but any nuts would work well.

I made a batch early this week and put some in a sturdy Tupperware container and froze it. I am not sure how many weeks it will keep on the counter without preservatives but honestly, if real deal granola is sitting around I will be compelled to munch it so I felt it best to store half safely in the freezer out of easy reach! It is rather addictive even all by itself.

Of course, you who can eat gluten just use any old fashioned oatmeal and you will have a fantastic granola for your family to crunch on. Far better than any you can buy and not that expensive compared to store granola especially if you leave off some of the added fruits and nuts. So whip up some granola, it is easy and wickedly tasty.

I found that it kept well in a sealed jar and the rest of it froze fantastically. After my original posting I read somewhere that freezing half your batch is a good idea as it will go stale even stored in a lidded jar.

Originally posted January 2014 on Patch. 

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Shoe Fly Pie to the Rescue!

Sometimes I need a pie and I have no fruit in the house.  What can I make? This is a simple to create pie and very popular in Pennsylvania.  The venerable shoe fly pie…. a Pennsylvania Dutch treat, sweet and crumbly in your mouth.  I took my sister Margie’s recipe that I have used for many years and substituted in my favorite gluten free crust and crumbs.  It worked great and frankly your pie eaters will never know the difference.  Whip some up and your family will be thrilled.  Image

Margie’s Shoe Fly Pie, GF version

Directions 

Make one GF crust; roll out and put in a 9 inch pie pan.  Do not bake.

Crust:

1 c plus 1 tbsp brown rice flour mix (see flour mix recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter; cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions:

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it a bit in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you make the crumbs.  You can use the same mixer bowl and beater without washing them up.

 

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour (make sure it is finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Crumb topping

1 c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

Roll out chilled pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no fat middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, try to get it centered.  Peel off other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  I do like to use a pie crust bag; can get on Amazon or at King Arthur flour (also on line.)  It works far better than wax paper and I get a lovely even thickness of crust.

Put 1/3 of your crumbs (more or less) in the bottom of the crust.  Pour over the hot filling.  Top with the rest of the crumbs.  Don’t press them into the filling. You don’t need to use all the crumbs; up to you.  I do though!

Filling:

1/2 cup molasses

¾ cup boiling water

Scant ¼ tsp cinnamon

½ tsp baking soda    Image

Put all ingredients in a small mixing bowl. It will foam up when you add the baking soda.  Don’t freak out! If you like a dry bottom pie you can leave out ¼ cup of the water.  Up to you…

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes until the crumbs are light brown. Let cool an hour or two before cutting.  I like it with a big glass of milk.

Don’t forget the cinnamon, it makes the filling pop.  Image If the pie sinks a touch while cooling, no big deal, it will still taste fantastic.

This is an easy, tasty, gf, made from scratch pie that you can quickly make with the ingredients in your fridge and pantry.  No need to shop for fruit or other fancy filling ingredients.  You get the accolades for serving this classic without all the work of most fruit pies. Now go make a pie!

Spring is Perfect for Rhubarb Custard Pie

Rhubarb is starting to get plentiful so it was a good choice for my first adapted gluten free pie recipe.

rhubarb pieThis is an easy pie even though it has several steps.  I store any leftover crumb mixture in a sealed container in the fridge; keeps a few weeks.  It is different from the usual rhubarb pie because the texture is a bit closer to a crumb cake, no wet, slimy texture and no ultra sour flavor.  I think this new version tastes as good as it did when I made it with wheat flour.  This GF crust will work for any pie you wish and the GF crumb topping is great for any crumb pie topper.  What I am giving you is my mixture of three recipes with some small modifications over time to create my first GF pie recipe.  I know it has several steps but each one is easy and you can use these crust and crumb recipes for other pies Bake and enjoy!

Angie’s GF Rhubarb Custard Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 1 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

——————

Spray a 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice. Do not leave out the juice; it is critical to the crust texture and structure!  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape the sticky mess into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you chop the rhubarb into ½ inch chunks.

rhubarb

My sister Karen bought me one of those pie crust plastic bag thingies; has a zipper around the edge.  I love it; it works better than wax paper which can get soft and torn as you roll out the crust.  King Arthur Flour sells them on line. I highly recommend you get one for making pie crusts from scratch especially gluten free crust.   pie crust bag

Filling:

4-5 cups cut up fresh rhubarb – place in medium bowl

Mix with dry mix made of

2/3 – 1 c sugar (depends on how sweet you like your pie)

¼ c brown rice flour mix (see below recipe)

½ tsp nutmeg

Sprinkle cinnamon

Roll out pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Fill with dry rhubarb mix.  Pour the following wet mix evenly over this mixture:

Wet mix: 3 eggs beaten lightly with 1/3 c milk (not skim), and ¼ tsp almond extract.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of the pie with the crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I like about 2/3 of the mixture.  Up to your personal taste… It sinks into the rhubarb and wet mixture to create an almost cake like texture and the crumb crust adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 55-60 minutes until bubbly and the crust is light brown.  Cool at least 2 to 4 hours before serving at room temperature.

Brown Rice Flour Mix
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This post was originally published in the late spring of 2013.  I revised it somewhat for this posting.  I have made this pie about 3 or 4 times in the past year to rave reviews.  I knew that I needed to repost it on my new blog here on wordpress. One of my friends had it for dessert at my house and said it was the best pie she had ever eaten, gluten free or not!  I like it because it has a great texture and the flavor is complex but subtly rhubarby.  It isn’t really soft or custardy but more cake-like in texture.

Spring is rhubarb season.  Go forth and make pie!

Pear Split….the New Fruity Ice Creamy Dessert

Who doesn’t love a banana split? I remember when we were first dating Joe and I would often share one for dessert.  I like them not too gunked up with sprinkles and the like but hot fudge is a must on my banana split.  

Sometimes I am not in the mood for bananas and I looked for other fruit to make into an ice cream duet.  One that seems to pair well is the pear! I think a ripe bosc pear is fantastic split in half and made into a modified banana split, sans the banana of course.  Other types of pears would work, just make sure they are at the peak of their flavor and texture.  Image

Here is how I do it.  Take one large ripe pear, cut it in half and then into quarters.  Remove the hard seed area in the fat part of your pear.   You can use a melon baller for this process or a sharp paring knife.  I lay the pear wedges in my chosen dish.  I happen to have a couple of elongated frosted glass dishes with low sides that were made for banana splits. 

Top with 2-3 balls of ice cream.  I like to use vanilla or vanilla fudge but strawberry is also a great choice and if you are a chocoholic, indulge by all means!  Friendly’s makes a fantastic ice cream called “Banana Split” which is three flavors: banana with fudge ripple, chocolate with walnuts folded in and strawberry with flecks of crushed pineapple.  I am guessing it would go rather well in my pear split.

I heat up some hot fudge; there are a number of good jarred hot fudges out there.  Read the label if you are concerned about GF issues.  It would be sad to get sick from such a fantastic dessert.  Put a couple of dollops of it on there.  I also like a delicate stream of Hershey’s chocolate syrup poured over the top.  Image

If you are a lover of nuts; throw on some lightly salted peanuts or what ever floats your boat! Again, check the label for GF safety.

I don’t generally put whipped cream on it anymore, counting my calories but if you must: whip up some heavy cream, add a spoonful of powdered sugar and a dash of vanilla extract (GF of course) and spoon it on top.  I am not a fan of maraschino cherries but put one on if it is important to you! 

Note: if your pear is kinda firm you can poach it in some liquid; cider or wine, even cranberry juice; just until soft.  Cut in half and remove core and slice and use as the recipe suggests.

The quality of your fruit really matters.  Don’t use mushy or hard fruit and if it looks sub par, cut up, cook it and use as a sauce on your ice cream or make it into a cobbler.  I wouldn’t use it in this recipe. Same goes for ice cream.  Don’t use less than the best.  I personally love Turkey Hill, great mouth feel, the sweetness level is where I like it and the flavors are perfect.  Image

I couldn’t take a picture of my first pear split as my camera is missing in action and I didn’t think of using my cell until I had devoured the whole split!  This second split (one day later) is okay, it is missing the wonder of hot fudge…I am all out.  Bummer, although it was still tasty.

The beauty of this dessert is that you can enjoy some ice cream relatively guilt free as you are having fruit too! Plus, if you are not a banana lover this is a great option for a split.  I have even made it with peaches or nectarines in the summertime. Give my pear split a try, why should bananas have all the fun? Image