Baked Alaska Pie: Amazing

Everyone loves ice cream.  In my family, everyone loves a pie. So I was looking for something different when I saw a recipe somewhere, can’t remember where but it fit my search requirements plus it was gorgeous but somehow I lost the recipe so I did my best to replicate it for my family. We had it over the Easter weekend. It was a big hit.  Remember baked Alaska? A dessert of the 70’s? It is a fancy construction of a layer of yellow cake topped with a mound of ice cream and then covered with a thick layer of meringue which is briefly baked in the oven to brown the meringue lightly. Well, introducing the Baked Alaska Pie!  Gingersnap crust, coffee ice cream and the traditional meringue topping. Not as heavy because the pie crust is ¼ the thickness of the layer of cake in a standard baked Alaska and gingersnap is a pow of a flavor compared to the blandness of yellow cake. The coffee ice cream pairs with it exceptionally well but I am betting chocolate ice cream would be crazy good too! I suppose you could do a graham cracker crust but what would be the fun in that? The meringue is not overly sweet and is fluffy perfection with the ice cream and cookie crust.

This dessert is remarkably easy to do but you must have patience as there are several steps and a lot of chilling in the freezer.  If you are not needing to be gf you can use a regular gingersnap crust.

 

Baked Alaska Pie

Ingredients

7/8 of a box of gluten free gingersnaps

1/3 cup melted butter

Most of a carton of coffee ice cream

5 egg whites

½ tsp. cream of tartar

Pinch of salt

1/3-1/2 cup granulated sugar

Directions: Use your food processor, blender or a baggie and a rolling pin to reduce the cookies to a fine crumble. Pour them in a mixing bowl, add the butter, stir well and pour into a 9 inch pie tin. Press across the bottom and up the sides. Bake at 350 for 6-9 minutes; take out before it browns much. Let cool completely before next step.

Let the ice cream warm a few minutes so it isn’t rock hard and is easily scooped.  Fill the pie crust with the ice cream; spread it to cover evenly and mound it slightly.  Put in freezer for 2 to 3 hours.

Make the meringue: put the room temp egg whites in a mixing bowl, add the salt and the cream of tartar. Beat until it is in soft peaks. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time while it beats to the stiff peak stage. It should be glossy and hold a stiff peak of curled meringue. Get the pie out of the freezer and quickly mound the meringue over the pie making absolute sure you cover every bit of ice cream with lots of meringue which will act as insulation.  Chill for 2-4 hours in freezer. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Slide the frozen pie in for 4-8 minutes until lightly browned, if possible return to freezer for 30-60 minutes. Cut into wedges with a sharp knife and dig in. Enjoy

alaska pie 2

Not a very pretty picture; just doesn’t convey the incredible flavor. I took this of a leftover slice out of my freezer; we were too busy eating it to take pictures that day! So it lost some of the browned topping in my freezer. It was very pretty when we first cut the pie.

Flour-less Lemon Cake with Candied Lemon Slices

Cake….always a party pleaser.  I enjoy it on special occasions but confess it is not one of the things I am good at baking, never was even when I could use regular flours.  And don’t get me started on the birthday cake curse I am crouching underneath.  But sometimes you just need that fancy dessert that serves a crowd and makes everyone happy.  This cake is fairly easy to make, is gluten free and has great lemon flavor. The honey is more of an undertone. Each bite has a satisfying texture due to the almond flour, not heavy but not light with a lovely moisture built in from the honey and olive oil. The tiny bit of potato starch helps make that great texture. No butter either; extra virgin olive oil does the trick. Make sure your eggs and whites are all at room temperature for maximum loft when whipped.

The candied lemon slices take a bit of effort but look great on top. I know I was happy with the results when I bit into my slice of yummy cake!

This recipe comes from Food Network’s test kitchens and I made only minor changes, used slightly less water making the syrup as it seemed too thin even after simmering 20 minutes and no pomegranate seeds for on top; it is spring and pomegranates are a fall fruit. I looked; none to be found. I used a half pint of fresh raspberries and they were perfect – added great color and flavor.

If you can get Meyer lemons they are recommended because of their awesome flavor but I used the usual ones from the grocery store and they worked out fine. I thought the candied slices were tasty although a couple of guests who didn’t much like lemon skipped their candied lemon while still enjoying the cake itself.  It is a very impressive looking cake with a tender moist texture. Extra syrup on top is a tempting option!

I put all my pictures together in a chunk; they can be annoying sprinkled through out the recipe when you are trying to make it.  I often use my tablet to make my own recipes straight off my blog posts so I know what I am talking about here!

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Flourless Lemon Honey Cake with Candied Lemon

Ingredients

¼ cup EVOL plus more to grease pan

1 ¾ cup almond flour plus more to dust the pan

1/3 cup potato starch

½ tsp. salt

1 ½ cups sugar

2/3 cup honey

3 lemons; two zested and juiced and the third sliced very thinly

4 eggs separated

2 egg whites

½ tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. almond extract

Chopped or slivered almonds; ¼-1/3 cup

½ pint fresh raspberries

Directions:

Brush the sides and bottom of a 9 inch spring form pan which you lined the bottom with a round of parchment paper; brush with EVOL and dust with almond flour.  Put rack in middle level in oven.  Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Mix flour, starch and salt in medium bowl.  Combine ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, lemon zest, 4 egg yolks, vanilla and almond extract in mixer bowl.  Mix on medium high until creamy; about 3 minutes.  Reduce the speed to low, beat in the flour mixture just until blended.

In a separate clean bowl beat the 6 egg whites until foamy, about a minute.  Gradually beat in ½ cup sugar until stiff glossy peaks form, 3 minutes maybe 4.  Gently fold about 1/3 of the beaten egg whites into the cake batter, and then fold in the rest of the whites until just barely incorporated.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake until golden brown and springs back when pressed lightly; 50-55 minutes.  Place pan on a cake rack to cool completely.

While it is baking you should make the candied lemon slices.  Put the slices in a small saucepan, cover with water, bring to a simmer over high heat; maybe 3 minutes.  Drain, return to pan and cover with fresh water, repeat the heating.  Do this three times total. It gets the bitterness out of the unpeeled slices. Put the slices back in the pan; add the remaining ½ cup sugar, 1/3 cup honey, the lemon juice of the two lemons and 3/4 cup water.  Bring to a simmer over high heat, reduce heat to medium, cook, stir occasionally.  Cook until lemon slices are tender and the honey liquid is thickened; becomes like a syrup; about 20-25 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Unmold the cake: run a knife around the edge of the pan, remove pan.  Flip cake to take off parchment paper.  Place on a serving plate.  Use a fork to remove the lemon slices from the syrup and brush the cake all over with some of the lemon syrup.  Then decorate the cake with them. Sprinkle with the raspberries and pass the leftover lemon honey syrup along with the cake.

Serves 8-10.

Originally posted in the spring of 2015.

Cranberry Crackle Spring Pie

I had a bag of frozen cranberries in the freezer. There aren’t that many choices for a fresh fruit pie right now in this chilly weather.  But, I got the perfect recipe for an early spring pie. Easy to make, not too rich or too filling and very tasty. I found this recipe on line, several years ago, at splendidtable.com.  I loved the look and once I tasted it; definitely love at first bite.  Like a fruit tart and a pavlova had a baby: this is the delightful result.  Light and delicate in nature; making it perfect after a hearty Easter feast.  It is really guilt free if you eat it plain.  I devoured it in the past with vanilla ice cream, Greek yogurt or plain organic yogurt dolloped on top. Love it all those ways. Maybe next time I will be serving it like you do a Pavlova, with lightly sweetened real whipped cream on top. Yumm!

It is super easy to throw together.  If you are gf you can use the cookie crust recipe I provide, I adapted the splendid table recipe to make it gluten tree using Annalise Roberts’great cookie crust. At holidays,like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wegmans often has gf ready-made crusts. So does Frey’s Better Foods in Hellertown. If you are a wheat eater use whatever cookie tart crust you like.  I added the cinnamon to my crust and found it added to the complexity of the flavors.  The crust absolutely needs to be prebaked and cooled before you put the tart together.

I made it in a glass pie tin but often use a ten inch ceramic tart pan.  Both work great; so it is a tart or a pie depending on the vessel you bake it in!. This tart is fantastic tasting even if you aren’t a huge cranberry fan.

The recipe calls for a few  tablespoons of raspberry jam but you could probably use most any jam, strawberry comes to mind as a great second choice.  Just chose one full of real fruit in a flavor you like as you can definitely taste the jammy flavor mixed in with the crust and the meringue topping. I love it with homemade raspberry jam, bursting with incredible raspberry flavor.

Cranberry Crackle Pie

Sweet Cookie Crust

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. cinnamon

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well.

Pour the crumbs into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Or a glass pie pan which is how I made it this past weekend.  Spread it up the sides.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-19 minutes. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Do not let it get more than light brown. You could do this step the night before.

Filling

2-3 tablespoons chunky cherry, raspberry or strawberry jam

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberries (if they’re frozen, don’t thaw)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cranberry prep: I rinse them and remove any squishy ones.  There are usually a few of those mixed in and they aren’t great for anyone to eat.  Let them dry. Frozen; ready to go just as they are!

Gently spoon the jam on top of the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom, I used the back of my big spoon for this operation. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they are fluffy and fairly opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then keep beating on high until the whites are shiny and form definite peaks; they will look like marshmallow.  This is a meringue. Be sure to wait until the whites are opaque and starting to get full or the sugar will not blend in properly.

Pour the cranberries into the bowl of meringue and, using a flexible spatula or spoonula fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t mix too much– you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Spoon the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam might push up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.  Don’t fret if it looks like not enough filling, it will puff up in the oven to fill the pie pan.

Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it a bit longer or even put it under the broiler.)  I never go there!  Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  I did cut it while slightly warm and my slice was just perfection.  If you’d like, and I do, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Ice cream, whipped cream or even organic plain yogurt on the side are a great complement to the berry flavors.
cranberry-crackle-tart-cut

Storing: The tart is best the first two days after it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice the third day. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering with plastic wrap.  I doubt you will have any after the second day anyway. It is that tasty. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (Same as King Arthur’s basic GF Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Originally posted in 2014 on this blog. Minor text changes.

 

Shoo Fly Pie (Shoe Fly Pie at my house!)

 

This sweet pie is a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition. It is quick to go together, needs neither refrigeration, nor a long chilling down before consuming it, pleases most everyone and best of all it can be made in any season; no fruit needed.  It wasn’t too hard to change from my old recipe to a gluten free version.  I recommend it for celiacs who miss that old time flavor of shoe fly pie.  Note: some folk say shoo fly pie but my recipe used the spelling you see in this post.  I believe either is appropriate.

I know folks who shy away from gluten free baking thinking it is too complicated.  Well, a couple years ago I featured pies and this is the easiest pie around so I dedicate this to a few friends who have been too scared to bake gf.  You can do this one! If you want, buy a ready made uncooked crust but I swear that with a stand mixer this is the easiest and best gf crust around.

This shoe fly pie recipe is a blending of the filling I have used for years, (my sister Margie gave me the recipe a long time ago) and the pie crust and crumb recipes from Annalise Robert’s cookbook, Gluten-Free Baking Classics.  Her cookbook is a fabulous resource and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone trying to bake gluten free for a family member.

My shoe fly pie is considered a “wet bottom” pie; not too crumbish.  If you want it drier use ½ cup molasses and ½ cup water.  I love it soft and moist so my version always is a wet bottom shoe fly pie.

Angie’s Shoe Fly Pie

Crust:

1 c plus 2 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 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray.

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 parchment or wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of parchment or wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Make the crumb topping while it chills.

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.  You will only use 1 ½ cups of the crumbs; put it in a jar and store it in the fridge until your next pie; it keeps well for several weeks.

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Next, roll out pie crust between the two sheets of parchment or 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.  Then make filling and pour half into the crust, careful not to splash it out.

Filling:

2/3 cup molasses, I used Grandma’s

¾ cup boiling water

½ tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

Mix the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl with a spoon until blended. It will foam up a bit as the baking soda mixes with the molasses!

Then pour half the crumb topping (1 1/4 to 1½ cup total) evenly over this mixture.  Add the rest of the molasses liquid and sprinkle the rest of the crumbs on top.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes Cool at least ½-1 hour before serving or let cool to room temperature.

Note: I bake pies in my bottom heat pizza oven and it gives me a great browned crust.  If your oven isn’t bottom heat you might want to pre-bake a gf crust 10 minutes before filling.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

** This blog post first appeared in March of 2016

Perfect Pumpkin Cookies

Lots of people with celiac seem to live on processed gf foods, boxes of crackers, cookies and snack straight from a bag. I have been known to enjoy a great cracker and there is a certain brand of gf pretzels which is amazing. Still, I find that home made is generally better; worth the time and effort. Not to mention better for you.  But, I can’t seem to interest certain folks in baking homemade gf treats. This recipe may change your mind. Old fashioned pumpkin cookies sound okay but not exciting much less addictive. But they are just that. Totally brilliant in the flavor department and even better: easy to make.  Bonus: somewhat healthy. Which is the new trendy thing. Or so I read.  Anyway, they are the bomb and frankly couldn’t be much easier to make than this. Give them a whirl and you will wonder what took you so long to make homemade cookies.

They are adapted just slightly from the original recipe in “The Heirloom Collection” by Annalise Roberts. I am crazy about this book. I know, cookbooks are totally passé and superseded by Pinterest. I use Pinterest too (kinda more often than I want to admit here) but this wonderful cookbook is crammed with recipes that harken back to when my mom baked for me. Or what I baked for my kid before I went gluten free. Honestly these cookies remind me of a recipe from  “The Joy of Cooking” which I used to make many years ago for Kasey. The recipes in her 2014 volume are all gf of course but they taste like my childhood. Simply Brilliant. If you try these cookies and fall in love…there are many other great recipes to check out.

She puts a vanilla icing on them, I in the interest of avoiding sugar have left that off; feel free to ice yours!

 pumpkin cookies

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Cookies  (makes 3 doz.)

Ingredients:

½ cup softened butter

1 cup sugar (I used organic sugar from Aldi’s)

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 lg egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 ¾ cup brown rice flour mix (recipe below)

¼ cup sweet rice flour

1 ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

¾ tsp. xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt.

½ cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray cookie sheets with cooking spray.

Mix all dry ingredients in a small mixing bowl.

Beat butter and sugar in stand mixer until well blended. Add egg and vanilla and blend well.  Stir in dry mixture on low speed. Blend well, add raisins if desired.  Drop by tbsp onto baking sheet. I used a soup spoon for that process. Bake 15-16 minutes. Let cool 2-3 minutes on sheet before removing them with spatula to a cooling rack.  They can be frozen for a couple weeks. I found the cookies to get a bit soft when stored in a cookie jar. Just enjoy them fresh and freeze leftovers. I eat them right out of the freezer…delish! Enjoy

 

Flour blend  (Same as King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

 

Super Simple Cloud Bread

 

Finding or baking decent gf bread can be problematic.  Poor texture (think crumbly), slightly odd flavors, big holes in the middle of the loaf, leaden or brick like baked products, high prices and lots of ingredients which must be compiled exactly according to the recipe.  It adds up to a fair amount of stress as to just having a sandwich.

A year ago I made some really interesting bread/rolls.  The name is “cloud bread” (also called oopsie bread) and it has no flour, no oats nor any grains.  I was intrigued when I saw this cloud bread popping up in my support group messages and just had to try it. My recipe has five ingredients but three should be in your pantry already.  It was very easy, quick and yes; tasty.  So it made a super bread for a ham and cheese sandwich and a ham/turkey and cheese sandwich.  I ate one warm out of the oven, also enjoyable. Great with a little jam or jelly on top.  Posted it back last March and sharing again so you who missed it can give it a try.

I added a couple toppings which add a lot to the flavor and look of it.  I recommend them but it sure can be made plain.   You have to use full fat cream cheese to make it work, only a few tablespoons so don’t get all freaked out over that issue!

Cloud Bread/Rolls

3 eggs, separated

3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. honey

Pinch salt

Toppings; sesame seeds and a tbsp. of chopped fresh rosemary.

 

Directions

Beat the egg yolks with the cream cheese until it is very smooth, lemon yellow. Add the baking powder and honey, beat in.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, add a sprinkle of salt. Beat until stiff peaks form.  Fold together with the yolk mixture until mostly blended together.

While the egg whites were beating I lined a big baking sheet with parchment paper and sprayed it lightly with Pam.  Heat oven to 300 degrees. Some people heat the pan in the oven before spreading the dough; I didn’t bother but feel free to preheat your pan.

Using a big spoon spread the bread mixture on in six big circles spaced 1-2 inches apart.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds and or finely chopped fresh rosemary. Bake until golden brown between 20 and 30 minutes.  Using a spatula separate them from the parchment paper. Let cool.  Store in a ziplock bag overnight; they will get soft and be ready for sandwiches.  Keep them in the fridge. I put slices of wax paper between them to avoid sticking.  They keep about 3 days there and a week in the freezer.  Wonderful for sandwiches: I used one for the top and a second one as the bottom of the sandwich.  Did I mention they are virtually no carbs in this bread? Yeap; great for my low carbing friends!

Originally published in 2016. Minor changes to text.

Buttery Cheddar Cheese Biscuits

I don’t buy redi-made mixes that often, in fact I never bought a gf biscuit mix until last week. This was from Aldi’s; my fav hangout! Cheddar cheese biscuits in the orange and blue box.

biscuit box

You add water, quarter cup oil and a third of a cup of grated cheese, stir and it becomes this slightly weird fluffy white stuff that looks more like cotton batting than anything else. Next, plop big clumps of this mixture onto a parchment paper lined baking pan and pop them into the hot oven to bake.  After about 16-17 minutes out comes the pan.  Each biscuit gets brushed with a mixture you create with an herb/garlic powder that is blended with fresh butter you melted.

cheddar cheese bisquits

They are browned on the bottom and tender. The flavor is buttery and definitely has a garlic vibe going on. We had them with a big bowl of chili with beans I had made for supper.  My guy took home a quart of chili and two biscuits. He wanted more cheesy rolls than two but I said; “Hey, those are my gf biscuits! You can eat any rolls you like but these are mine!” He left happily clutching a bag with all his treats including those two biscuits.   That should tell you they are tasty; Joe does not need to eat gf and he is fairly picky about his bread.  If it passes the Joe test; it is pretty tasty!! cheddar cheese bisquit

They were a couple bucks and the add ins are minimal. I made 11 decent sized biscuits. I froze all but two which were destined for chili consumption the next evening. Totally yummy even if not particularly healthy, white gf flour, sugar,  cheese and butter as major components.  Still, not often I find something this easy to make and this tasty.  I put this in my win win column. Enjoy!