Frozen Strawberries and Chocolate Delight!

Summer is the best time for enjoying ice cream bars. Aldi’s may be the best place to buy them! I got a four pack of strawberry ice cream bars there last week. They are fruity, creamy and covered with dark chocolate; a triple play of yumminess! Two are gone…the other two will be devoured soon enough. They also come in coconut; not tried it yet; soon….

strrawberry fruit bar

Nutritional report: only 180 calories; not bad for a sweet treat. 18 grams sugar; not quite so good and 20 of sodium; minimal. A few grams of fat. Overall; for a somewhat processed ice cream bar: pretty okay on the nutritional scale of things.

On the flavor scale; about a 9.5; darn yummy. About $3 for four of them; darn cheap. Hardest part is planning so I am able to go right home from Aldi’s before these beauties melt even a tiny bit in the insulated bag they are packed in for travel. Go gettem!

Rhubarb Cobbler – Tender and Tasty

My spring mission: to convince you rhubarb haters to try one of these recipes.  This one is delicate in flavor with a fluffy yet satisfying cobbler topping and no sour ickiness as some say rhubarb can be.  It takes a bit less fruit than a pie and goes together in just a few minutes.  And it is gluten free for all of you who must avoid gluten which means wheat, rye or barley flours are a no-no in baking.

This recipe is the same basic one I posted about for peach cobbler in the past; it is modified from a muffin dry mix in Bette Hagman’s book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet and uses a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients.  One cup will make an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I keep the rest of my dry mix in the freezer and a pan of cobbler can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes plus baking time.  What a time saver this mix is! I make all sorts of cobblers with it.

I always get the fruit part cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven.

My mom and I enjoyed this on this past Sunday. She really loved the rhubarb flavor and the cobbler topping.

rhubarb cobbler

Angie’s Rhubarb Cobbler

Dry Cobbler Mix – use one cup for this recipe and freeze the rest

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch (not potato flour!)

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

 

 

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced rhubarb

½ tsp. almond extract

½-2/3 cup sugar –add more or less depending on how sweet you want it

2 tbsp. GF flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Mix the fruit and almond extract in a sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top for 5-10 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan, top with big blobs of the cobbler topping.

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil (both work fine)

1/3 cup milk/buttermilk (I skimp a tbsp off to keep it from being runny)

½ tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl.   Mix briefly: do not over-mix for best texture.  Use a big spoon to plop it right away on the hot fruit.  Bake immediately as baking soda and powder can’t stand around waiting or they lose their umph!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  The top should be light brown and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes.

Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth right out of the oven!  Some people love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This tender rhubarb cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Reposted with minor changes from June 2015.

 

 

Chocolate Cloud Pie…Oh My!

 

I have a fantastic cookbook, all pies, nothing else. By Farm Journal, published in 1981 but it has the vibe of the 1950’s. Lots of interesting combo fruit pies and chiffon pies like you never heard of. I found this recipe for a chocolate rum pie. The pre-made cookie crust could sub in for a traditional pie crust which the recipe called for. I had all the ingredients except the crust ….but I thought it sounded tasty and worth a trip to the grocery store for the crust cookies, gluten free of course!

chocolate pudding

It was not hard to make either. I threw it together in three easy steps. It was one of those recipes where the sum of the ingredients is far tastier than the components would lead one to believe. Everyone devoured their slice. People took slices home. My mom was eager to keep a second slice….for tomorrow. This enthusiastic audience caused me to mention it on facebook. I got all these likes and a few hungry comments. The buzz of happy responses led me to decide to share my version of chocolate rum pie. I have renamed it Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie. That was four years ago….

The name came from the fact that it is as light as a fluffy cloud and from my love for my older sister who died five years ago. Margie’s love of pie was renown in our family and I am absolutely sure she would have adored this pie. Whip some up this week and woo your family with chocolaty goodness that should please everyone. choco cloud pie slice (2)

Notes: I used french brandy instead of rum as I was out of dark rum. I think cognac would be nice too. .I used 3/4 cup almonds as that’s all I had; worked great; I put 2 Tbsp. aside for topping and rest went on top of the baked cookie crust. You can just buy a crust.

I posted this back in the spring of 2014 and hadn’t made it since; a matter of just forgetting how amazing it tastes.  Like eating a chocolate cloud….with puffs of cream and the crunch of toasted almonds. I used a hybrid crust when I made it yesterday; I was tired of my gf oreos; so I scraped out and discarded the filling and crunched up the cookies, I thought I was a bit short on cookies so I added 7-8 gingersnaps I still had from my last cookie crust. Crunched up and mixed with butter, baked into what became a flavor delight of a cookie crust! One of the best pies I have ever made. And I make a lot of pies….

 

Chocolate Almond Cloud Pie

Ingredients
1 pre-made chocolate cookie crumb crust, GF
1 pkg chocolate pudding, the kind you have to cook
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp cocoa

1 tbsp dark rum
1 cup slivered almonds, divided
1 1/3 cup heavy cream, divided

4 Tbsp. powdered sugar

Pour the almonds into a frying pan, no oil and toast them, stirring constantly. Alternately you could do this in the oven at a low temperature but I prefer the frying pan. Stop when they are medium brown, try not to let too many get black on the sides.

Cook the filling; put 2 cups whole milk into a medium sized and heavy sauce pan, Then add the dry pudding mix, the corn starch and the cocoa. Stir with a whisk as it heats. Once the mixture is bubbling all over the surface turn off the heat and add the rum. Pour into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill until cooled. Take ½ cup heavy cream and whip. Add this to the pudding and whisk until blended. Take 3 tbsp of almonds and set aside for garnishing the pie later. Sprinkle the rest of the toasted almonds over the chocolate pie crust Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell on top of the toasted almonds. Chill at least 2 hours until set and cold. Whip the rest of the heavy cream in a chilled bowl, adding the sugar near the end of the whipping. Gently put dollops of it all over the pie top. Sprinkle the reserved almonds on top. Enjoy!

choc cloud pie

Originally posted March 2014. No changes to recipe.

Cherry Sunrise Pie…a Tradition at my House

In one week it will Easter, the day of baked ham, chocolate candies and hardboiled eggs… We are skipping ham in favor of shrimp risotto and roasted asparagus; my sweet grandchildren live out of state so no egg hunts and minimal chocolate.  As for any holiday meal, I wanted the lunch dessert to be special yet not too heavy or fattening.  I wanted an attractive pie, with fruit, easy to construct and yummy: a tall bill to fill but doable if you make this dessert.  I had no hesitation in choosing a dessert I make many years for Easter: cherry sunrise pie.  The other day my sister asked me to make it for the big meal this year and then she melted my heart when she said it felt like Easter when we ate that pie. No need to look further, this is it, the dessert of choice for Easter Sunday lunch for my family! They always fork it down as they are cherry lovers plus my sisters love how light it tastes.  I share it so you can make it anytime you want an easy company dessert.   You should make it the night before so it is chilled enough to eat by 1 pm.cherry sunrise pie

It has to have a gluten free crust for me but if you are making it for the wheat eating public there are redi-made crusts out there that will make this so simple yet so delightful.

Cherry Sunrise Pie

One pie crust: I made mine from an 8 oz box of gluten free graham crackers crushed and mixed with 1/3 cup melted butter and pressed gently into a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9 or 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before filling. I made mine the night before.

Ingredients for filling

18 or 19 oz can of crushed pineapple in own juice

1 21 oz can of cherry pie filling

1 8 oz pkg light cream cheese, room temp.

½ tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Drain the pineapple for 20 min; save the juice!  I used my microwave to gently warm the cream cheese; it has a softening setting for cream cheese which works perfectly. I unwrapped it and placed the cold slab on a small plate and warmed it on a very low heat until supple and smooth.  Dump in a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp pineapple juice, the vanilla, 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, ½ cup cherry pie filling.  If you are smart you will mostly use the goopy stuff and not too many cherries.  Save them for on top! Next, stir this all together really well.

Then whip the chilled heavy cream in a separate bowl with an electric

mixer until soft peaks form, add powdered sugar and mix well with the mixer; be careful not to over beat it.  If it gets clumpy you went too far.  Fold this into the cream cheese mix until it isn’t streaky with white areas.

Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell, spread it out to fill the entire bottom.  I used a spoonula (blend of spoon and spatula) and smooth the top with a flat cake spatula.  I like to leave a sort of tiny ridge on the outer edge to keep the pineapple from spilling out onto the crust.  Then carefully pour the rest of the cherry pie filling in the center spreading it to cover ¾ of the top from the center out.  Finally, use a spoon to put clumps of pineapple around the outer rim of the cherry filling.  Chill at

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least 2 hours, preferably 4.  Cut and slice. No adornments are needed. It has a light fluffy consistency and it isn’t that sweet.  Great to top off a big meal; not too filling and the fresh fruity taste is a spring treat.  Try it soon and you will be giving the recipe out afterwards!

I have no pictures of creating this pie; maybe this Easter I will take the time to snap a few and add them to this post at a later date.

Apple Pan Dowdy, Yes That’s a Real Dessert

If you don’t have quite enough apples for a pie you can make this quick and delish apple pan dowdy. It sounds very old fashioned and I think it is just that: old school yummy.  I believe the name comes from the messy way you create the final look; turning the crust under the hot fruit and baking again so that crust get finished as it soaks in the juices and your dessert becomes a bit more like an apple crisp than a pie. I believe my recipe came originally from a very old Betty Crocker cookbook.  I have adapted it to make it gluten free. Its one of my favorite quick fruit desserts for cold winter nights.

Dowdy means not very pretty, drab and this is a bit of a hot mess in its looks but the flavor is spicy, fruity and far more exciting than a plain apple pie. I think it has spoiled me from apple pie. Definitely worth a try.

I have made it with golden raisins, regular raisins or currents which are tiny raisins. All work great.

Please use a firm baking apple that will hold its shape for a decently long bake. I used yellow delicious this time. I have used a number of different baking apples for this; Rome, Braeburn work fine; just don’t use red delicious which is an eating only variety. Green granny smiths tend to be a bit too firm for this recipe while Empire apples get a bit too squishy and applesauce like. Most any other type of apple will do.

This might be my second favorite apple dessert; after that apple galette I made a few weeks ago; easy, low sugar and oh so delightfully spicy.

apple pan dowdy

Messy but oh so tasty!

Apple Pan Dowdy

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

Butter the inside of a glass baking dish: I used a 9 inch glass pie pan.

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 all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

1/3 cup golden or regular raisins

2 Tbsp. peach schnapps

5-6 large Golden Delicious apples

1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup sugar

Heaping ½ tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. nutmeg

Sprinkle ground cloves

1 tsp. lemon zest if you like

1 -2 tsp. softened butter

Directions: Put raisins in a small glass dish, add schnaps, microwave one minute on high. Let stand so the booze soaks into the raisins. Peel apples, cut in quarters, remove cores, cut each quarter into 4 or 5 slices. Place in a large mixing bowl, sprinkle with lemon juice.  Mix the dry ingredients in a cup; pour over the slices, toss with a big spoon; sprinkle with lemon zest if desired.

Pour the apple mixture into the glass pie pan that you had rubbed with soft butter. Get out the crust and roll it out; just slightly bigger than the top of your baking dish. Lay it on top of the apple slices and tuck in the edges so nothing hangs down over the edge.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Remove from oven, use a sharp knife to cut a cross hatch into the top (4 big cuts) so you end up with 9 pieces. Use a big serving spoon to gently tip up the crust and get it under some of the hot apples.  Don’t worry if it breaks up further or looks like a mess.  That’s part of its charm! Let bake 25 to 30 more minutes.  The crust (whatever peeks out of the messy fruit pieces) should be very lightly browned and the apples are bubbling. Let it rest a bit; don’t serve boiling hot but warm will be awesome.  Slice and top with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream, crème or yogurt if you like that sort of thing.  We ate it with ice cream and then the next time I had some plain – just my favorite way to appreciate the flavor and texture of this spicy treat. Enjoy!

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur basic gf blend)

2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust recipe is from Annalise Roberts great cookbook, GF Baking Classics, Second Edition.

 

Meyer Lemon Tartlets

Winter suddenly is upon us and I always look forward to all the fresh winter citrus. I was lucky enough last week to get a small shipment of fresh Meyer lemons from my brother who lives in Texas and has a tree in his back yard. He didn’t send a lot as he had somewhat of a crop failure but a box came my way when I thought none were going to be shared so I am thrilled at my horde of smallish, greenish lemons. He was heading out of the country and picked them a tad early due to his eminent departure.  They are relaxing safe in my fruit bin of the fridge and I decided to make a special dessert yesterday.

I have made plenty of full sized lemon tarts but not so much in my small 3 inch across flat bottomed tartlet pans. I have two 4 piece pans so I could make 8 at a time. I chose to make 4 yesterday and the rest today.  That way my crust for tonight is incredibly fresh so I can present them with the perfect contrast of the flaky buttery crust and the lightly sweetened but tangy lemon filling.

We ate a couple last night for dessert and I served them with full fat plain Greek yogurt from Aldi’s which has great flavor and a thick smooth texture. It is rich and still somehow light.  A better topping than ice cream which melts…unfortunate in a lemon tart and less work than making whipped cream. I suppose you could top with some spray whipped cream but I chose something healthier and I happen to love it used as a pie topper.  High end plain yogurt is also really good for this purpose; StonyField Organic Low Fat is my preferred choice.

I make my standard pie crust dough and chill before rolling out chunks of it. I didn’t make thick fancy edges; smaller edges being better for the putting of the lemon flavor as the forward taste of these tartlets. I ended up with six shells and I took the leftover crust bits and make a hand pie filled with homemade pawpaw jam. Can’t wait to try that treat!

Notes: You can make these tartlets with regular lemons that you freshly juice. You might want to up the sugar by ¼ cup if you do that.  Also, these tarts should be stored in the fridge until serving. Enjoy!

tartlet shells

lemon tartlet

Meyer Lemon Tartlets  makes six

Crust:

1 c plus 2 Tbsp. brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Directions: 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 all in your fridge 15-20 minutes.  Roll chunks of it out to thin circles and fit into tartlet pans. Mine have removable disc bottoms and I highly recommend them. Prick the bottoms with a fork to prevent puffing up and bake at 375 degrees for about 11 or 12 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool.  You need six tartlet shells as the filling is just fill six. You should have enough crust for 7: hence my hand pie.

Lemon Filling:

¾ cup sugar

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice

The zested rind of 1 and a half Meyer lemons, of just one lemon if you use regular lemons

4 large eggs

2 egg yolks (freeze whites for use later)

½ tsp. lemon extract

¼ cup butter cut into 4-6 small pieces

Directions: combine sugar, lemon juice, eggs and yolks in heavy bottomed medium sauce pan; 1 quart size works perfectly.  Heat over medium low while stirring constantly with a whisk. Heat until it thickens a lot and coats the spoon thickly.  Will take 8-10 minutes.  Do not stop stirring or it will boil and overcook! No boiling…. An instant read thermometer will be at 175 degrees. Pour into a mixing bowl, cover the surface with plastic wrap and cool in fridge at least until lukewarm. It will look a lot like the filling for a lemon meringue pie but soft and almost pudding-like. Spoon into tartlets and chill at least an hour or two before serving; the tartlets should be icy cold when you plate it. Top with a spoonful of high quality Greek yogurt or freshly whipped cream and maybe a thin wedge of lemon. Enjoy!

The filling and crust are out of Annalise Roberts’ great cookbook; The Heirloom Collection. I just adapted it to small tartlet pans.  The flour is King Arthur’s basic blend or you can make it at home; see any pie recipe I have posted for the proportions of flours; easy as there are only 3 ingredients to it.

Lemon Meringue Pie Heaven

This pie is old school delicious.  This is my mom’s bastardized version of a Betty Crocker recipe and made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can more than double it if you are a sweet freak.  I have never met a man who didn’t love it, well…maybe one. My friend Russel doesn’t care for anything with lemons. But his wife Claire adores lemon so this pie is for her and Mom…and my brother Christopher who often requests this pie when he is in town.

lemon pie 008

If I have them, I always use Meyer lemons for this recipe.  Your pie will have a delicate flavor – so light I sometimes call it lemon cloud pie!  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be difficult to find Meyer lemons and pricy too.

I have never gotten my mom to admit it but I am positive she added extra egg whites to her meringue.  Her pie was towering with the white fluffy stuff unlike my nearly level pie made with just three whites.  It is up to you how impressive you want your dessert to look. But if you have company you might want to go for the big bang of a four- five egg white meringue topping for maximum wow power!

My mom added the corn syrup to replace some of the reduced sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  Don’t make this pie on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftover pie in the fridge. It doesn’t keep more than two days but frankly none of it ever lasts more than two days.

lemon pie 002

lemon pie 004

Thickened cornstarch, sugar and water mix all stirred up.

lemon pie 001

Baked pie crust.

lemon pie 003lemon pie 005lemon pie 006lemon pie 007lemon pie 008

Mom’s Lemon Meringue 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, 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 all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line a 9 inch pie pan with it.  Make sure you get the middle nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 375 for 10-12 minutes until light brown.  Let cool to room temperature.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to ¾ cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped pie.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Let it melt as you stir. And then stir in the lemon juice and zest. Glug in some corn syrup. Pour the hot lemon filling into the pie crust.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature (avoid drafts while it cools) and then chill your masterpiece for 2-6 hours.  Slice and serve. Makes six-seven lovely slices.

lemon pie 012

This slice is from the second day; we were in a feeding frenzy and forgot to take a picture when the pie was cut and served. It is a tad weepy from the passage of time.

Meringue topping

three egg whites (or 4-5)

¼ tsp. cream of tarter (or 1/2 tsp)

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Directions:

Beat the three whites and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white.

—————–

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (same as King Arthur blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour