Cherry Sunrise Pie…an Easter Family Tradition

In a week it will Easter, the day of baked ham, chocolate candies and hardboiled eggs…. As for any holiday meal, I want dessert to be special yet not too heavy: an attractive fruit-based pie, but easy to construct and yummy: a tall bill to fill but this cherry sunrise pie checks off all those requirements.  Last time my sisters came for Easter Kaen asked me to make it for the big meal and she melted my heart when she said it felt like Easter when we ate that pie! 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. Or buy one; they sell them at holiday times in the gluten free area in my local supermarket and at the local natural food store. Will save time to buy one…

Ingredients for filling

18 or 19 oz can 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 pineapple around the outer rim of the cherry filling.  Chill

photo 1 at 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.

This is about the sixth time I have blogged this recipe; first was in 2014. Been making it for like 20 years!

Thai Chicken Coconut Lime Curry

I was looking for a simple Thai curry without using curry pastes to flavor it. I was thinking some coconut milk for great flavor and I found a few recipes. I blended two or three together to make the best Thai chicken curry I have ever created. I loaded it with fresh vegetables and love it’s clean fresh flavor. And I hope you will too. You can use different vegetables – what you have and what you like. I found the amount of sauce to be perfect, actually ate it with a big spoon so I could get every soupy bit!

Notes: Please use full fat coconut milk for the correct consistency and flavor. I used boneless chicken thighs. It could be easily made with boneless split chicken breasts. I let Joe eat most of the hot pepper rings, to each his own. I do like how it makes it sing with a bit of controlled heat. Do not leave the fish sauce out; you won’t even know it is in there, but it really enhances the flavor. Enjoy!

Not a great picture at all but I wanted to post this recipe so here it is! Trust me it is delicious.

Thai Chicken Coconut Lime Curry

Ingredients

2 Tbsp mild olive oil

1.5-2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thighs

1/2-2/3 cup chopped onion

1 large carrot peeled and sliced thin on the diagonal: 1/4 inch width

1 large red pepper cut in long strips and then cut the strips in half

2 cloves of garlic pressed

1 Tbsp. fresh ginger grated (I freeze mine and it grates well that way)

1/3 of a jalapeno pepper or a red chili pepper of the heat you prefer, slice in narrow rings, remove seeds

1 can full fat coconut soup, shake it up before opening

1 Tbsp. fish sauce

Zest a lime and then juice it (need 2 Tbsp lime juice)

1 cup asparagus stems snapped into 1.5-inch lengths. If it won’t snap; pitch the rest of each stalk.

2 cups of baby spinach washed and drained

More lime – wedges to squeeze over each dish

Instructions: Prep work of cutting up all veggies into small pieces as described and similar lengths other than chopped onions which will be smaller. Prep work of cutting boneless thighs into halves or thirds depending on size. I would leave breasts the half size, so they don’t overcook. A whole breast would be too big. Split in half is perfect I am thinking.

I used a 15-inch-wide paella pan, mine is nonstick and gives me the room for all the veggies in this dish. Just use a large sauté pan that will hold everything. Heat it a few minutes, add 1 tbsp of the mild oil. When it is hot add the chicken. Brown it for 3 minutes on each side and then use tongs to remove them to a plate. Add the other tbsp. oil and then the onion when the pan is fairly hot. Turn the heat to medium low and cook until starting to get soft 4 minutes (stir it as it cooks so no burnt onion bits). Add carrot slices and red pepper strips; cook another 2 minutes. Add the fish sauce, grated ginger, garlic, stir well, add the coconut milk, stir well as it gets hot, stop just before a boil ensues. Return the chicken thighs to the pan and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over, cook 5 minutes, nestle the asparagus spears into the sauce and cover it again. Add the lime juice and zest and the spinach leaves after 5 more minutes, keep covered. By now the asparagus should be soft enough to stick in a fork. If not, cook another minute. The spinach just needs to wilt; it will continue to do that even after you turn off the heat.

If you like cilantro throw on a third of a cup of chopped fresh cilantro at the end, we don’t so I didn’t. If you can get Thai basil, use that instead! I can only find it if I grow it myself. So summer is the season for Thai basil. Great hot basil taste which is perfect in Thai curries.

Serve this curry over hot Jasmine rice. I make mine in a sauce pan that I cut a brown paper bag circle to fit between the pot and the tight-fitting lid, it should overhang by an inch or so; the paper liner keeps liquid from escaping and drying out the rice before it is done. Or make it in your Instant Pot. I made a full cup of uncooked rice, and it was just about the perfect amount of rice. Enjoy!

Another less than stellar photograph. Not sure why but I think I was so eager to dig in I didn’t bother to tidy up the plate. I will take a new one next time I make it.

Sourdough Can be Gluten Free!

Recently someone said in my hearing that sourdough is safe for gluten avoiders to eat. I thought, nope. Then I heard it again from a neighbor. I asked a few questions. This very nice neighbor and I share gf baked goods with each other. It turns out she has tummy issues that are causing wheat intolerance. I have celiac. She finds that sourdough bread is very digestible for her. I had to explain that if I ate regular sourdough it would not be at all safe for me. The sourdough process does not remove or magically inactivate the gluten in the wheat based flour. Sadly nope. Would be nice if that were so.

But I do have to say that I have been making some gluten free sourdough baked goods and find that they are delicious and not crazy difficult. The scones I posted a couple of weeks ago come to mind. So tasty, what great texture and flavor! And I have twice made delicious gf sourdough breads; one using white flours that I added oats and oat flour to base flour as well as seeds like poppy and fax seed. Makes such incredible toast. The other bread success has been the raisin bread; a fruited version of a plain sourdough loaf. Both recipes came from a facebook group for gluten free sourdough bakers who want to help each other bake gf sourdough foods. If you are on fb; put in that topic and you should find them. This awesome group has lots of recipes in their home page top right at “files”. And folks answer your questions when a bake turns out less than optimal.

I feel that sourdough breads have a better crumb and texture than regular gf breads. They toast up simply amazing, sort of like an English muffin bread. Makes great sandwiches. Lovely for us celiacs who miss good bread in a deep and fundamental way. I actually have eaten a lot less bread since going gf, its expensive and sometimes very disappointing so I just kept finding ways to avoid it. Baking bread that is worth the time and ingredients can be very hit or miss. My French baguettes are delicious, and my Italian fennel and golden raisin wide loaves are wonderful but I have also made many subpar loaves of gf bread over the past 9 years. Gummy, heavy, grainy and poor flavor plus they often only taste good the day you bake them. I strongly urge you just take a minute and check out this gf sourdough group on fb. Another recent and strong source for possible gf bake recipes are the two cookbooks out by Aran Goyoaga. Last month I bought Cannelle et Vanille in hardcover which is mostly very interesting components of a healthy meal using lots of flavors and lots of vegetables and I just got Cannelle et Vanille Bakes Simple on kindle. I haven’t baked much yet from either book but I hear a lot of good buzz in social media from gluten free bakers. Folks on fb call her CV as a nickname, now you are in the know too! I will report in this blog on how bread turns out when I use her recipes.

As I wrote above, the ones out of the gf sourdough bread bakers on fb are pretty tasty, the raisin and current loaf was amazing fresh and delish toasted a couple days later. I froze a lot of it and it defrosts quickly in my microwave before toasting slices to give it all those golden nooks and crannies. The seeded one makes awesome avocado toast and I love it toasted along with a couple of eggs in the morning. Just know that these gf sourdough breads take several hours to rise, can’t be rushed. AG’s Bakes Simple has several non sourdough bread recipes. Also other kinds of baked goods. They are much quicker than sourdough; use yeast from the store. Enjoy!

The other book by her is all bakes cookbook but is is pretty much sold-out hence I bought it as a kindle.

Meanwhile, join that gf sourdough group on fb (who would have ever thought that such a group exists!) and make a starter; takes about 7-10 days. I used CV’s recipe that is made with brown rice flour. It’s not that difficult to stir up a loaf if you have a stand mixer and you might really enjoy watching the slow rise of a tasty loaf of gf sourdough bread.

Raisin bread before I cut into it. Incredible scent and flavor. Mmmmm best raisin bread ever!

I feed my starter most every day; just a little bit and try to discard some each week. I guess it is time for some scones this weekend! I made some interesting chocolate chip sourdough cookies the other day; uses just almond flour so it is a bit grainy to me, made also with coconut sugar and coconut oil so kinda healthy but just not quite the texture I am dreaming of. My favorite CC recipe is King Arthur’s recipe. I love how you can form and freeze the cookies in a ziplock bag and bake just as many as I like. I guess I will live without sourdough in them! Back to the sourdough scones; there is nothing going less than perfect with them. Incredible flavor and impeccable texture. This weekend it is raspberry time!

Chocolate chip and walnut sourdough scones. My dieting downfall…

Cherry Sunrise Pie…an Easter Family Tradition

In a few weeks it will Easter, the day of baked ham, chocolate candies and hardboiled eggs… We are having locally smoked, lower salt, and gf ham from Saylors right here in Hellertown; it was great last time I got one. As for any holiday meal, I wanted dessert to be special yet not too heavy: an attractive fruit-based pie, but easy to construct and yummy: a tall bill to fill but this cherry sunrise pie checks off all those requirements.  Last time my sisters came for Easter Kaen asked me to make it for the big meal and she melted my heart when she said it felt like Easter when we ate that pie! 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. Or buy one; they sell them at holiday times in the gluten free area in my local supermarket and at the local natural food store. Will save time to buy one…

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

photo 1

at 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.

This is about the fifth time I have blogged this recipe; first was in 2014. Been making it for like 18-20 years!

9 Years Gluten Free

Life moves on so rapidly: I just passed 9 years of eating totally gluten free. It is much easier than that first year. That was sure a lot to learn; terrifying making my first all gf meal for others. Fairly easy now. I quite enjoy the challenge of baking gf. I just made the most delicious gf blueberry scones this weekend. Tender and not that difficult to put together. It has been an interesting journey in my cooking/eating/lifestyle. I am glad to be able to eat safely food that I feel is as tasty as what I made before my celiac diagnosis.

I found a great pizza recipe with puffy chewy crust that is just delish. I think this latest bake is a favorite for me; loaf pan sourdough bread with seeds. Makes awesome toast. I made avocado toast last week and practically swooned with the incredible flavor of it. My angel food cake is just as delicate in its gf form. I made gravy that no one complains about and muffins that are easy and tasty. Recently I joined a gf sourdough baking group on fb. I didn’t expect there to be such an interest nor such beautiful breads. Yes, it is a good way to live, and no one should feel that being gf is impossible.

I have fully embraced the 1 for 1 baking flour blends; they are so great when you want to make an old favorite recipe into a gf version. Those scones I made were done with Bob’s Redmill 1-1 blend. As were all the fig ricotta cakes I make in the fall; based on a celebrity chef’s recipe that she says is her favorite cake. It is certainly a favorite of mine. So many pies and tarts come out of my oven, all gf and all a delight to share with my guy who doesn’t have to eat gf but never complains at what I put on the table for dinner.

Don’t get me wrong; eating out is generally a major challenge in the area of Pennsylvania where I live, very few places have more than a few items (if you are lucky!) on their menu that are gluten free. And don’t get me started on “gluten friendly” statements on menus. Uggh! The pandemic kinda reduced me to only home meals. I was unwilling to eat out other than an outside table. As things loosen up, I hope to soon eat out again and safely enjoy someone else’s cooking. Can’t wait.

Eating at family is possible although has been majorly crimped by covid worries. I hope to resume family visits later this spring. My sisters are very good at cooking gf for me. As are a number of friends. I feel so blessed to have caring people in my life that make it possible to share a meal or treat.

I still enjoy writing my blog on living gf. It is uniquely satisfying. I also love the process of remaking old recipes into gf versions. The new challenge of gf sourdough baking has me so intrigued. I just borrowed a cast iron oval Dutch oven and plan on testing it soon with some sourdough recipes. Fun to create and you get to eat your results!

So, if you are newly trying out the gf lifestyle due to celiac don’t freak; just try new things and work at eating safely. Honestly there are so many things that are naturally gf to eat, rice dishes, potato recipes, grains like quinoa. Lots of possibilities. Just read the ingredients on any packaged goods as hidden items and cross contamination is a real issue you will have to deal with. You may want to look back to my earliest blog posts; they were on the process of going gf and what it felt like; might be helpful for your journey to a gf lifestyle.

I am truly blest by my life and by what I create in my kitchen. A nine year journey that has gone pretty well on the whole. I hope your gf life is just as excellent!