Thursday, September 17, 2009

Peach Raspberry Cobbler



Sometime last winter (November? December?) I found myself half-kneeling in my backyard, trying to pick up the remains of the peaches that had fallen off the tree in autumn. It was so sad! I'd been in the exhausted stage of pregnancy when the peaches ripened, and I don't think that we ate more than half a dozen of them! Well, this year is different already. I've got boxes of peaches waiting to be bottled, and last night I cut up some of the more bruised ones and made Peach Raspberry Cobbler. I like to make and freeze extra batches of filling so that I can serve it all year long. One and a half batches will just fill a 9x13 pan. Use a double batch if you want more filling (or if you can't imagine trying to use half an egg in the topping).


Peach Raspberry Cobbler

Topping:

1 c. featherlight mix
1/3 tsp. xanthan gum
2 Tbs. sugar
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ c. butter or margarine
1 egg
¼ c. milk


Filling:

2/3 c. sugar
1 Tbs. cornstarch
½ - 1 tsp. cinnamon
¼ c. water
4 cups unsweetened peach slices
¼ - ½ c. fresh or frozen raspberries

Combine all topping ingredients (except for egg and milk) in a small bowl. Mix together until it looks like coarse crumbs. Set it aside.

Peel and slice the peaches. (I used the peaches that had fallen from the tree . . . just make sure you cut off all the bruised parts!)



For the filling, combine the sugar, cornstarch, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Whisk them together to remove any clumps of cornstarch. Add the 1/4 c. of water and whisk it again. (No one wants to find a clump of cornstarch in their cobbler. Blech!) Stir in the peach slices.


Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, then add the raspberries.

When the filling starts bubbling again, remove it from the heat and pour it into a 9x9 baking dish.


In a small bowl, combine egg and milk. Add them to the dry topping ingredients, and stir until just moistened.



You can see that it's rather sticky. Drop spoonfuls of topping on top of the filling, trying to cover most of it.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 – 25 minutes, or until topping is a golden brown. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Mmmmm . . . I think I'll go eat some more!



Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dehydrated Pears


This topic isn't really thrillingly gluten free, but yummy nonetheless. At the end of the summer, I usually break out my food dehydrator and start drying things. Yesterday there was a sale on pears at a local store - they were 20 cents per pound. When I got to the store, there was only an empty 4x4x3 foot box where the pears had been. The produce stockers promised more, so I waited for 30 minutes or so. Eventually the employees brought out 3 more of those huge boxes of pears, and the stampede began. Those boxes were empty within 20 minutes, and the produce stockers got a lot of good, clean fun out of the spectacle.
So, what does one do with several bushels of pears? If one is an adept bottler, one bottles them. I (unfortunately) am not. So I bribed my neighbor into helping me bottle them once they ripen. In the meantime I am drying a half bushel that I bought last week. Drying pears doesn't require a lot of knowledge, just some time. But in case the thought of drying fruit scares you, here are the necessary (highly technical) directions.

Peel the pears. Don't cut off your thumb.

Cut the pears in half lengthwise. Core the pears, starting at the fat end. Make sure you pull out most of the stringy things that run from the seeds up to the stem. (I told you these directions were highly technical!)



Place the pear halves, flat side down, on a cutting board. Cut 1/16 to 1/8 inch thick slices.



Spread the pears out on the tray of a food dehydrator. Don't worry about crowding them in; they'll shrink as they dry, and you'll be able to pull apart any pears that get stuck together. Stack the trays on the base of your food dehydrator, and plug it in. Dry them at 135 degrees for 6 to 8 hours. (If your dehydrator isn't adjustable, just keep an eye on them after 4 hours or so.)


Once they are dry, unplug the dehydrator and store the pears in closed containers. You can freeze them if you plan on keeping them for a long time. If your family is going to eat them before you can fully empty all the trays, however, just go ahead and keep them on the counter.
Dried pears are very sweet and incredibly addictive . . . be careful that you don't eat too many at once!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

GF Mix and Featherlight Mix

We use two basic gluten free flour mixes for most of our cooking. Both mixes were developed by Bette Hagman, the author of the Gluten Free Gourmet cookbooks. The recipes for these mixes are:

GF Mix

6 c. rice flour
2 c. potato STARCH*
1 c. tapioca starch


Featherlight Mix

1 c. rice flour
1 c. tapioca starch
1 c. cornstarch
1 Tbs. potato FLOUR*


I mix up large batches of flour mixes at one time and keep them in my cabinet.

*Potato flour is not the same as potato starch. Make sure you use the right one!

Doughnuts

I've never been fully satisfied with the doughnut recipe from our cookbook, so the other day I decided to do some experimenting. I pulled about 6 gluten-filled recipes off the net, combined them, and then made them with gluten free flours. They were really good! The texture was just like "normal" cake doughnuts, and the flavor was great. My husband wanted to throw away the oil, but I wouldn't let him. Something this yummy deserved an encore!

Gluten Free Cake Doughnuts

1 c. GF Mix
3 c. Featherlight Mix
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1 c. sugar
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. mace (or use 1/2 tsp. nutmeg)
1 c. milk
3 eggs
4 Tbs. melted butter
1 tsp. vanilla



Combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Mix well. Let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.





You can see that the dough is a little sticky, but the refrigeration helps. Now, to shape the doughnuts there are two possible methods. The first is to roll the dough out on parchment paper that has been dusted with potato starch. Using one large and one small cookie cutter, cut out doughnut shapes. The second (which I prefer) is to scoop out balls of dough with a cookie scooper, pat them out with a little potato starch to keep them from sticking, then swirl them around on a sheet of parchment paper until they are shaped like doughnuts. I'm not explaining this so well. Better watch the video.


video


Fry shaped doughnuts in hot oil; one recipe said 370 degrees, but I must admit that I didn't actually check the temperature - I just turned it down a bit when it started to burn my doughnuts.





Cook until golden brown on the first side, then turn and cook until golden brown on the second side. Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Enjoy!