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Category Archives: Baking

Peach Kuchen

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I once got to spend a summer in Moscow…  Russia, not Idaho.  It was a great summer.  I learned a lot that year.  I was eighteen, just out of high school.  I learned this pie recipe from the family who housed me during my stay.  Kuchen is actually the German word for “cake,” but the usage covers this kind of pie.  It has been through many variations since I made it the first time.  This is the variety that I use today.  It was the pie I served for John’s birthday and concluded our Pi Day festivities.

I actually made two of these pies since the coconut yogurt came in exactly the amount needed for a double recipe.  It must also be noted that I am not above feeding the leftovers to my children for breakfast.

Peach Kuchen

Peach Kuchen

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Combine in a 9″ pie pan:
1 1/3 cup sifted gluten free flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar

Cut in with a fork until well blended:
1/3 cup palm oil shortening

Pat mixture over bottom and sides the pie pan.

Arrange in pastry (Don’t overfill or the juices will overflow and burn in the bottom of your oven, trust me):
4-6 sliced peaches, canned (about 2 cans, drained), frozen, or fresh (peel if desired)

Blend in a bowl and sprinkle over the peaches:
¼ cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Bake 15 minutes.

Combine well (reuse the sugar bowl to save on dishes):
1 egg replacer egg
1 cup plain coconut yogurt

Pour yogurt mixture over peaches and bake 30 minutes longer.

Serve warm or cold as desired.

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Pierogi Pizza

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Yesterday was John’s birthday.  It happens to fall on National Pi Day, and it makes this former math teacher giggle every year.  For several years I’ve made him pie for dessert instead of cake at his request.  His favorite meal is pizza.  If you haven’t noticed, we don’t have pizza often.  It’s hard enough when you’re gluten free, but toss in dairy and tomatoes and it all gets more complicated.  Now, John can still eat pizza, he’s not allergic, but the date falling during Lent puts a hitch in the situation.  This issue was discussed last week in a Facebook group I follow.  One suggestion was to try a pierogi flavored pizza.  Thanks for the idea, Elizabeth; it was great!

We tried to make real gluten free pierogis when we were studying Poland last school year.  It was pretty much a flop.  They all fell apart in the boiling water.  It was so bad that I finally baked the rest.  The baked ones were great, but I pretty much gave up trying to make gluten free-egg free pierogis ever again.  Pierogi Pizza was a much better idea.

Pierogi Pizza
I started with this pizza crust recipe.  As always I was missing a few ingredients, so I improvised a little.

I started by mixing this gluten free flour blend:

2 cups sorghum flour
2 cups tapioca starch
1 cup potato starch
1 cup teff flour

I doubled this pizza crust for my family, but next time I might triple it.  It worked out this time because I had extra mashed potatoes and dessert coming.  Don’t worry I plan to share the dessert recipe in the next post.

Pizza Crust
1 3/4 cups gluten free flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon ground flax seed
1 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup almond milk
2 Tablespoons safflower oil
1/2 teaspoon vinegar, optional

In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.

Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. Add a tablespoon or two of additional liquid at a time, until dough comes together easily. Cover and let sit at room temp for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. With lightly oiled hands, press dough into a 10″ circle on a lightly floured pan, building up edge slightly.  Bake for 13-15 minutes.

Remove crusts from oven, top with sauce, etc. and return to oven. Heat until toppings are bubbly, about 8-10 minutes. Parbaked crusts can be stored frozen to use as needed.

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This is the part where we diverged from traditional pizza recipes.

Earlier in the week I started fermenting sauerkraut using cabbage from my St. Patrick’s Day produce pack using mason jars and this method.  The finished product was waiting in the refrigerator.

Once I had my pizza dough mixed and resting, I started boiling 2.5 -3 lbs of potatoes for our mashed potato “sauce”.  These I mashed with almond milk and some nutritional yeast.  Sorry I didn’t measure that part.  Then I mixed in about two cups of sauerkraut.  Taste and add salt if needed.   The adults in the house thought that it needed more kraut, but the kids thought it was just right.

While the potatoes were boiling, I started browning one very large thinly sliced onion in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Stir regularly.  Once the onions were pretty brown 10-15 minutes, I drizzled them with a couple of tablespoons of safflower oil, sprinkled them with salt, and reduced the heat to medium-low for another ten minutes or so.

Then I sliced mushrooms and tossed them in to saute with the onions.  I had a few sprigs of fresh thyme from my St. Patty’s pack, so that went in too.  At this point I felt that it needed some color.  Once the mushrooms were cooked I added some spinach I had in the fridge leftover from our spring rolls the day before.

Somewhere towards the end of mashing the potatoes and cooking the mushrooms, I patted the dough out on the floured pizza pans and parbaked them according to the directions above.

I spread the mashed potato “sauce” on the cooked crust and topped it with the onion and mushroom mixture.  Discard the thyme stems as needed.   Bake for another 8 minutes and serve with oven roasted asparagus.

St. Lucia Day Soup and Buns

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Growing up I read about St. Lucia traditions in this book.  I have loved this Swedish tradition since childhood, but last year was our first year to celebrate it.  This year we made almost traditional St. Lucia Buns with a gluten free, vegan twist for our homeschool co-op yesterday.  Tonight the kids took a few extra St. Lucia buns to the neighbors while dressed up.  Buster made the props for himself and Little Man.

St_Lucia2013
Yesterday at our homeschool co-op I read this book about St. Lucia, and the children made St. Lucia crowns.  The boys had the option of crafting and decorating spruce trees in to remember St. Herman who shares this feast day.  One of the moms graciously made both recipes from this blog post about St. Herman Day to share alongside our St. Lucia buns and soup.  Here is a great book about St. Herman for your bookshelf.

The soup we made during class yesterday, so today my family ate the leftovers.  This is a Sicilian St. Lucia soup that I modified only slightly to make it allergy friendly for my family.  The original recipe calls for wheat, but we use brown rice instead.  We also had to leave out the pepper for Buster. Moreover, the original recipe has you cook each ingredient in separate pot, but I’ve streamlined the instructions to just use one large soup pot.  Use one that holds at least seven quarts because this recipe makes a lot of soup!

St Lucia Soup and Buns
Every time I make this soup the leftover components of this soup absorb almost all of the broth, so add more water when you reheat or be content to eat it as beans and rice the next day.

Cuccia – St. Lucia Soup
1 lb uncooked brown rice
1 lb dry fava beans
1 lb dry ceci (garbanzo beans)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp salt, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil (optional, I’ve always forgotten this ingredient and nobody seems to mind)
Lots of water

Soak the beans in separate bowls over night.

About three hours before dinner drain and rinse the fava beans and place them in a pot covered well with water.  Add the garlic and bay leaves to the pot.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer for one hour. Stir occasionally,  skim off any foam, and add water as needed to keep the beans covered.

After one hour add the garbanzo beans with additional water.  Bring back to a boil and reduce to simmer for another hour.  Stir occasionally,  skim off any foam, and add water as needed to keep the beans covered.

After this hour add the rice and the salt to the pot with 4-6 cups of additional water, so that the rice will have enough water to cook while still leaving you with soup.  Stir well and place the lid on the pot.  Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  Add more water if necessary.

Adjust salt to taste and pour olive oil over the top as desired.

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I started with the St. Lucia Bun Recipe here and worked to make it vegan.  Last year I tried it with yeast, and this year I resorted to baking powder.  It was missing the yeasty flavor, but we liked the outcome.

Gluten Free – Vegan St. Lucia Buns

1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon guar gum (omit if using a blend that already includes xanthan or guar gum)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tbsp Ener-G egg replacer powder
raisins, as garnish

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

In a small microwave safe bowl combine the coconut oil, milk, water, and crumbled saffron threads. Heat in the microwave on high for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave for another 15 seconds, and stir. If the oil is not melted, heat for another 15 seconds until it is. Set the milk mixture aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients, and mix well.

Add the liquid mixture and mix until the dry ingredients have incorporated the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer up to high and allow it to beat for a minute or so. Some of the dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl and should be relatively smooth, but tacky to the touch. If the dough seems too stiff, begin to add a little bit more milk, a tablespoon at a time, beating in between additions until the proper consistency is reached.  If the dough is too sticky, add more flour a tablespoon at a time until it fits the above description.

Turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface, and divide with a bench scraper into 10-12 equal portions.

For each portion of dough sprinkle very lightly with flour and roll back and forth into a rope about 9 inches in length that tapers slightly at each end. The dough should be pretty easy to handle. Place the rope of dough perpendicular to your body, and curl one end of the dough toward the right and back on itself in a coil. Curl the other end of the dough back on itself in the opposite direction in a coil (see photo). Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place the pieces of shaped dough on a nonstick or parchment lined rimmed baking sheet about 2 inches apart from one another.  Place the raisins in the center of the two coils at the end of each roll.  Brush each roll with a little almond milk.

Place the rolls in the center of the preheated oven and bake rotating once during baking for 12-15, or until cooked throughout. Since these are vegan, they won’t brown the same as other baked goods, but they will taste great anyway.

Ruth’s Pie Crust

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I’ve been cooking up some vegan pumpkin pie today.  I mostly used this recipe for the filling.  I only made some minor changes, like regular white sugar, simple molasses, and a little fiddling with the spices to omit the cinnamon, but the flavor is still not compromised.

That cranberry sauce in the picture isn’t anything fancy. I just follow the recipe on the package.

Pumpkin Pie

I’ve been working on my pie crust for several Thanksgivings, but last year I found my favorite combination.

Ruth’s Pie Crust
(double for a pie that needs a top crust)

1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/4 cup garbanzo flour
1/4 cup arrowroot starch
1/4 cup tapioca starch
1 tsp guar gum
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
1/4 cup palm oil shortening
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp white vinegar

In a bowl blend all of the dry ingredients.  Cut in the palm oil until the mixture is crumbly and well blended.  Add the water and vinegar, and stir until smooth.

Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thickness and gently place in your pie pan.  I find that this dough is very forgiving when you have to press the inevitable tears back together.  Trim and shape the edges as desired.

For a simple shell bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.  Otherwise follow the directions in your pie recipe.

Ruth’s Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

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It’s been a busy day full of cooking and sewing.  I hope you are all having a great holiday week!  I haven’t actually made this today, but I’ve baked the bread.  Tomorrow I will finish the stuffing in time for the family meal.   I’ll try to add a good picture later.

Teff Sandwich Bread

I can’t figure out where I got the millet bread recipe, so I’ll share it below.

Ruth’s Gluten Free Thanksgiving Stuffing

1/2 loaf sandwich bread and 1/2 pan millet bread, a few days old, chopped in one inch cubes
1/2 onion, small diced
2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbsp olive oil
8-10 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 tsp salt, to taste
1-2 cups broth (turkey, chicken, or vegetable)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Saute the celery, onion, and garlic in the olive oil until translucent, 5-8 minutes.   Add the sage and salt.  Saute for 1-2 more minutes.

In a large bowl mix the onion blend with the bread until evenly distributed.  Stir in the broth about 1/4 cup at a time until you are happy with the stuffing consistency.  Use less if you want a more bread-like product.  Use more if you want something closer to a savory bread pudding–whichever makes you happy.

Fill a large casserole dish with the stuffing and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Serve with turkey and all the trimmings.

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Millet Bread
This millet bread is what I use in place of corn bread.  I even use it to make millet dogs.  The kids were asking for it, so I imagine we’ll have millet dogs during the 12 Days of Christmas.

Millet Bread

1 1/2 cups millet flour
1/2 cup garbanzo flour
2 tsp guar gum
3 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup mild flavored cooking oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup water

Grease one cast iron skillet or 8 inch square cake pans. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Pour in cooking oil, honey, and water. Stir completely until the mixture is thick and moist.

Spoon batter into loaf pan. Bake 30-40 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

Gluten Free-Vegan Baking with Persimmons

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I was able to procure a case of thirty fuyu persimmons from Bountiful Baskets last week.  In all the hubbub of getting the boys out the door, I had no time to use any of them.  With all the cooking done for Thursday and Friday, Snuggle Bunny and I made time to bake together.  We don’t often get the chance to do that.  Buster proclaims a desire to be a chef one day and that kind enthusiasm can sometimes cramp the style of mother-daughter cooking time.  Snuggle Bunny meticulously chopped all of the pecans for our baking today and did a great job measuring the ingredients.  I do think my little girl has grown up faster than I realized.  The results of our experimentation was worthy of sharing.

First, we removed the pulp of most of the persimmons from their skin with a spoon and pureed it in the blender.   This step is critical to the success of these recipes because of the liquid released by this process.  In our first batch of cookies, we mashed the pulp with a fork then had to add water to make the dough come together, but the results of were still off in some way.  The second try with pureed persimmons worked perfectly.  I started with this recipe and made a few simple substitutions.

Persimmon Cookies

1/2 cup pureed persimmon, about 3 fuyu
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups GF all-purpose flour
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 Ener-G Egg Replacer egg (a real egg or a flax egg would work, too)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup palm oil shortening (don’t sub coconut oil or you will get a very thin crispy cookie, I tried)
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve baking soda in pureed persimmon and set aside.

Sift flour, spices and salt together in a small bowl.

In a larger bowl, cream together butter or margarine and sugar until fluffy, beat in egg and persimmon.

Stir in dry ingredients. Fold in nuts and raisins.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

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Persimmon Cookies and Muffins

Last year I tried this persimmon bread recipe.  It had a good flavor, but I had trouble getting it to cook throughout in the time allotted.  It was likely because sometimes using egg replacer compromises the integrity of a recipe.  This year I wanted to find a good vegan recipe that could stand the test of time.  One that we could give as gifts or take to church and share.  After a little internet research, I had a brainstorm.  Bananas are a good egg replacement option.  What if I simply used my favorite banana muffin recipe (I make it with nuts instead of chocolate chips) and replaced some of the banana with persimmon puree?  The results were amazing!

As a side note, the same source has one of my favorite sandwich bread recipes too.  It also uses teff flour.  Teff is the smallest grain in the world.  It is traditionally used in an Ethiopian flat bread called injera.   Teff comes in brown and ivory colors, either can be used in these recipes.  I only have brown teff right now, but this recipe might be nicer with ivory teff.  I love the nutty flavor and lovely texture it brings to my baked goods.

Banana-Persimmon Muffins
Yeilds 
16-18 muffins

1 ½ cups sorghum flour
1 cup teff flour
½ cup tapioca flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons guar gum
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cups mashed ripe bananas, about 2 large
1 cup pureed persimmon, about 5-6 fuyu
1 cup water (or milk of your choice)
¼ cup safflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup raisins (your choice of color) or chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Lightly oil 2 muffin pans.

In a large bowl whisk the dry ingredients together.

Place the bananas into a 4-cup glass measuring cup and mash with a fork; it should equal approximately 1 cup.  Pour in one cup of persimmon puree.  Add the water (or milk) to the fruit and whisk it together with the oil and vanilla.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix together being careful not to over mix.  Gently fold in the dried fruit and nuts.

Spoon batter into oiled pans, gently rounding the tops with the back of a spoon into a loaf shape (I actually just use one of those large cookie scoops [a heaping 1/4 cup].  Then, the rounding is done without any extra effort.).

Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  Loosen sides with a knife, as needed, and gently take out of pans and place onto a wire rack to cool.

Biscuits and Gravy

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We love bacon, but we don’t eat it often.  Anything that is over three dollars a pound is generally considered a delicacy at our house.  Everyone gets excited when there is bacon at breakfast.

First thing make a good sized batch of your favorite biscuits.  We use the one out of this cookbook, but I would love to find a good recipe using only whole grains with no added starches.  Any recommendations?

Next heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When it is hot, cook the bacon left over from last night to your desired crispness.  Drain the bacon on paper towels, and reserve the grease in the pan.  Use the bacon grease to make cream gravy.

Biscuits and Gravy

Cream Gravy

Reserved bacon grease from above, still hot
1/2 cup garbanzo or millet flour
1/2 tsp salt, to taste
2-3 cups of your favorite milk (I use almond or coconut)

With the burner still on, Whisk the flour and salt into the hot oil for about one minute.  It should turn a lovely golden brown color.

Continue whisking as you add the milk.  Bring to a low boil and add more milk to get the gravy to your desired consistency.  Adjust salt to taste.  Add pepper if your family can partake.

Spoon over biscuits and serve with cooked bacon, eggs, and fruit as desired.