Posts Tagged ‘Desserts’

Persimmons, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com All rights reserved

Many of you landing on this page today are probably looking for our gluten free version of the Finnish Pulla. Time just did not allow us to develop yet another yeast-based bread recipe. We hope to deliver this sometime in the new year. After reading about this recipe, we thought it was somewhat similar to a traditional challah bread, which is doable gluten free, but probably not in a ring shape. Braiding anything gluten free, without the excess use of starch, while still having it turn out light and fluffy, can prove to be very challenging. But enough said. No baked recipe today from us, but if you are so inclined, please stop by Erin’s beautiful site The Daily Morsel, who is the host for this recipe and has done a truly beautiful job with the regular gluten version of this recipe found in Baking with Julia on page 106-107. You can also check out all the beautiful creations by the rest of the TWD bakers at this site.

Persimmon Pudding, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Instead, we are treating you to one of our favorite pudding recipes, which, by the way, does not require any cooking, or baking. That is a true bonus, especially around this time of year, with an over-abundance of cookies and pies everywhere.  At this point, it should be noted that we love persimmons. Fuyu persimmons to be exact, since they are sweet, not at all astringent, and can therefore be eaten raw. Though they somehow resemble a yellow/orange tomato, their flavor is mild, sweet and rather exotic. We wish we could grow one right in our own yard. But our cold winter temperatures are just too extreme. To us the high enzyme profile of fresh persimmon, is an added bonus, especially since we adore raw fruits and vegetables.  Persimmons were more readily found back in the days when we lived in the Pacific Northwest and always signaled the onset of winter, since that is when they are generally available. Many people there are actually able to grow them in their own gardens. We were first introduced to persimmons at a local food co-op in the greater Seattle area, at a time, when the co-ops were still relatively small, and everybody knew everybody. Today that same “quaint” little co-op has morphed into a chain with stores the size of a Whole Foods – still offering great service, but due to size, much more impersonal.

Persimmons, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

This recipe is incredibly easy to make, and sets by itself, when chilled in the refrigerator for a few hours. If you want to make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients, which make 6-8 servings:

  •  6 ripe Fuyu persimmons, peeled, and quartered
  •  1 can of whole organic coconut milk, or 2 young coconuts (coconut water and meat)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 tsp. raw honey
  • shredded unsulphured coconut, for garnish, and/or white chocolate chips, coconut cream, or whipped cream (optional)

Place the peeled and quartered persimmons into a blender, add the coconut milk, vanilla extract and honey. Blend well, until creamy.

Persimmon Pudding, copyright 2012, gfcelebration.com, All rights reserved

Fill into your favorite dessert glasses or cups, and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours, ideally overnight. It will gel up beautifully.  If desired, before serving, garnish with a little shredded coconut, white chocolate chips, whipped coconut cream, or, if tolerated, regular whipped cream.

We hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do.

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This is a fabulous dessert, which makes both a wonderful birthday/celebration cake as well as a delicious finish to any dinner. You only need a few basic ingredients, many of which can be substituted for whatever you have on hand. We used these ingredients because they were easily available to us at the moment.  The combination of gluten free rice crispy cereal,  chocolate chips, coconut milk ice cream and fresh fruit, invokes images of fun and childhood birthday parties. Many years ago, we used to make ice cream birthday cakes, using rice ice cream (Rice Dream), dressing it up with little umbrellas, fresh fruit and lots of candles. Just be forewarned, placing lots of candles too close to tiny paper umbrellas has, on occasion, presented some problems. Children and adults alike love this particular cake, especially, if you are limited to eating gluten, dairy and/or egg free.

The steps to make it are very simple and easy, you just need to set aside a little time for freezing the cake.

Ingredients needed:

  • 4 cups of gluten free rice crispies (Koala Crisp, by EnviroKidz)
  • 1/2 cup of gluten free chocolate chips
  • 1 pint of Purely Decadent Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream, slightly softened
  • 1 pint of Trader Joe’s Vanilla frozen Greek yoghurt, slightly softened (for a dairy free option, just use the vanilla coconut milk ice cream)
  • 3 fresh Nectarines, washed and thinly sliced (peaches, strawberries, or other fresh fruit of your choice)

Melt the chocolate chips over low heat. Mix with the rice crispies. Lightly grease the 9-inch spring form pan with a little butter. Fill the chocolate rice crispies mixture into the spring form, creating an even layer both on the bottom as well as the sides, which should be about 1-1/2 inches in height. Fill with the chocolate coconut ice cream, spreading it out evenly and smoothing out the top. This will be your bottom layer. Cover with a layer of the frozen vanilla Greek yoghurt (or vanilla coconut milk ice cream of your choice). Place the dessert in the freezer for about 2 hours.

Remove from the freezer and top the cake with a layer of sliced nectarines before serving.

This makes for a great dessert any time of the year, but especially during the heat of the summer, when the mere thought of turning on the oven becomes unbearable. It is delicious, and the best part is, that it is gluten and egg-free! If you wish to make this recipe dairy free as well, just substitute the Greek yoghurt with vanilla coconut milk  ice cream.

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Look what came in the mail last week  :-)

Shabtai Bakery Products

A few weeks ago, the wonderful people at Shabtai Bakery approached us with the request to review their gluten free products. After checking out their website and seeing their delicious desserts, we agreed to do an independent review. Who doesn’t love dessert? What excited us about this bakery, however, is the fact that they provide not only gluten and dairy free baked goods, but all of their products are peanut, casein, lactose, corn, soy and preservative free as well. Everything is also prepared in a certified gluten free and kosher facility.

The bakery is named after Shabtai, the owner of the company, who learned the art of baking from his father, and has been honing his craft for over 30 years. His mission is to provide the finest quality baked goods that are free of most allergens, yet provide a familiar culinary experience, one that many in the gluten free community have given up on ever experiencing again.

We, in particular, are looking to test any gluten free products on members of the regular gluten eating world as well, just to invite a more objective comparison against regular fare.  Those of you that are familiar with our own preference for whole gluten free grain alternatives and low or no sugar, should take note, that in a general product review, we try to stay completely neutral, instead of becoming dogmatic about one or two ingredients. Instead, we are looking at whether a company’s product provides truthful disclosure, overall value to the gluten free community, and above all, meeting the requirements of  being prepared in a dedicated and certified gluten free facility.

In researching the Shabtai Bakery, we found them to meet all of the above requirements, even though their products use more starches and sugars than meets our personal preference. But since not all of you reading this ;-) have the same concerns, we felt doubly encouraged to accept this review.

Since Shabtai was very generous in providing us with five different boxes of products, we felt it necessary to invite a larger group of individuals to help in our review. As mentioned, we wanted to invite celiac and gluten-free individuals as well as non-allergen concerned people to take part in this review. Therefore, we held a gluten-free product tasting at Stockton Hair Artists in Albuquerque, NM. Thomas Stockton, our personal hairdresser, invited several friends and other stylists, some of which are gluten intolerant, or have other food allergies, to participate in our taste test.

For the review, Shabtai provided us with one apricot roll, on box each of ring tings, black and white cookies, florentine lace cookies and chocolate chip cookies.

Once they opened the boxes, everyone immediately commented on how good everything looked. The Florentine Lace and the Black and White cookies disappeared immediately, taking top spot as everyone’s favorite, closely followed by the enticing looking apricot roll. Many people felt that the chocolate chip cookies, while very tasty, were a little dry and crumbly and tasted a little unfamiliar to this group. Some thought it was due to the  interesting addition of cinnamon, which is not usually found in regular chocolate chip cookies.

The ring tings, which are a variety of a rich snack cake (something like a regular Hostess cake, or so we are told), were loved, but considered a little too rich and sweet by some testers. One, in particular, envisioned the ring tings to be a better frozen dessert with ice cream, which, by the way, is one of the recommendations by Shabtai himself.

When asked how these desserts compared with regular fare, almost all felt that they were indistinguishable. Almost all desired to purchase them again, except for one, who backed up his comment by saying that he would just eat way too many.

Sampler Plate of Shabtai Desserts

Prior to the general review at Stockton’s, we sampled each of these desserts ourselves. The apricot roll, florentine lace cookies and the black and white cookies were something that I (Inge) was familiar with when I lived in Europe. The apricot roll was similar to a jelly, or fruit filled biscuit roll, often seen in European bakeries. The florentine cookies, used to be a tasty treat in the past (prior to the diagnosis of gluten intolerance), and the black and white cookies I first encountered in a small bakery in San Francisco, quite some time ago.

Shabtai Florentine Lace Cookie

I loved the taste, flavor and crunchy texture of the Florentine Lace cookies the best. They were also not overly sweet and quite satisfying. I could envision them to go well with a scoop of So Delicious ice cream.

The Black and White Cookies, were almost on par with the Florentines, and I especially loved the subtle hint of marzipan. Their delicate texture and flavor were only enhanced by the chocolate and white frosting. These would definitely be a sought after item on anyone’s dessert table.

Shabtai Apricot Roll

The Apricot Roll was beautifully presented and, like all the other desserts, made quite an impression. It was a tad sweet, but this is coming from someone who really doesn’t consume a lot of sugar. You may feel differently and should definitely try it yourself.

I was unfamiliar with the Ring Tings, having never tried anything like it before. Their texture was soft, sweet, very “chocolatey” and decadent, filled with a vanilla filling. I could see, that trying them frozen, might lend a different taste experience. Something to try in the future.

Shabtai Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookies, upon first sight, reminded me of  Mother’s Cookies, the regular gluten containing variety, found in many stores.  Not having seen, or tasted any commercial choices in a very long time, I was curious to give these a try, especially in light of the fact, that they did not contain any whole grain gluten free flours. Instead, they are made with potato  starch and almond flour. I appreciated and liked their flavor, but thought they could be a little more moist. Overall very acceptable, but these were not my personal favorite.

For my part I (Gillian), was also familiar with the Florentine Lace Cookies and the Apricot Roll, having tried something like it in the past. While I have heard of these type of Black and White cookies being very popular in New York, I never had the opportunity to try them myself. The Ring Tings were also something which I had never sampled, or even heard of before, so I was truly unsure of what to expect.

Shabtai Black and White Cookie

Out of the samples I tried, my personal favorite were the Black and White cookies, closely followed by the Florentine Lace. I love most desserts that have a flavor of marzipan (the recipe for marzipan sticks in our book being a personal favorite), so for me, the Black and White cookies were almost perfect. One half covered in white icing, the other in dark chocolate, perfectly complimented the subtle marzipan flavor and the slightly chewy texture. These would certainly be a dessert which I would seek out in the future for special occasions or parties.

Shabtai Florentine Lace Cookies

The Florentine Lace cookies were definitely my other favorite, being crunchy, but not too sweet. The slight spicy flavor of cinnamon balanced the flavor of the walnuts, which are the base for this cookie, as well as providing a nice contrast to the rich dark chocolate which covered one half.

Shabtai Apricot Roll

Now the Apricot Roll is something that I have tried in the past, albeit in a slightly different form with less sugar being used. In this version I felt that while the texture was just about perfect, the flavor was nice, but slightly overwhelmed by the amount of sugar used. However, this is coming from someone who does not particularly care for overly sweet desserts. I felt that this would have been much nicer if the wonderful flavor of the apricots, which happen to be one of my favorite fruits, were allowed to shine through more.

Shabtai Chocolate Chip Cookies

The chocolate chip cookies were okay, though unlike any chocolate chip cookies I have ever made, or tasted before. Made with cinnamon, they had a unique flavor. They were not overly sweet, which I appreciated, but I did feel that they were way too dry and crumbly for my personal taste.

Shabtai Ring Tings

The Ring Tings ended up on the bottom of my personal list, only because I felt that they were way too sweet. I love almost anything and everything made with chocolate, at least dark chocolate. However, for me that was completely over shadowed by the heavy icing and super sweet vanilla filling. The texture was alright, sort of making me think of a slightly dry marshmallow, but I had a tough time even discerning the flavor. Maybe you would feel differently?? From what I understand, these cakes can be frozen, which might also tone down the effects of the sugar.

Shabtai Sampler Plate

Overall, we are giving this bakery a thumbs up, for their outstanding contribution to the gluten and allergen-free community, and their success in offering products that even non-gluten free people will rave about. Shabtai has succeeded in offering familiar desserts sans gluten.

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