Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Gluten-Free Lemon-Bar Pie Recipe

This gluten-free lemon-bar-pie recipe emerged when tinkering around with another recipe I really enjoy — the "Lemon Bars" recipe from our Gluten-Free Desserts Cookbook provided the sweet yet tangy lemon custard filling (the recipe is on page 152 in the printed version; on the Kindle version, just use the search feature to locate "lemon bars" quickly).  The custard filling was combined with a simple to make pie crust yielding this "Lemon Bar Pie" (as I call it at home), or perhaps just "Tangy Lemon Custard Pie" for anyone not familiar with the reference to the gluten-free lemon bars this descended from.

When I get a craving for a truly lemony dessert, I want to feed that craving with enough lemon to do the trick: this calls for an abundance of tangy citrus goodness from fresh-squeezed lemon juice and the zest of those lemons.  So often, lemon-flavored products just do not feature enough lemon to do the trick; that is certainly not the case with this recipe... we embrace lemons and their awesome flavor.

The Pie Crust
The gluten-free pie-crust recipe for this creation was something my wife just tossed together as an experiment quickly, and if the notes I jotted down accurately reflect everything that went into the final product, it was:

  • ½ Stick Butter (i.e., 4 Tablespoons) - soft/partially-melted
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • ½ Cup Ground Flaxseed
  • 1 Cup Almond Meal
  • 1/3 Cup Unsweetened medium-shredded Coconut

This was mixed together in a bowl by hand until ingredients were equally dispersed for the most part.  Then, this was pressed into a pie pan (or, technically in this case it was a Pyrex pie plate).  The crust was baked for approximately 25 minutes at 325F before adding the custard filling and baking it another 25 minutes or so (until the lemon filling sets up).

The Lemon Custard Filling
The gluten-free lemon bars custard-filling recipe (from our cookbook) is rather simple and very much lemon-centric, using just the following ingredients: a few lemons (their juice and zest), a few eggs, some sugar, and a bit of cornstarch.  There is no watering down that lemon power... lemons provide all the liquid here.  That's it... a potent lemon filling for our pie.  Exact custard recipe can be found in either of these:

The Result: Gluten-Free Lemon Lover's Dessert

I certainly enjoyed the outcome of this combination of wheat-free / gluten-free crust and filling.  The coconut and almond in the crust provided wonderful synergistic flavors that blended beautifully with the tangy-sweet lemon custard.  In addition, the ground flax, almond meal, and coconut provide a more hearty texture to the pie crust.

The pie version maintains its dedication to the all important lemon flavor while slightly de-emphasizing the lemon — as compared to the original lemon-bars which have a very neutral base/crust where the only added flavor is perhaps a bit of vanilla —  this crust contributes more flavors of coconut, flax, and almond that combine with the lemon wonderfully.  

If you are a lemon-lover like me, I am sure you will enjoy both the original gluten-free lemon-bars and this lemon-bar-pie variation!  Yum!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipes

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipes

Thick Crust, Thin Crust, Batter Crust... you choose

This blog posting was inspired by a friend contacting me the other day looking for a gluten-free pizza-crust recipe he could bake that would satisfy his craving for a good pizza (he has just recently joined the ranks of the Celiac / GF population).  He had just tried some store-bought pre-made GF pizza crust and was quite disappointed with it, so I pointed him in the direction of our gluten-free recipes library after quickly mentioning what types of crust recipes we had made available online.  And, I figured I might as well recap the discussion here too for anyone else wanting a better gluten-free pizza crust than they can find at the store.

There are a few gluten-free pizza-crust recipes and approaches that we use regularly.  Each is quite different from the other, and offers substantial variation in taste, texture, and complexity (for creation).  Depending on how much time you have to prepare your pizza and/or what ingredients you have available and what type of crust style you prefer, one of these recipes should do the trick or serve as a great starting point for your own GF pizza creation.

Note: the section-headings below link to the recipes when clicked.

Gluten-Free Thick-Crust Pizza Dough Recipe

Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe : Thick Crust
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe : Thick Crust

This is my own personal favorite — a lovely Thick-Crust Pizza that is very much like the "real thing"; and, though it takes a bit of investment with regards to preparation time, the satisfaction of eating a near-real pizza makes up for that.   This is a wonderful traditional raised pizza crust with thick bread-like outer crust edges that is both dairy-free and gluten-free, with great taste and texture.

We make use of Millet and Teff flours as well as yeast (combined, these all help result in a very convincingly "real pizza crust" flavor).  This is a yeast-raised dough, and as such it takes a bit of time to make (crust needs time to raise... about 40minutes just for that), but it is worth it if you really miss "real" pizza.  And, though I typically avoid Xanthan Gum and all gums in my foods, I make a rare exception when it comes to this Pizza crust my wife developed.

Load the crust down with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings and enjoy!  I know I do.
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe : Thin-Crust Variety
Gluten-Free Pizza Crust Recipe : Thin-Crust Variety

This Gluten-Free Thin-Crust Pizza Dough recipe produces a very convincing pizza crust that will have a crispier, crunchier outer crust edge once baked, and an overall texture and taste quite similar to the real thing. This is more of a thin-crust type pizza, and we have found this recipe to be great for sheet-type pizzas.

Though this recipe contains yeast, it is really a baking-powder leavened recipe (the yeast is for flavor) so there is no waiting for the dough to rise prior to baking. The crust is pre-baked (before placing sauce/toppings on it), and then baked a bit more to melt the cheese(s) and cook any toppings.

And, though I posted this picture of the thin-crust pizza on my blog in the past, I just noticed that I have yet to post the picture(s) onto our recipe library. oops!  I will update that soon, but at least the recipe is there for all to see. :)

Batter-type Thin/Medium Gluten-Free Pizza Crust (simple/quick Recipe)

The batter-type approach to a pizza-crust makes for a decent pizza in a bit less time than some other alternatives, as it is made quite similarly to a pancake.  It is also baking-powder leavened so there is no wait for dough to rise.  The batter is poured into pan(s) on the stovetop where it is fried before applying toppings.  Once toppings are added, the pizza(s) are finished by baking in the oven.

Sauce:  there is a  homemade gluten-free pizza sauce recipe on our website in case you need or want one. It's really simple to make, and has a good flavor on pizzas.  

The techniques used in these various crust approaches should give you a nice foundation for creating your own variations too.  I have made all sorts of related recipes and have even created adaptations using things like Whey Protein and pre-hydrated Chia Seed slurries and more (in lieu of Xanthan Gum).  Experiment with various flours and create your perfect taste and texture; perhaps you like Buckwheat or flax seed more than other flavors... the sky is the limit.

All this talk of pizza has me craving one now! mmmmmm... pizza!

Continue to read this Gluten-Free Blog for all sorts of gluten-free recipes, product-reviews, and related information. In addition, visit my Gluten-Free Recipes Site where many of the recipes I have featured on this blog are available.