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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Pie Crust for a Apple pie to brag about!


So last post I mentioned that I had a pie crust recipe my friend Helen had given me that I really wanted to try. It was a regular crust recipe that I needed to convert to gluten free. Well today I think I got it on the first try...I did have to adjust  the amount of  water that went into it, and add some xanthan gum, but other than that it was pretty straight forward.

The picture of the pie does not do it justice. Although the pie is still to hot to taste, as it just came out of the oven, I can assure you it is going to be a winner! How can I tell, you ask? Well I cheated and broke off a piece of the crust to sample. It was tender, and flaky, and I honestly don't think my family is going to know the difference. Here is the reason why....I made chocolate cupcakes the other day when converting a regular cake recipe to gluten free. (still working on it) The cupcakes turned out a little more dense than I personally care for, but my daughter and her family ranted, and raved about them....asking what kind of cupcakes they were. Well in my opinion they pretty much had the taste of a German chocolate cake, not the regular chocolate cake I was going for. OH!, was the response, well they were really good! So therefore I really believe the pie is going to be a big hit!

Before I start, please know I am a big fan of the old wooded rolling pins, and I still use my mothers, making sure it is well floured before I start to roll out the dough. They have worked the best for me when having to roll anything out in my recipes. I might also try chilling the dough first for about one hour the next time before rolling it out. I usually do, but I was in a hurry this morning and wanted to speed things up a little. It definitely would be a little firmer to handle if chilled. I also put the shortening in the freezer for about one hour before starting the crust, as this makes a HUGE difference in the taste and texture.

So at this point the pie has now cooled enough to sample and I have to admit I am pretty excited. The other night my oldest daughter Dana and I had gone out for pie to a local restaurant in the area, and I must admit that although their pie was delicious, I believe this crust would win hands up. I don't know if its because the shortening was chilled or not, but the crust is so light and fluffy, that I wish there was more....The cinnamon did not over power, and the sugar was just enough as to not take away the sweetness of the apples.  But the CRUST......Delish!

It has a buttery taste even though there was no butter used, and stayed flaky even with the juice of the apples, which there was a whole three pounds of. I am sure my family will ask why there is a piece missing, but I guess that's just one of the benefits of being the baker. LOL

So after telling my friend thanks for the great recipe, it seems only right to share a piece or two with her. So I am off for a visit, but not before I share the recipe with you.
Enjoy, and have a apple kind of day!
Sharon Lee

Double Pie Crust:

250 gr  Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Blend (recipe shown below post)
1 teas salt
3/4 c well chilled vegetable shortening (Put in freezer 1/2 to 1 hour before preparing)
1 large egg, PLUS (additional egg yoke to brush top crust if desired)
3-4 T ice cold water  ( I used 4)
1/4 teas xanthan gum

Apple filling:

3 pounds of apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1 T lemon juice (keeps apples from browning in color)
1 teas cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Measure out shortening and put in freezer.
Put ice in measuring cup with water.
Place egg in separate bowl.
Measure out salt, xanthan gum, and flour into large bowl.

Take the shortening from freezer and using a pastry cutter blend into flour mixture until crumbly and uniform. Next add the whole egg, and cut in until completely blended, about 1 minute.
Add 1 T ice cold water at a time until the mixture forms a soft uniform ball. Split ball in two and wrap in plastic wrap and place in refrigerator until cool. This helps the dough roll better without sticking. After rolling  you could return to refrigerator to "solid" up making it easier to place in pie plate without tearing. Place the sliced apple mixture in the pie pan and place the rolled top pastry on top. Crimp pie edges. I brushed the top of pie with 1 egg yoke mixed with about 1 T water and then sprinkled the top of pie with granulated sugar. Bake in oven on 375* for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350* and bake for additional 45 minutes. Remove from oven and place on rack to cool.
Makes 1 pie.

*NOTE....I found the dough so tender that I had several tears in the pastry which I had to PATCH, but the flavor and texture were worth it. I might try to cut the water down to 3T next time and see if that helps if the chilling process doesn't..

Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Flour Blend

452 gr Superfine brown rice flour
226 gr Potato STARCH
76 gr Tapioca starch/flour

Mix and keep in refrigerator or freezer 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lemon Cupcakes made gluten free...

Another few days have passed and as usual I have been in the kitchen whipping up some delicious treats to share even though I haven't been feeling up to par. I should have known not to rake the pine cones and needles up from the yard before Easter, but being the perfectionist I am I wanted everything to look nice for our family gathering.

Still  I wasn't going to let a little spell of allergies keep me down, so out came the pans, flour, and ingredients, to make some delicious lemon cupcakes. Yum. These were a big hit even though everyone was so full from all the ham and Easter dinner trimmings. They were light, and delicious, and not a one was left.....That's the biggest compliment I could have gotten!

These would also make a nice light dessert for a Spring brunch or any get together. I used the same flour blend that I shared in my last post which is very versatile. The lemon flavor is delicate, not overpowering, and the cakes are moist and fluffy. A little lemon flavoring and just a drop of yellow food coloring in the icing, made them Easter worthy.

I am impressed with the texture and moistness this flour blend lends to the cakes I have baked recently. Its a keeper for sure. So as I write this post I have visions of Apple Pie flying through mind....I have a pie crust recipe my friend shared with me recently that I need to try....

So until next post​, give the cupcakes a try and drop me a comment as to how it worked for you.
As always, Enjoy!
Sharon Lee


Lemon Cupcakes


1 c granulated sugar
2 large eggs
156 gr basic gluten free flour blend         (the recipe for basic flour mix was posted in last post)
1 1/2 teas baking powder
1/4 teas salt
1/2 teas xanthan gum
1/2 c canola oil
1/2 c minus 2 teaspoons milk
2 teas lemon juice
the grated peel of 1 medium lemon

Preheat oven to 350* Place 14-15 cupcake liners in cupcake baking pans. NOTE *This makes more than 12 cupcakes after filling only 2/3 full.

Beat sugar and eggs until light and fluffy in a large bowl on medium speed with a electric mixer, for 1 minute.

Add the dry ingredients and liquids,  beat about 1 minute more until thoroughly blended.

Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 full. Place in center of oven and bake about 18 to 20 minutes, or until center springs back or tooth pick comes out clean, and cupcakes are a light golden brown.

Cool pans on rack about 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from cupcake pans, letting rest on rack until completely cool before icing.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Flour Blend


 Have you ever had one of those days where everything went as planned, and then the next everything that could go wrong does so? Well today is seems to be the latter of the two. I had my post already to share with just a few minor tweaks to be made, I was just about ready to hit the share button, then all of a sudden the whole post disappeared!!!! I guess its back to square one, as this is a post you are going to want to read....

As you well know I was away for five weeks in sunny South Carolina. The weather was absolutely beautiful, and I didn't in the least feel sorry for my family left behind in snowy Pennsylvania, even though I tried. Well I kinda tried :-)

While away I had a lot  of time to search the web for flour mixes that I thought would be the best combination for a Basic GF All purpose flour blend. Now you all know I  have been living a GF lifestyle for many years now, so I have just about tried every gluten free flour mix out there. I have numerous gluten free cookbooks in my cupboard, and I have tried hundreds upon hundreds of recipes from them, some of which have been pretty good, some not so much! Alas, none have given me the texture or consistency I have been truly hunting for. Some came close, but didn't quite reach the mark I have set for myself.

I got on the bandwagon with so many others awhile back believing that rice flour is "UNHEALTHY", so I  basically used as little of it as possible, which really changed the taste drastically of my baked goods. With that said, here is my conclusion....You can eat all the veggies, low fat meats, and fruits you want, for the HEALTHY part of your diet. Yet when it comes to the sweets and flour laden desserts that I eat, I want them to taste like the ones I grew up with as a child. Just saying...

So after returning from my much needed vacation I have been trying this new flour combination, and it seems to be the closest mix I have used to date when it comes to the texture, taste, and moistness of all those treats that I can remember as a child. I think the pancakes made with this mix are what really sealed the deal!

So get out your pans, utensils, and flours, and be prepared to mix away. I will give you directions for a basic 6 cup mixture for you to experiment with in a few recipes I will be sharing in the future. I have also included a chocolate cake recipe for you to try that will knock your socks off....It was converted from a regular "WHEAT" recipe with nothing changed except the flour mix in place of the wheat flour, and the addition of xanthan gum. My family did NOT know this was gluten free and the whole cake was devoured!!!! So enjoy.

PS: This mixture is not for use in bread recipes, as they must contain more proteins.

Until next post,
Sharon Lee

Basic Gluten Free Multi Purpose Blend        6 cups @ 125 gr per cup measurement

452 gr Superfine brown rice flour
226 gr Potato STARCH
76 gr Tapioca starch/flour

Mix and keep in refrigerator or freezer

Fudge Cake recipe:

1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup DARK cocoa
1 cup hot water
2 cups Basic GF Multi purpose blend ( 250 gr )
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/2 cup buttermilk        ( I use the powdered form, mixed with water )
2 large eggs
1 teas pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease and flour a 9 x 13 cake pan.
In a medium bowl in the microwave melt the butter. Stir in the cocoa and hot water.
In a separate large bowl combine the measured flour, sugar, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt.
Pour the cocoa mixture into the dry ingredients, mixing on low to blend.
Beat in the buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla on low until thoroughly mixed.
Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, and top of cake is set.
Wait until completely cool to frost.

Note: Buttermilk must be used in this recipe to activate the low amount of baking soda used.