Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Carol’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream Puffs (GFCF)

Cream rolls, profiteroles – call them what you will – are one of my favourite pastries. When I was little it was one of the ultimate treats on an outing, I loved biting into one with the pastry cream (sometimes it was whipped cream) oozing out, relishing the creamy coolness encased. It was magical how these little balls of pastry could be filled with cream – even explained to me, it was mystifying how they were filled.

In the words of Bertie Wooster, the mind boggled.

When I chose Carol as my adoptee it was with high expectations, of myself: making gluten-free and dairy-free cream puffs. Carol’s cream puffs have been on the very top of my list of must-tries forever; I have made her dairy-free pastry cream before but didn’t, until now, make the pastry that makes the puff. Heh.

I’m sure you know Carol, whether personally or through her blog, or maybe you’ve heard of her. She’s recently published a cookbook, Simply Gluten-Free Desserts; a cookbook that I have not yet had the pleasure of giving a proper, thorough read but when I saw it in a local bookstore I didn’t hesitate to take a peek and it was anything but short of delightful. I’m keen to try the Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream, which sounds like a grown-up version of the classic strawberry.

My decision was timely, as she’s since posted a step by step tutorial for how to make cream puffs. That and the dairy-free recipe were my guides.

Over the course of four days, I have tackled pate a choux and I’ve yet to completely master it, but it has been – at best – a lot of fun so far. These are some things I’ve learned about tackling pastry and tackling any new culinary projects in general:

  1. Before you set out on your new culinary project, don’t listen to stories of other people’s kitchen or recipe disasters for entertainment purposes or relive your own previous disasters. Even if you did avert that disaster or if that other person’s disaster isn’t related to your current project at hand, you’re only helping to pave the way for your own possible disappointment.
  2. Don’t refrigerate batter that’s supposed to be choux dough in the hopes that it will thicken. It won’t work and it won’t puff at all.
  3. Listening to songs like “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” and singing along to them helps boost your morale. Anything positive goes.
  4. Don’t curse what you’re working on, even something as mild as “darn” – unless you want it to not work out, that is. If so, this post isn’t for you. We do have a happy ending.

Continue reading “Adopt a Gluten-Free Blogger: Carol’s Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Cream Puffs (GFCF)”

BEST EVER GF Puff Pastry and a Tart (GF)

This post was not intended to be so long, but to make it (hopefully) more manageable I’ve split it up in pages. Linked to Gluten-Free Wednesdays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.

On Monday, after making lunch and tidying up, I rolled up my sleeves and commenced to finish making the puff pastry that I’ve been excited about for so long.

It is no mistake: yes, I said puff pastry. Make that gluten-free puff pastry, from Helene of Tartelette. When I first caught word of this marvel last month, I waited in tense anticipation for one of the two ladies to post the recipe for this dream come true. When I saw the post, at last, I exclaimed, “Yes!” Ecstatic. My sister, who was in the vicinity, looked at me with a strange expression on her face. “You nut,” she said.

“What? It’s gluten-free puff pastry!” I exclaimed, pointing at the screen. I sighed, “Isn’t it wonderful?”

Most of my gluten-free cooking experience is through the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), in which a gluten-free puff pastry is scientifically impossible, so I never thought of tried making it myself. Puff pastry needs a gluten, some form of starch…none of which any of the foods allowed on SCD provides. When I saw that fantastic gluten-free puff pastry, I knew that I had to make it.

Working with the dough was beautiful. But the beauty even started before that, with the flour combination: I want to make the flour blend again and try using it in other baking. The density was like all-purpose flour – no kidding! Before I’d even got to the folding part, I was even more excited: with only the water added, it smelled and felt like wheat! I passed the bowl around to everyone, for them to smell it and feel how wonderful it was, pressing the dough with their fingers; all of us in wonder and excitement, thinking of the potential and possibilities. (“I can’t wait for that pastry!” said my Mum.) I was impressed with the elasticity. As I was rolling out the dough, with each folding, I felt more and more like I was working with wheat dough than a gluten-free one, for I thought it acted very much like gluten would. After each folding (six in total), the dough had to rest in the fridge for 1 hour – I started making the dough in the afternoon, after four o’clock, and I had missed the part about the one-hour rest between each folding – even though I’ve read Helen’s post and instructions who knows how many times since I first saw it. The fourth folding was at around eleven-thirty-ish, and I’d planned to set an alarm to go off at one-hour intervals, so that I could fold the dough. I didn’t know what would happen if I just let it rest for longer than hour when it wasn’t finished being folded. As it happened, I never heard that alarm – instead the dough remained in the fridge, undisturbed, until five o’clock in the morning and I woke up panicked.

I did use butter to make the crust, although I’d like to see if coconut oil would also work. That’s what I wanted to do in the first place, but my Mum said that I should make it with the butter first so I know how it should work, then experiment with making it dairy-free. I had intended to make the dairy-free version before I made the quiche and posted it, but I didn’t have the time – the deadline is this Wednesday, tomorrow. When I make a dairy-free version, I’ll share the results.

(Click the number 2 to continue reading and for the recipe)