Getting to grips with the gluten free food trend
‘Gluten free’ is no longer a dietary requirement you can choose to ignore. Thanks to ever-expanding ingredient lists and more experimental palates it’s becoming easier than ever to incorporate gluten free options into menus. We’ve compiled some tips and recipes to help you correctly cook with gluten free flours as well as create elegant gluten free desserts that are so good your patrons won’t even notice what’s missing.
Creating gluten free recipes has never been this easy
Get the low-down on gluten free ice cream sandwiches, the melt-in-your mouth food trend you don’t want to miss.
Simply scrumptious gluten free ice cream sandwiches
The Italians have been making ice-cream sandwiches for years but the trend is now spreading. With the growing demand for gluten free desserts, we’ve investigated some gluten free ice cream sandwich options.
Taco ice cream sandwich
Very popular in New York where all sorts of tacos are used. For the gluten free option, choose corn tortillas. This popular ice cream sandwich is often served with a topping, like nut crumble, fruit or popcorn and a generous pouring of chocolate or caramel sauce.
Meringue ice cream sandwich
The chewy texture of meringue goes perfectly with ice cream. You can go for exotic summer flavours – like coconut meringue with passion fruit ice cream, meringue with strawberries and ice cream – or warmer tastes like hazelnut meringue with chocolate ice cream or coffee meringue with pear ice cream.
Gluten free ice cream waffles
A warm waffle with cold ice cream is hard to resist. Not a new combination, but give it a twist with by creating a charcoal ice cream waffle! Or create a cone shaped waffle with the ice-cream tucked inside. Very popular in Hong Kong! Create gluten free buckwheat waffles, sweet potato waffles, or tapioca waffles. Serve with the ice cream of your choice and a fruit compote or salted caramel.
Macaron ice cream sandwich
Macaron ice cream sandwiches are trending. Go for an easy option and fill a macaron with ice cream and then sprinkle over toasted nuts. Or do it like David Myers of restaurant Adrift in Singapore; he makes a more complex dessert of his ice cream sandwich with a parfait of matcha crème and a macaron with muscovado and vanilla cream.
Learn how to work with ready-made gluten free baking mixes, or flours that are naturally gluten free
Harness the power of gluten free flour
There is ever growing demand for gluten free desserts. You can work with ready-made gluten free baking mixes, or flours that are naturally gluten free. Here are some gluten free flours and what to do with them.
Things to keep in mind
Note that meal and flour are two different things, the first being coarser than flour. Use meal in recipes that benefit from texture, like cookies, crusts, brownies and quick breads. Use the latter if you want a light, airy result.
Gluten free flours cannot be interchanged with regular flour as they have different characteristics and so always work with a reliable recipe or experiment first. The best result is often achieved by mixing them.
Baked products with rice flour or buckwheat flour generally become more compact and sticky. The addition of nut flours like almond or hazelnut helps to correct this, especially when making cakes.
An all-purpose flour with a mild taste that stays light in colour after baking. For dredging or thickening, baking pie crusts or a light tempura. You can mix it with other flours, such as brown rice, to add more character.
Tapioca is made from cassava (not to be mixed up with cassava flour which is a different thing). It is extremely versatile and because it is high in starch, it is ideal for things like mousse, pudding, and jelly, but can also be used for cookies and pancakes (tapioca pancakes are huge in Brazil).
This flour is great for crepes, waffles, cakes and crusts. Whole grain flours like buckwheat have a full flavour and a caramel like colour. This means they give a heavier end result than, for example, you would achieve with rice flour.
Corn meal and corn flour
Coarse corn meal is often referred to as polenta (technically the name of the Italian porridge). It has a granular texture, ideal for a crunch in cookies, a loose polenta cake or pudding. Normal corn meal is finer and can be used for breads. The flour is great for cakes. These are not the same as corn starch, which is the flour without the fats and proteins, a pure starch and so not used for baking but for binding (sauces, puddings etc).
Coconut flour is absorbent and quite dry, so excellent for making crispy, fragrant crusts. It can be a bit crumbly though! When using in cakes, make sure you’re using more moist ingredients like eggs or butter. As an alternative add pureed or mashed fruit or vegetables to your baked goods to increase the moisture and prevent dryness.
Nut meals and flours
Use the finer almond flour in creamy fillings (like frangipane and almond paste), cakes or tuilles. The neutral tasting meal of peeled almonds is versatile and ideal for crunchy pie crusts. Hazelnut flour is comparable, although it is heartier and nuttier in taste and contains more oil. In cakes, these nut flours give a looser texture.
Chickpea flour (also referred to as garbanzo flour) is used in sweet granola recipes to add protein. Because of the slightly tart taste, it is often used for savoury dishes, like socca (a flat chickpea pancake), but also works well in desserts if combined with other flours. As pulses are rich in starch they can deliver a moister result.
Use in puddings or moist cakes (combining with other flours) like chocolate lava cakes.
Gluten free cooking doesn’t have to be boring, there are plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen.
Gluten free food pairings to try
1. Sea salted fudge and walnuts
The rich soft sweet fudge is counterbalanced in taste and texture by the bitter crunch of the walnuts.
2. Chia, coconut and raspberry
Chia seeds are a natural thickener, working well in pudding. The taste is neutral and combines perfectly with rich coconut, whilst the tartness of the raspberries keeps it tasting fresh.
3. Sweet corn blackberries
Sweet corn is perfect for baking. The sweetness of the corn nicely contrasts with tart fruits like blackberries.
4. Ricotta maple glazed seeds and nuts
Creamy ricotta is like a white canvas you can paint on. Adding maple syrup and then mixing in seeds and nuts gives texture and a savoury touch.
5. Polenta and mushrooms
Polenta is perfectly complemented by umami rich sautéed mushrooms.
6. Fish and fermented corn
When fermented, corn takes on a sweet and sour taste and this makes an interesting flavour partner to delicate fish.
7. Miso and aubergine
Glazing umami rich miso on meaty and roasted sweet aubergine creates a classic Japanese dish.
8. Roasted vegetables, gluten free oats and labneh
Root vegetables become warm, sweet and savoury when roasted. These make the perfect accompaniment to creamy fresh Labneh cheese and nutty grains.
Delicious gluten-free recipes that are easy to make and even easier to eat. Recipes here
Buckwheat waffle with kaki fruit compote and ice cream
Gluten free buckwheat is wonderful for making waffles: airy, with a round and full whole wheat flavour and amber colour. Serve with ice cream, fruit compote and Alsa toffee sauce. You can substitute the persimmons with another fruit of choice, like mixed berries, peaches or cherries.
Ricotta pear crostata with rice crust
An Italian classic with a gluten free twist. This pear ricotta crostata with rice crust is creamy and rich. Serve it with ALSA Coffee topping sauce for an exciting flavour pairing.