If you’re baking for the holiday season, here are two of our favorite crowd-pleasing gluten-free recipes so that everyone can enjoy your creations…including your sister who’s gluten-free…your uncle who avoids all wheat…and your grandkids who think healthy desserts are icky. Tip: When buying all-purpose gluten-free flour mixes, check to see whether xanthan gum is an ingredient…if not, buy it separately and add it as instructed when using these flours.
Sweet Potato Scones
Canned sweet potato purée works fine for this easy recipe. Millet adds sweet, buttery, cornlike flavor…cassava flour adds body…and sweet rice flour lends a tender texture.
Try variations such as adding grated orange rind to the liquid ingredients or unsweetened dried cranberries to the flour. Makes six scones.
⅔ cup cooked sweet potato, mashed
1 large egg
1½ Tablespoons whole milk
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
⅔ cup cassava flour
½ cup sweet white rice flour, plus more for rolling
¼ cup millet flour
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
⅓ cup sugar plus one teaspoon, divided
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¾ stick (6 Tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the sweet potato, egg, milk and cider vinegar in a medium bowl. Whisk to blend until the mixture is smooth.
Combine the cassava flour, the half cup of sweet white rice flour, the millet flour, xanthan gum, one-third cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, one-quarter teaspoon of the nutmeg and the salt in a medium bowl, and whisk to blend well. Grate the butter over the dry ingredients using the coarse holes of a box grater. With a fork or clean hands, toss the mixture briefly to coat the butter pieces with the dry ingredients. Use a spoon to push the ingredients to the sides of the bowl, creating a well in the center.
Scrape the sweet potato mixture into the well, and stir it with a spatula until it forms a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a surface sprinkled with additional rice flour, form it into a one-inch-thick disc and cut it into six triangular wedges. Then place the wedges one inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. Mix the remaining one teaspoon of sugar with the remaining one-quarter teaspoon of nutmeg, and sprinkle the mixture on top of the scones. Bake until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the centers of the scones comes out clean, about 18 minutes. Serve warm if possible.
A croustade is a free-form French tart made without a pie plate. This one is filled with wonderful flavors of the season—pears, cranberries and crystallized ginger. Makes six servings.
For the crust…
1½ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour mix, plus more for rolling
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ stick (4 Tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
Yolk of one large egg, beaten
About 5 to 8 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling…
1 pound ripe-but-firm Bartlett pears
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ cup sugar
1½ Tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour mix
½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
3 Tablespoons finely minced crystallized ginger
Pinch of salt
Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Prepare the crust: Combine the flour mix, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Lightly push the flour mix to the sides of the bowl, and grate the butter over the well you created. Use a spatula or your hands to gently toss the butter into the flour mix. Pour in the beaten egg yolk, and use a fork to mix the dough lightly until crumbly. Add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, working it in with a fork until the dough holds together.
Sprinkle one tablespoon of the additional flour mix onto a large piece of parchment paper. Shape the dough into one disc, about six inches in diameter and one inch thick. Place it on the parchment paper.
Sprinkle about one teaspoon more of flour mix on top of the disc, and place another large piece of parchment paper on top. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between the parchment paper into a disc that is 12 inches in diameter, picking up the top piece of parchment paper occasionally to keep it from sticking to the dough. When done rolling, carefully peel off the top piece of parchment, pinching any cracked pieces of dough back together.
Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Lift the bottom parchment paper with the dough, and carefully invert the dough onto the baking sheet. Gently loosen the parchment paper from the dough, but keep the dough covered loosely with it. Refrigerate while you prepare the filling.
Prepare the filling: Peel the pears, cut them in half, remove the cores and slice thinly. Toss with the lemon juice in a large bowl. Add the sugar, flour mix, cranberries, ginger and salt, and toss to coat well.
Spread the pear slices evenly in the center of the dough round, leaving two inches around the edge of the dough. Arrange the pear slices in any pattern you find attractive. Gently fold the edges over the pears to the extent that the edges reach, lightly crimping as you go.
Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F, and bake until the pastry is golden and the pears are tender, 15 to 20 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.