Baked Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)


It’s well past Chinese New Year, but a simple, tasty, and (best of all) naturally gluten-free recipe is always appreciated!  If you’re interested, you can read more about nian gao here:

Baked Chinese New Year Cake (Nian Gao)
Recipe from my mom

  • 1 lb sticky rice flour (I like to use a Thai brand, Erawan)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter (or margarine), softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups milk

1. Preheat oven to  350°F.  Grease a 9″x 9″ baking pan.
2. Beat the butter until creamy, then beat in the other ingredients.  The batter will be runny, and it’s fine if there are little pieces of butter floating in it.
3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 min until the top is golden brown.  When done, the cake will be sort of jiggly and (what else?) sticky.


Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie


Hot weather calls for cold desserts, preferably ice cream desserts! This strawberry cheesecake ice cream pie recipe is adapted from Smitten Kitchen – see this page for much more enticing photos than mine:
Original Smitten Kitchen recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream Pie

Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen, crust adapted from Betty Crocker

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon butter
1 cup gluten-free flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Cheesecake filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream topping
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Strawberry sauce
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
2 tablespoons water

Do at least one day before you intend to eat the pie:

1. Preheat oven to 475ºF.
2. Mix gluten-free flour and salt in a bowl.  Cut butter into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
3. Sprinkle in water while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
4. Gather the pastry into a ball and place on well-floured surface.  You can try rolling it out, but the dough will be fairly crumbly.  I usually flatten it somewhat with my palms and then press it into the pie tin.
5. Prick bottom and sides with fork.  Bake for 10 min.  Cool while you make the filling.

Cheesecake filling:
Beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy, then slowly beat in condensed milk until smooth.
2. Beat in lemon zest and vanilla. (If you don’t have a zester or grater, carefully slicing off small pieces of the lemon peel with a fruit knife also works.)
3. Pour filling into cooled crust, cover, and freeze until firm (about 6 to 8 hours).  Leaving it in the freezer for a couple days longer is also fine.

Do the day you plan to eat the pie:
Strawberry topping:
1. Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, tapioca starch, and water in a medium, heavy saucepan. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Cook over medium-low heat to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, then remove from heat and chill sauce completely. Keep in fridge until needed.

Whipped cream topping:
1. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form.
2. Spread the whipped cream over the frozen filling and return to the freezer until firm (10 min to an hour, depending on how firm you want it).

When serving, cut slices of pie and spoon strawberry sauce over them.

Tasty Deliciousness and Failed Abominations

I love desserts and I love baking desserts!  A number of my friends have various food allergies, so over the years I’ve tweaked recipes to avoid gluten, soy, corn, legumes, sulfites, tree nuts, and more.  Sometimes this goes well, and the dessert both looks and tastes like a reasonable approximation of the normal version.  (One friend calls this “tasty deliciousness.”)  Other times the dessert falls apart or looks funny but still tastes good.  (The same friend calls this a “failed abomination” – before he devours it anyway.)  And of course, sometimes the poor dessert neither looks nor tastes good, but I won’t bother posting those recipes!

Anyway, here is a collection of recipes for both “tasty deliciousness” and “failed abominations” for your enjoyment!