This French chocolate cake resembles a cross between a lava cake and a brownie. Because there are five eggs in the batter to provide structure, the cake works well gluten free. It’s deliciously gooey when warm, so I recommend heating the leftovers in the microwave before eating.
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
Yield: 9″ cake
- 5 large eggs
- 9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 tablespoons coffee OR water
- 1/3 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 4 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped OR semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons agave nectar OR light corn syrup
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour, and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
- Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
- Set a heatproof howl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar, butter, and coffee OR water. Alternatively, you can combine them directly in a small nonstick pot over very low heat, and stir constantly to make sure the chocolate doesn’t burn.
- Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may be grainy and that’s fine.
- Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for three minutes.
- Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
- Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks.
- Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in the rest.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes (it will be closer to the upper limit for the gluten-free cake), or until the cake has risen evenly. It might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more and the center will puff too. The top will firm (it will probably be cracked) and won’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate.
- Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5-10 minutes.
- Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan.
- Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack. If using gluten-free flour, glaze the cake before it cools all the way, because the cake dries out easily and you want the glaze to hold in moisture. If using all-purpose flour, you can cool the cake to room temperature. As the cake cools, it may sink.
- Carefully turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to catch any drips.
- Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
- Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven – the chocolate should be just melted and warm, but not hot.
- Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
- Stir in the agave nectar OR corn syrup.
- Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake – it will just add to its charm. If using gluten-free flour, try to seal the entire cake with glaze.
- Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the fridge for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gently heat from a hairdryer.
- You can store any leftovers covered in the fridge. Reheat a slice for 10-15 seconds in the microwave to restore its warm gooeyness.
Right in time for the hot summer weather is this ice cream recipe. I know celery seed ice cream sounds really weird, but it tastes amazing and is my favorite ice cream ever.
Celery Ice Cream with Candied Ginger and Rum-Plumped Raisins
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Bauer
Yield: 1 quart
For the raisins:
- 1 cup golden OR regular raisins
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1/2 cup sugar
For ice cream base:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon tapioca starch OR cornstarch
- 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar OR light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds, pounded lightly in a mortar with the pestle
- 2-6 tablespoons finely diced candied ginger (depending on how much you like ginger)
The day before:
- If necessary, place the canister of your ice cream maker in the freezer.
Make rum-plumped raisins (can prepare up to 1 month ahead of time):
- Put raisins in heatproof bowl.
- Combine water, rum, and sugar in small saucepan.
- Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
- Pour syrup over raisins and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until chilled. You can store the raisins in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Make ice cream base:
- Mix about 2 tablespoons of milk with tapioca starch OR cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
- Whisk cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Combine remaining milk, cream, sugar, and agave nectar OR corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan.
- Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and gradually whisk in tapioca starch OR cornstarch slurry.
- Bring mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat.
- Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into cream cheese until smooth.
- Stir in celery seeds.
- Pour mixture into 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge sealed bag in ice bath.
- Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
- Pour ice cream base into frozen canister of ice cream maker and spin until thick and creamy throughout. (Otherwise the ice cream will be on the hard, icy side after it finishes freezing.)
- Drain raisins and mix with candied ginger.
- Pack ice cream into storage container, folding in raisins and ginger as you go.
- Press a sheet of parchment paper directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid.
- Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
The applesauce spice bars are a nice, cinnamon-y snack to have around. I’m not sure why all the apple bits migrated to the center of the pan while baking, but regardless the bars taste fine.
Applesauce Spice Bars
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours
Yield: 32 bars
- 1 1/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 cup light brown sugar OR 1 cup white sugar+dollop molasses
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon applejack OR brandy OR dark rum (optional)
- 1 baking apple (such as Rome or Cortland, but I used a Fuji and it worked)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
For glaze (optional):
- 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream OR 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup light brown sugar OR 1/3 cup white sugar+dollop molasses
- 2-2 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon agave nectar OR light corn syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with aluminum foil and butter or spray with cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet.
- Peel, core, and finely dice or chop apple. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt butter over low heat.
- Add brown sugar OR white sugar+molasses and stir with a whisk until it is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute.
- Remove pan from heat.
- Still working in the saucepan, whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing until they are well blended.
- Add applesauce, vanilla, and applejack/brandy/rum (if using), and whisk until ingredients are incorporated and mixture is smooth.
- Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in dry ingredients. If you’re using all-purpose flour, mix only until they disappear. If you’re using gluten-free flour, don’t worry about over-mixing.
- Mix in apple, raisins, and nuts (if using).
- Scrape batter into baking pan and smooth top with a rubber spatula.
- Bake 25-28 minutes if gluten free, 23-25 minutes otherwise. The cake should just start to pull away from the sides of the pan and a knife inserted in the center should come out clean. For the gluten-free version, the central area of the top of the cake might still look moist, but that’s okay.
- Transfer baking pan to a rack and let cake cool.
- If desired, make the glaze: In a saucepan, combine cream OR milk, sugar, butter, and agave nectar OR corn syrup. Put pan over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking frequently. Reduce the heat so glaze simmers for 5 minutes, stirring and whisking frequently. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla, if using.
- If desired, glaze bars: Pour hot glaze over the bars in the pan, spreading it evenly over the top with a long metal icing spatula. The glaze cools and begins to solidify relatively fast, so work quickly while it is still runny. Let bars cool to room temperature before you cut them.
- Remove cake in aluminum foil from pan and careful peel foil down from edges. Cut cake into 32 rectangles, each about 2 1/4″ x 1 1/2″. Carefully lift off foil.
- The bars can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
Unlike the mochi balls with black sesame filling and crushed peanut coating, this is a more conventional recipe with a red bean filling, which I personally prefer. You can find cans of red bean paste in Asian supermarkets, such as Ranch 99.
To make the mochi, I use a Tatung rice cooker in which you put water in both an outer pot and an inner pot. You can improvise this arrangement on the stove: Set a wire rack or an upside-down bowl in a large pot of water. Place whatever ingredients you’re steaming in another bowl and set it on top of the rack or the upside-down bowl to keep it out of the water. Cover pot with a lid and bring water to a boil.
Mochi Balls with Red Bean Filling
From the World Journal
Yield: about 24 mochi balls
- 1 1/2 cups (2 rice cooker cups) sticky rice flour
- 3/4 cup (1 rice cooker cup) sugar
- 1 1/8 cup (1 1/2 rice cooker cups) water
- 1 can red bean paste
- Corn starch OR tapioca starch, for dusting work surface and outside of mochi balls
- In either the inner pot of the rice cooker or a bowl that you will steam on the stove, stir together sticky rice flour and sugar.
- Add water and mix well. Make sure there are no small pockets of flour left.
- Steam mixture.
- If using the rice cooker, place inner pot into the rice cooker and add 1 rice cooker cup of water to the outer pot.
- If cooking on the stove, steam for about 30 minutes.
- While the mochi mixture is still hot, begin to shape the mochi balls. Work quickly, because the mochi becomes harder to handle when it cools.
- Spoon out a small portion of mochi (about 2 tablespoons) and flatten it on the work surface. Dusting it lightly with corn OR tapioca starch makes it easier to handle, but too much will make it difficult to seal the edges later. (It’s not a very delicate recipe, so just experiment until you find an amount that works for you.)
- Place about 1 teaspoon of red bean paste in the center.
- Pinch the edges of the mochi together, pick up the ball, and roll it in the bowl of cornstarch so it’s no longer very sticky. Don’t worry if the mochi ball sticks to the work surface and you have to scrape it off, or if the mochi stretches and breaks. Just pinch the edges back together.
- Roll the mochi ball gently between your palms to make it round and set it aside on a serving platter.
- Cover mochi balls until ready to serve, so they don’t dry out and harden.
- If desired, the mochi balls can be frozen for later.
Ladyfingers are light, fluffy desserts that are good to eat in hot weather. My gluten-free, corn-free ones turned out to be distressingly sticky (maybe a final sugar dusting just before serving would have helped), but other than that, my friends liked them.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking Chez Moi
Yield: 24 ladyfingers
- 1/4 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1/3 cup sugar
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Working the long way, draw two lines spaced 4 inches apart. Leave some space and draw another 4-inch-wide band.
- Flip paper over and line the baking sheet.
- Fit a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip or have a large zipper-lock bag ready.
- Sift flour and starch together onto a piece of parchment or wax paper.
- Working in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the whites at medium-high speed until they turn opaque, begin to thicken, and hold their shape.
- Very gradually beat in the sugar and, when it’s fully incorporated, increase the mixer speed to high and beat for about 2 minutes more, or until the meringue is firm but still glossy.
- Whisk the yolks in a small bowl just until smooth.
- Gently spoon about 1/4 of the meringue over the yolks and whisk to blend.
- Scrape the yolks into the bowl with the meringue and, using a flexible spatula, fold the mixtures together lightly. (Don’t be too thorough; you’ll mix it more later.)
- Add dry ingredients to the bowl, using the paper as a funnel, and start folding for real. Work quickly and lightly, and don’t be discouraged when the meringue deflates a little. Just blend the batter as completely as you can. Make sure there are no pockets of flour, but specks of egg white are fine.
- Fill pastry bag or zipper-lock bag with half of the batter. If using the bag, snip off a corner to make a 1/2-inch opening.
- Working with a long side of the baking sheet toward you, pipe out fingers. Start at the top line of one of the bands and pipe to the bottom, making the fingers 4 inches long and 1 inch wide. (You can pipe the logs so close together that they almost touch; they’ll bake together and you can separate them when they cool.)
- Repeat with the rest of the batter.
- Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar and let them rest for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven.
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Dust ladyfingers again with confectioners’ sugar and bake for 8-10 minutes. The ladyfingers will be a pale golden color.
- Lift parchment from baking sheet onto a cooling rack. Let ladyfingers cool to room temperature.
- To remove the ladyfingers, run a long offset spatula under them to ease them off the parchment. Use a long sharp knife or pizza wheel to cut into individual ladyfingers, if necessary.
- You can serve them plain, or accompanied by whipped cream, mousse, or jam. You can also dust them with confectioners’ sugar one more time before serving.
- The ladyfingers can be stored for up to a week. Layer them between sheets of parchment paper and keep them in a closed container in a dry place.
In honor of Pie Day, here is another pie recipe with a new pie crust! I thought this crust worked very well gluten free. It did crack when I was moving it into the pie tin, but patching it up was simple, and it tasted delicious with the coconut cream filling.
Coconut Cream Pie
Adapted from The Little Pie Company’s Pies and Other Dessert Favorites
1 1/4 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (I used canola)
a little over 1/8 cup cold milk
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups cold milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
Make the pie shell:
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together flour, salt, and sugar (if using).
- In a separate bowl, combine vegetable oil and milk. (You don’t need to stir them together.) Pour into the flour mixture.
- Stir pie crust mixture until flour is completely incorporated. It will look crumbly.
- Press dough into a round, flat disk.
- Place dough disk in between 2 sheets of 12″ x 12″ wax paper.
- Roll out the disk into a 12″ circle, flipping the wax paper-dough “sandwich” over a couple times during the rolling process.
- Remove the top sheet of wax paper.
- Carefully lift the bottom sheet of wax paper by the top corners and invert the dough into a 9″ pie tin.
- Remove wax paper and gently press dough into the tin.
- Trim edges to 1/2″ of overhang and fold under the edge of the tin. (Don’t worry if the gluten-free dough is too crumbly and breaks when you try to fold it under.)
- Prick the bottom and sides of pie shell with a fork.
- Bake for 6 minutes. Remove pie shell from oven and prick the dough anywhere it has puffed up. Bake for 10 more minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool.
Make the filling:
- While pie shell is cooling, stir together sugar, tapioca starch OR cornstarch, and salt in a saucepan.
- In a bowl, stir together egg yolks and milk.
- Stir yolk mixture into sugar mixture, scraping sides with a rubber spatula.
- Cook mixture over medium heat on stove, stirring constantly. The mixture will thicken and boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook and stir for 1 minute longer.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract.
- Mix in 3/4 cup coconut.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper onto the surface of the filling so a skin won’t form as it cools. Let filling cool for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Spread 1/4 cup coconut on a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes, stirring several times. The coconut will look golden brown. (It’s a little over-toasted in the photo above.)
- Pour cooled filling into the pie shell and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon.
- Sprinkle toasted coconut over filling.
- Cool pie to room temperature.
- Refrigerate pie for 2 hours or until thoroughly chilled. Do not cover pie before it is completely chilled.
- Serve pie the day you make it.
Now that strawberries are in season again, it’s time for strawberry pie! I love this recipe from my friends, because it reminds me of strawberry pie from Polly’s Pies.
Adapted from a recipe from friends, pie shell adapted from Betty Crocker
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch OR cornstarch
2 tablespoons agave nectar OR light corn syrup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
1 quart (a little over 2 lbs) fresh strawberries, hulled
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon butter OR shortening
1 cup gluten-free flour OR all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons cold water
Make pie shell:
- Preheat oven to 475ºF.
- Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Cut butter OR shortening into the mixture until pieces are the size of small peas.
- Sprinkle in water while tossing with fork to moisten the flour.
- 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.
- Prick bottom and sides with fork. Bake for 10 min. Cool while you make the filling.
- Combine sugar, tapioca starch OR cornstarch, agave nectar OR corn syrup, and water in a saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil.
- Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until clear and thickened.
- Add gelatin, stirring until dissolved. Cool mixture.
- Arrange strawberries in the baked pie shell. Pour gelatin mix over strawberries. Chill until firm.