Gluten-free Vegetarian Thanksgiving 7: Cranberry Cheesecake and Pie

November 20th, 2011 yum Posted in Blog Event, Blog News, Cranberries, Dairy Free, Dessert, Dinner Party, Party Food, Party Menu, Thanksgiving, Vegan, Vegetarian, cashew 3 Comments »


Would you believe that this is the seventh day of our Vegetarian Thanksgiving Event? Today Nicole of Special Diet Creations seems to have read my mind, because she created a vegan and nearly raw Dairy-free, processed sugar-free cranberry cheesecake for our event. As I mentioned yesterday, Toddler Yum loves mommy’s raw cheesecake recipe. Not only that but she loves sipping heavily diluted cranberry juice with grandma, so I think she would really enjoy this recipe. It makes a beautiful presentation and would be perfect for any vegan guests to your Thanksgiving Dinner. Not only that but it doesn’t require the oven so won’t compete with your other recipes.

The DH just got back from a two week trip to Israel and I want to spend time with my honey, so I’ll make this quick. I had this recipe at some of my favorite adopted “parents’” house. You know how sometime you have parents and siblings etc. that you are born with, and then people that you meet that end up filling that role for you in your life without being related by blood? Well, Vic and Hallie take the role of gluten-free “Mom and Dad” at our local gluten-free potluck events. This is one of my favorite recipes that they made for us “kids” (although their pizza is also spectacular). Hallie is vegetarian, and a wonderful mom to her own daughters and us local kids too. I hope you enjoy it!

Here’s some more gluten-free dessert recipes:
Dairy-free Soy-free Pumpkin Pie (use GF crust)
Grain-free Pumpkin Cranberry Upside Down Cake
Gluten-free Banana Blueberry Buckle
Raw Truffle Recipe
Blueberry Pie with Honey Whipped Cream
Cinnamon Apple Cake Recipe- no processed sugar, grain-free

Vic and Hallie’s Surprise Cranberry Pie Recipe
Ingredients
1 bag fresh cranberries
1/2 cup Sliced almonds (optional)
1/3 cup Sugar to sprinkle the fruit
3/4 cup Sugar for the crust
2 Eggs
3/4 cup {1-1/2 stick) Butter or margarine (I used 1/4 cup margarine with 1/2 cup butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan gum (or xanthan gum mixed with guar gum)
1 cup of your favorite mild GF flour blend.
Directions
This recipe makes one large pie or large cake, or two smaller pies or two smaller cakes. I used one large pie pan and one small gratin type dish.
* Preheat the oven to 325 F. Grease the pie plates.
* Wash the cranberries or other fruit, leaving a little water on them.
* Place the fruit on the bottom of the pie plate. If you use nuts, put them on top of the fruit. Next sprinkle sugar over the top.
* In a mixing bowl, cream the remaining sugar with the eggs and butter. Stir in the vanilla extract and then finally fold in the flour and xanthan gum.
* Pour or spread the batter over the fruit.
* Bake for 35 – 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center of the crust comes out clean.
* Important step: Cool for 10 minutes and gently loosen the edges. If you are using a springform, it is particularly important to loosen the edges at this point. Wait until the pie cools completely before taking off the springform sides.
Notes
I used 1/2 tsp xanthan gum and think I would try 1/4 tsp. next time.

For the GF flour blend, Carol Fenster’s or Bette Hagman’s work well- I used a Brown rice version of Bette Hagman’s featherlight blend, but anything will work. Make sure it has a delicate flavor that won’t overwhelm the fruit.

You can use different fruits in this recipe, and adapt the flavorings as desired.

I think the pie tastes best cool, but it’s good either way. If you want to be really crazy you can add whipped cream or ice cream on top.

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Valentine’s Day Gluten-free Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe with no food coloring

February 14th, 2009 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Cranberries, Dessert, Holiday, Southern, Valentine Day 11 Comments »

Growing up gluten-free in the Pacific Northwest, I’d never had a red velvet cake or cupcake in my life. This chocolate cake, often appearing in cupcake form, is often made with buttermilk and beets or red food coloring. It is most popular in the Southern United States, which may explain why I didn’t encountered it much. I’d seen recipes around online and was intrigued, but finally seeing Pinch my Salt’s beautiful red velvet cupcake decided it. I had to make a recipe for this Valentine’s Day. First I wanted to find out more about the history of the red velvet cake, and my friend Wikipedia helped me with this.

History
James Beard’s 1972 reference American Cookery describes three kinds of red velvet cake varying in the amounts of shortening and butter used. All of them use red food coloring for the color, but it is mentioned that the reaction of acidic vinegar and buttermilk tends to turn the cocoa a reddish brown color. Furthermore, before more alkaline “Dutch Processed” cocoa was widely available, the red color would have been more pronounced. This natural tinting may have been the source for the name “Red Velvet” as well as “Devil’s Food” and a long list of similar names for chocolate cakes.

Dye And Other Color Sources
The use of red dye to make “Red Velvet” cake was probably started after the introduction of the darker cocoa in order to reproduce the earlier color. It is also notable that while foods were rationed during World War II, some bakers used boiled beets to enhance the color of their cakes. Boiled grated beets or beet baby food are still found in some red velvet cake recipes. Red velvet cakes seemed to find a home in the U.S. South and reached peak popularity in the 1950s – just before a controversy arose about health effects of common food colorings.
(Source: Wikipedia)

To make my version of red velvet cupcakes, I was determined to avoid using expensive red food coloring when I could use natural ingredients. The traditional dye besides red food coloring was beets, but I’d heard a lot of criticism that beets imparted a heavy, earthy flavor to the dessert. So, I went to Whole Foods with an open mind, looking for other bright red ingredients that could be used instead of beets. I had recently received a sample of Pom Wonderful Pomegranate Juice, which inspired me to think of red juices like pomegranate. (I probably would have used this juice, but there was a mix-up and it ended up sitting in our apartment complex office for two weeks when it needed refrigeration- oops.) Whole Foods didn’t have that specific brand of pomegranate, so I ended up bringing home an acai juice instead. However, I was also inspired by a can of cranberry jelly that seemed ideal for decreasing the oil in the recipe as well as bringing color and additional flavor. Maybe it was unconventional, but I had read complaints that Red Velvet Cupcakes often didn’t have much flavor and since I didn’t want a strong chocolate flavor, fruit-infused vanilla sounded really good to me.

I couldn’t have been happier with the results. The cupcakes might have turned out more of a light brown than a red, but the flavor was wonderful, with crystallized sugar sparkling on the top and a light, fluffy texture. I had feared the batter might be too thin, but it rose to a perfect height and texture in the oven. To be honest, it didn’t even need frosting, but to make it more festive we whipped up a batch of the DH’s special cream cheese frosting. DH’s response? He asked me why I don’t bake more often… and ate about four of them in a row, before I could even get them frosted.

Looking for other gluten-free takes on the red velvet cupcake? Try these recipes!
Going Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe with Chocolate Pudding
Ginger lemon Girl’s Lowfat Whole-Grain Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe
Naomi of Better Batter’s Starbucks-Style Ganache-filled Red Velvet Cupcake Recipe

I hope you have a delicious and gluten-free Valentine’s Day! What are you enjoying for Valentine’s Day dinner and Dessert? Please share in the comments!
Enjoy more of my Valentine’s Day Recipes!
Lemon Vanilla Heart Tuiles with Vanilla Custard
Homemade Easy GF Macademia or Pistachio nut Fudge
No refined sugar Babycake Brownie Recipe

Gluten-Free No food coloring Red Velvet Cupcakes
Ingredients
2 1/2 cups your favorite gluten-free flour blend (I used Bette Hagman’s gourmet blend*)
1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar **
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cocoa powder
3/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup cranberry jelly (not the whole berry kind)
1 1/4 cup buttermilk [dairy-free: try soy milk with 1 tbsp. lemon juice]
2 large eggs, at room temperature [egg-free: try 2 Ener-g Foods Egg Replacer "eggs"]
2 or 3 tbsp. acai juice, cranberry juice, or pomegranate juice (i used acai)
1 tsp. white wine vinegar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Frosting:
1 package lowfat cream cheese (equiv. tofutti for dairy-free)
2 tbsp. butter, room temperature (earth balance margarine for dairy-free)
1 tsp. vanilla
powdered sugar to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Prepare two muffin tin either by greasing or using muffin tin liners.

Sift together your flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder.

Whisk together or use your mixer to combine the cranberry jelly, canola oil, eggs, juice, vinegar and vanilla. You may want to start with just the cranberry jelly and oil or eggs. Mix until all wet ingredients are combined and smooth. Fold in the sifted dry ingredients.

Next, pour smooth batter into your muffin tin or liner until each cup is 2/3 full. (Batter may seem liquid, but it will rise beautifully. If you’re worried you can add a little more flour blend, especially if you used 3 tbsp. of the juice.)

Bake for 25 minutes or so, turning the pans around at around the 12 minute mark.

Frosting:
Combine cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in your mixer and beat until you have a creamy sauce. Add powdered sugar to taste- we probably add about 1/2 cup, but the key is to mix and taste as you go.

Let cupcakes cook and then frost.

Sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired. Whole Foods has a natural fruit colored sprinkle.

Notes
*Bette Hagman’s Gourmet Blend, available through Ener-g Foods or mixed in bulk: 3 cups white rice flour 1 cup potato starch 1/2 cup tapioca starch flour.

**To make vanilla sugar, simply store a vanilla bean with your sugar overnight.

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