Daring Bakers: Carol Fenster Filo dough, Gluten Free Cardamon Apple Strudel, Blueberry Almond Mint Strudel, and Chebe Pastry Recipe

May 27th, 2009 yum Posted in Baked Goods, Daring Baker, Dessert, Gluten Free Cookbook Recipe Review, Vegetarian, apple, blueberry 22 Comments »

applestrudelWhen I first saw that this month’s Daring Baker Challenge was strudel, I was absolutely thrilled, excited and terrified. I don’t know how familiar you are with the making of strudel, but it involves creating outrageously thin sheets of dough (like filo) that are wrapped around a filling in flaky layers of dough. In an ideal universe, the dough is stretched so thin in becomes transparent. The miraculous ingredient that allows a dough to stretch so thin and yet still be manageable? Gluten, of course. So what is a gluten-free lady to do besides cry over her sorghum? I’ve always felt confident that gluten-free foods can be just as tasty as their gluten equivalent, but even in my most optimistic, I’d never tried making anything to replicate strudel dough. I knew some gluten-free cookbook authors had,though. Rebecca Reilly, in her masterful Gluten-Free Baking had a gluten free filo dough worthy of baklava, and the CIA cookbook (Gluten-Free Baking with The Culinary Institute of America)also includes a gluten free filo dough recipe. I wanted my first attempt to be based on a master gluten-free cookbook recipe, but reports had come in that Reilly’s filo dough was more like a typical pastry. The CIA cookbook recipe called for two complex blends of flours that were only used in small amounts, as well as weird ingredients like powdered egg white and soy flour. I found the powdered egg at Whole Foods for many a pretty penny, but Bob’s Red Mill didn’t have a gluten-free line soy flour and thus I was out of luck there. I also just balked at how complicated the recipe was. Luckily, Carol Fenster also had a apple strudel recipe, inspired no doubt by her travels in Austria, and it wasn’t terribly complicated. Some time ago I received an advance copy of her book1,000 Gluten-Free Recipesand had gotten permission to reprint several recipes. I demonstrated her easy-to-handle pastry in my first video review post, but thought it would be fun to share the strudel pastry recipe as well- providing it turned out to be a good recipe.


Although I am not crazy about the flavor of sorghum in her blend, the dough was extremely easy to work with and I was pleased at how thin I was able to get it and yet still shape it around a hearty apple filling. It also baked up beautifully and kept its shape nicely, although there was some cracking. It was not extremely flaky, but it was an excellent beginning. I filled it with my own version of the apple strudel filling proposed by the Daring Bakers, and didn’t use Carol’s apple filling. The DH pronounced it tasty and enjoyed it. I enjoyed it, but was not sure I would make it again just because the flavor was not exactly what I was hoping for.


My next attempt was based on the Daring Baker recipe, but I used Whole Foods Gluten-free flour (which includes guar gum) and added freshly ground chia seed which acts as a binder much like flax seed. The dough was reasonably easy to work with, but the dark chia seeds and lack of colorant resulted in a pasty dough flecked with chia meal. I made my favorite filling for this pastry dough- a thick, lovely and sweet blueberry filling offset by fresh mint bread crumbs. The filling was a success- and I’d have loved it in a nice gluten-free pastry dough, but the dough was flat and gummy. I wouldn’t make it again, but the blueberry filling will definitely be appearing in pie sometime soon!


My third and final trial was using an old favorite- the gluten-free Chebe mix made from tapioca starch. I thought this would be a good substitute because the tapioca has certain stretchiness that may be slightly similar to gluten. And, it is easy to handle just as the wheat version might be. I have experimented before with Chebe mix as a pastry with excellent results. Unfortunately, for the filling I chose a cherry ricotta-cream cheese filling with black cherry jam which tended to ooze out of the pastry in a highly dramatic fashion. In the second version of this, I found a way to keep the pastry self contained, but I was still dissatisfied with the filling overall (although the fresh cherries were lovely.) The DH loves cherries and seemed very well pleased with the pastry- as I do, he enjoys the slight chewiness of the dough, and the powdered sugar really did compliment the dish. I don’t know if I would call it strudel, exactly- but of all the pastries I tried, I am most likely to make this kind again, with a different filling.

Ultimately, this Daring Baker Challenge was the most disheartening one I’ve participated in yet. I was really forced to acknowledge the limitations of gluten-free flours. Although it is possible to make a perfectly nice pastry, it is very, very hard for the home baker to approximate something like filo dough with gluten-free flour. I’ve heard promising rumors of some european gluten-free puff pastry, produced with amazing equipment no doubt. Unfortunately, such a thing is not available here, yet… so, I’m afraid puff pastry and proper baklava or strudel is out of reach for THIS daring baker, at any rate. I hope my gluten-free peers had more success than I did… and I look forward to seeing their results. Many of the resultant products that I came up with were tasty- I just don’t feel that they were a proper strudel, ultimately…

Curious about how other gluten-free cookbook versions of Strudel stacked up?

Jill Elise tried Rebecca Reilly’s strudel recipe at Hey that Tastes Good
Mary tried the CIA gluten-free strudel at Beans and Caviar

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

Carol Fenster Strudel Recipe
1 cup Carol’s Sorghum Blend
3/4 cup tapioca starch flour
1/2 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 sugar, divided
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon guar gum (*or more xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup shortening (*I used Earth balance, but you could also use spectrum)
1/3 cup 1% milk (non dairy is fine)
1 tsp. vinegar or lemon juice
1 egg, beaten to a foam, for brushing/ OR butter or margarine, melted
*1) Make the dough. Place the dry ingredients and shortening in your food processor and blend. Add milk and vinegar and blend again, letting the dough form a dough. If it doesn’t form a ball, add a little extra liquid until it does. Form into two 1-inch-thick disks, wrap tightly in plastic wrap,and chill 1 hour.

2) Warm one disk in your hand and put on a 15-inch sheet of *wax paper. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and roll it to a 1/8 inch thin rectangle about 10*12 inches.

3) Place a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F.

4) Make filling of your choice. *MY MODIFICATIONS sprinkle middle of rectangle with seasoned bread crumbs. Then add filling of choice. Turn in ends, and start rolling up into a long cylinder. Carefully lift and roll onto a piece of parchment paper* Transfer the strudel to a 15*10 baking sheet.

6)Bake 30 minutes on the middle rack or until the crust starts to brown. Baste with egg mixture or meltedmargarine and sprinklewith sugar,and return to oven to bake 10 minutes more or until the strudel is completely browned. Cool the strudels on the pan on a wire rack 15 minutes. Cut each strudel into 6 slices.Serve warm or at room temperature.

*abbreviated from the cookbook instructions, but essence remains*
Apple Cardamom Streudel Filling
juice from 1/2 lemon
4 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tbsp butter or dairy-free margarine (Earth balance etc.)
freshly ground cardamom to taste (1/8 tsp or so)
freshly grated nutmeg (1/8 tsp or less)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 capfuls of vanilla essence (2 scant tsp)
2 tbsp. vanilla sugar (sugar with vanilla bean stored in it)
1 tbsp. butter or margarine
1/4 cup pecans
1 tbsp. organic sugar
sprinkle of salt

1 1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 slices gluten-free bread (from large homemade loaves, probably 1 1/2 to 2 cups bread crumbs)
1 tbsp. vanilla sugar

Spritz sliced apples with lemon juice in a bowl.
Heat 1 tbsp. butter or margarine in pan and add your apples. Season and sprinkle with sugar as they turn brown, turning as needed. Melt remaining tablespoon of butter in pan and add pecans. Mix together with apples then add last bit of sugar and salt. Remove from pan and reserve.

Melt butter or margarine in pan on medium, add bread crumbs and let brown. Season with cinnamon and vanilla sugar. After 3 or more minutes when bread crumbs are browned, remove from pan and let chill.

Use as filling for gluten-free strudel recipe.

Blueberry Mint Strudel Filling Recipe
4 cups frozen blueberries
2/3 scant cup vanilla sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch, mixed with 1 tbsp. of water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup almond slices

2 tbsp. butter or margarine
2 large slices gluten-free bread, crumbled (about 2 cups)
1 tsp. vanilla
2-3 tbsp. fresh minced mint

Bring blueberries and sugar to boil in a pan. Then add vanilla and almond slices. Whisk cornstarch and water together in a small dish. Add a little of the blueberry juice from the hot pan into the cornstarch slurry and whisk. Next,add slurry to blueberry mixture in pan and combine thoroughly. Lower heat and let simmer, thickening. If it doesn’t seem thick enough you can add more cornstarch mixed with water or blueberry juice.

Meanwhile, in a cast iron pan melt 1 1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine on medium heat. Add your gluten-free bread crumbs and sautee for 2 minutes or so, then drizzling the vanilla on the bread crumbs and mixing together. Make space in the center of the pan and melt the remaining 1/2 tbsp. butter or margarine, adding the mint to the butter. Let the herb wilts lightly and fold into the bread crumbs. Remove from heat.

Use in gluten-free strudel recipe.

Chebe Strudel Pastry Recipe
1 7.5-ounce package Chebe All-Purpose Gluten-Free Bread Mix
2 large eggs
2 tbsp butter or margarine
5 tbsp milk, liquid milk substitute, or water
1 tbsp.sugar

Extra butter for basting dough

Combine ingredients from mix through sugar in medium mixing bowl. Stir until ingredients come together, and then knead to form a smooth ball. Refrigerate for one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375.

Separate dough into two parts. Put one half in a gallon ziploc bag, preferably freezer quality. Sprinkle with sweet rice flour as needed and use rolling pin on TOP of bag to roll dough out inside the bag. When dough is rolled out into one thin sheet, cut out sides and top of bag (where zip portion is). Baste dough with butter and fill as you would any small strudel. Roll into strudel cylinder onto a sheet of parchment paper. Remove to pan and bake for 30 minutes. Turn and bake in increments of ten minutes until dough is browned and crispy and filling is done to taste. Remove from oven, let cool and then cut individual servings, sprinkling with powdered sugar.

Not a traditional dough, but easy to work with and has good flavor.
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Vegan, Gluten-Free Daring Baker Challenge: Homemade Dairy-free, Egg-free Spinach Egg Pasta Recipe with vegan parmesan recipe and pine nut cheese recipe

March 30th, 2009 yum Posted in Dairy Free, Daring Baker, Egg Free, Gluten Free Pasta, Italian, JM friendly, Pasta, Vegan 11 Comments »

veganlasagnarollsWhen I saw this month’s Daring Baker Challenge was delicious homemade spinach lasagna, I was very excited. I was also inspired. I resolved to make not just a vegetarian and gluten-free version, but a vegan version as well. The great thing about this is that I was able to experiment with a vegan pasta recipe- and to my surprise, I actually ended up liking the vegan pasta more than my version of the gluten-free non-vegan pasta recipe included with the challenge. It was much easier to handle and didn’t require any additional starch, which was a definite plus. Part of it might have been my super-sneaky technique of rolling the dough out inside a gallon-sized ziploc bag- but I could actually pick this pasta up and move it around without it ripping (much). It DID require very strong arm muscles, so be warned that you’ll need to really lean on that rolling pin to roll out your dough. I also found that this recipe, which required that you boil the pasta, was a little more to my taste than the other recipe where you bake the pasta sheets un-cooked. Something about the slippery, silky texture of boiled pasta just goes well with sauce. The lovely thing is that although inspiration for this dish came from all over- all the flavors went together perfectly. It even won over the DH, who proclaimed it his very favorite of the two versions. He doesn’t usually pick vegan over non-vegan recipes, so that is saying a lot- this recipe is a real winner! I hope you’ll try it, because it really is delicious, and worth the time in the kitchen. It is also very easy to adapt for various allergies, so would be nice for serving to allergy-plagued friends or taking to a gluten-free potluck. Enjoy!

*By the way, after a day in the kitchen with the vegetarian version of this recipe, the light was leaving me, as you can no doubt tell from these pictures. If I have time I may add a few beauty shots, just to do justice to this really excellent recipe.

How to make Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagne Rolls:

Visit my OTHER vegetarian version of this Recipe submitted for Daring Baker HERE (with different pasta recipe, sauce recipes etc.)

Gluten-Free Vegan Homemade Spinach Bean Pasta Recipe
1/3 cup and 1 tbsp. garfava flour
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp. cornstarch
1/3 cup and 2 tbsp. tapioca starch
2 tsp. xanthan gum
1/2 tsp. salt
Enough fresh spinach to make 1/3 cup pureed blanched spinach*
1/3 cup drain water from blanched spinach
1 tbsp. Ener-g Foods egg replacer
1 tbsp. olive oil

2 large gallon size ziploc bags (generic is ok)

Mix all dry ingredients (garfava, cornstarch, tapioca, xanthan and salt) together in a medium bowl.

Prepare your spinach in a microwave bowl and a little water, microwaving until barely cooked. Then rinse in cold water, drain* and then puree in a food processor. Squeeze blanched spinach and drain water, reserving. (*You want to have 1/3 cup of spinach water, so you may need to keep all of the spinach infused water.) Mix your tbsp. egg replacer with the 1/3 cup green spinach water. Rinse out food processor and then combine dry ingredients with pureed spinach in the food processor bowl. Process. Then pour in the green egg replacer egg and slowly drizzle in olive oil with the machine running. When dough balls up in food processor, take out and place it on a piece of saran wrap.

You can put it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it- or keep it at room temperature. (I refrigerated it for a few hours before rolling it out).

When ready to roll out, separate the dough into thirds. Place one third of dough inside one of the gallon sized ziploc bags and carefully roll it out, using a rolling pin on TOP of the bag, so there is a layer of plastic beneath the dough on the table surface and so there is a layer of plastic between the dough and the rolling pin. When the dough has been rolled into a square thin sheet of dough that fills the bag, carefully cut out the sides of the bag and pull back the top of the bag away from the pasta sheets. Cut them carefully into your desired size, but don’t remove them yet. Place this pasta, bag and all, to the side.

Take another third of dough and put it inside your second ziploc bag, slightly to one side or the other. Roll out the dough just like the first one but keep it more to one side. When you have a nice large sheet of pasta, cut one side of the bag where the pasta has connected with the side. Peel back the top (leaving one side and bottom uncut if possible and cut the pasta into its desired shape without cutting through the bag. Gently peel off each sheet of pasta and place it on top of the first batch of prepared pasta at an angle.

Finally, roll out the final portion of pasta against the edge of the ziploc bag that still remains. When you have a nice sheet of pasta, cut out the remaining side, peel back the plastic, and then peel off each remaining piece of pasta and place on top of the other prepared pasta at an angle to the piece beneath it.

Bring water to a boil in a large pot and add all your pasta. Time it for about three minutes FROM the point you add it to the water. Bring it back to a boil. After your timer goes off, carefully strain the pasta and rinse with cold water.

Use in recipe as desired. Yummy!

Flour blend inspired by Bette Hagman’s Bean flour pasta, Food processor technique and spinach inspired by Bryanna’s Vegan Homemade Pasta, but ultimately my own creation. Rolling out instructions purely my own technique.

*POTATO ALLERGY ALERT- if you are highly sensitive to potato, Ener-G foods Egg replacer does contain potato starch. You can try this recipe with ground flax seed instead or just spinach water. (And let me know how it turns out)

Gluten-free Vegan Bechamel White Sauce Recipe #2
2 & 2/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used soy. For soy-free use rice milk, almond milk, etc.)
2 tbsp. Earth Balance Margarine and 2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil (For soy-free use 4 tbsp. olive oil and no margarine.)
4 tbsp. sweet rice flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 tsp onion powder (or more)
Freshly grated nutmeg
Heat margarine and olive oil in nonstick pan until melted, and then add flour. Slowly whisk in non-dairy milk and raise temperature but don’t let come to a boil. Let thicken and season to taste. Whisk as needed and use in your recipe.
Daring Bakers Lentil Bolognese Sauce Recipe #3
1 onion, chopped
2 whole garlic cloves
2 carrots, coarsely grated
3 tbsp. olive oil
2/3 cup red lentils
1 14 oz. can tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 cups GF vegetable stock
1 tbsp. fresh marjoram
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Saute onion, garlic, and grated carrot in olive oil in a large dutch oven until it is soft. Add lentils, tomato, tomato paste, stock and seasoning and simmer for 20 minutes until thick and lovely. Taste and season as needed.
Alternative Dairy-Free, Soy-Free Cheese Recipes Parmesan and Pine Nut Ricotta
Dairy-free, Soy-free Parmesan:
1 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup blanched almonds
1/2 tsp. salt

Dairy-free, Soy-free Ricotta:
1/2 cup pine nuts
squirt of lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
water as needed

Combine parmesan ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until you have a smooth, granular topping. Reserve. (Only a small portion would be used for the lasagna recipe etc.- is nice to have on hand though. Great on popcorn!)

Soak pine nuts in water for an hour and then drain. Combine in blender with lemon juice, salt, and enough water to form a paste. Reserve for recipe. Leftovers are great on all kinds of things!

Gluten-free Vegan Spinach Lasagna Lasagne Rolls Recipe
1 recipe Gluten-Free Vegan Homemade Spinach Bean Pasta Recipe
1/2 recipe Gluten-free Vegan Bechamel White Sauce Recipe
1 recipe Daring Bakers Lentil Bolognese Sauce Recipe #3

Partial amounts of Vegan Parmesan and Pine Nut Ricotta
handful Toasted pine nuts

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Boil vegan pasta, rinse in cold water and drain as directed in recipe.

In a medium size dish, put a thin layer vegan red lentil bolognese sauce on the bottom. Then take a medium-sized rectangle of vegan spinach pasta and create a roll, filling with bolognese sauce, a dash of bechamel, and sprinking of vegan parmesan. Continue to create rolls (as if you were making enchiladas) with the same fillings. When the pan is full of these lasagna rolls, top with a thin layer bechamel sauce, pine nut ricotta, a sprinkling of vegan parmesan along the center of the rolls, and finally, toasted pine nuts.

Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until pine nut ricotta starts to brown.


To our surprise, we enjoyed this recipe even more than the non-vegan version. Even DH said it was the yummiest- and he’s a tough sell. I’ll totally make this again.
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