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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Tips for Gluten-Free, Soy-Free Living: Challenge #1 SF DF GF Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

September 2nd, 2008 yum Posted in Cooking for Karina, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free Cookbook Recipe Review, Gluten Free Product Review, Karina Friendly, Soy Free, Support Groups, Vegan, soy-free challenges 22 Comments »

One thing that strikes me repeatedly is that while living gluten-free can be challenging, living gluten-free with additional allergies or intolerance is even more difficult. Upon diagnosis, many Celiacs are lactose intolerant because their villi (with those lactose digesting tips) have been damaged by the body’s response to gluten. Thus it is often recommended that new Celiacs refrain from consuming dairy (especially anything containing lactose) for at least the first six months after diagnosis. Issues with dairy often resolve as the body heals, but some have trouble with Casein, the protein in milk, or continue to be lactose intolerant. Among my gluten-intolerant friends, many of them have complex allergies and intolerances that make things even more complicated, such as eggs, corn, beans, nuts, shellfish, and perhaps most difficult of all, SOY. In recent years there has been a fair amount of negative press about soy, perhaps to counter-balance all the positive press back when it was thought to be the next, best cure for the world’s health problems. It seems like no matter what food you study, it turns out (shocker) that anything in too large of a quantity may have an effect on your body- with some positive effects, and some negative. I try not to worry about it too much, especially with foods that humans have been consuming successfully for centuries. However, whatever you think about the media hype surrounding soy- one fact remains… and that is that soy is a major allergen. In fact, it is required by both American and Japanese labeling laws to be marked on foods as one of the “great eight” allergens. And perhaps because of this, I know quite a few people that have trouble with the soy-monster. I say soy monster because both out of an interest in exploiting the positive hype surrounding soy in recent years, many companies began adding soy to their products. The food industry has also quietly been adding soy additives and derivatives to their products for years, interested by the low cost of soy as well as its versatility in products as diverse as vegetable oil, mayonnaise, margarine, chocolate, salad dressings, cookies, crackers, and fried foods. I don’t quite understand the extent to which American processed food companies stuff their products with difficult-to-pronounce and weird ingredients that no home cook would ever find in their kitchen- but apparently all these additives and strange ingredients add shelf life life and “flavor” to products. If they say so, but personally I find it more than a little creepy. The prevalence of soy in all of these products is really becoming more than a little alarming- and I’m very sorry to say that it makes life very difficult for my friends with soy-intolerance. Actually, even my non-Celiac mother is allergic to soy and has trouble in restaurants or even eating at people’s houses because that sneaky devil soy manages to creep in all sorts of places you wouldn’t expect. At a recent meeting of our Celiac Bay Area Support Group, we had an “allergen-free” themed dinner in honor of our Allergy-boy hosting the party as well as another woman who has recently found she is sensitive to all forms of soy, including soy lecithin. (Just try finding a tasty candy-bar without THAT little ingredient… DOH.) As I thought about what dishes to bring, I found myself confronting all sorts of unexpected hurdles. I really wanted to bring chocolate chip cookies, but my friend MARGARINE was no longer my friend as every brand I could find contained SOY PROTEIN or SOY LECITHIN or some other evil soy-derivative. (Butter was out because MILK is also an allergen.) And of course, chocolate chips almost always contain SOY LECITHIN as well, so it seemed like a lost cause. Luckily, some sectors of the food industry has noticed the need for gluten-free, soy-free (and other allergen-free) foods, and has stepped up with a few products that make life a little easier for the gluten-free, soy-free consumer. Over the next month or so, we’ll be featuring some of these gluten-free, soy-free products and sharing some great GF SF recipes with you in a series of GLUTEN-FREE, SOY-FREE CHALLENGES!

This week’s gluten-free, soy-free challenge is the CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. One unexpected problem arises when you try to do soy-free and dairy-free baking, especially cookie recipes. Many cookies call for either butter or margarine. Butter contains dairy (although it is low in lactose), and most, if not all margarines contain soy. What to do? You can try to replace the fat with a combination of applesauce and olive or canola oil, but I’ve had mixed success with cooking oil substitutions. Vegetable oil or blends often contain soy ingredients, complicating the issue. However, Alton Brown showed us that shortening makes a perfectly delicious puffy cookie. Why?

“Shortening melts at a higher temperature than butter so it remains solid longer giving the batter time to rise and set before it spreads. Hah. Increasing the ratio of brown to white sugar also creates a more tender cookie.” (Transcript of Alton’s Cookie episode)

When I had to make an allergen-free cookie, I started looking for a good gluten-free cookie recipe using shortening. I like Spectrum Natural’s Organic Shortening without any trans fats and no soy oil. I recently bought Annalise Roberts’ book Gluten-Free Baking Classicsand found her recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookies using shortening. This recipe was also published in Gourmet magazine, so you can see it too! I used Ener-g Foods egg replacer for the eggs to make it egg free. For those who are severely allergic to soy and can’t even have soy lecithin, Enjoy Life chocolate chips is the perfect (if rather pricey) solution that always wins raves. I shared my GF SF (and EF,DF) cookies with my Celiac SF Bay support group (many of whom have multiple allergies) and they were very popular. My non-GF DH also enjoyed them, although he prefers those made with butter or margarine. I froze the dough in logs at least one day before baking them because I find that the texture improves and they spread out less, although this isn’t so much of a problem with a cookie made with shortening. I then cut them into rounds, toss them in the oven, and have some delicious cookies. This is a good way to prevent an attack of the cookie monster… I have a pretty unlimited hunger for cookies and DH and I WILL eat way more than is good for us if they’re baked and looking all enticing on the counter. One other plus? An egg-free cookie dough tastes darned good even uncooked, and can be used for a homemade gluten-free cookie-dough ice cream. Mmmmm… Just sub in an alternative milk if dairy is an issue. :)

Looking for a pre-made frozen GF cookie dough or GF cookie tips? Read this post!

Here’s a list of my favorite gluten-free, soy-free BAKING INGREDIENTS:

Spectrum Organic Shortening is relatively easy to find in health food stores, and is trans fat free as well as dairy and soy free. It’s an excellent ingredient for baking and has a pleasant, if rather bland flavor. Make sure to boost flavor elements of your recipe, and you may also find it helpful to add high protein ingredients (almond meal, bean flour, or yogurt if not dairy-free) to your recipe to improve texture of final product.

Pam’s for Grilling seems to be the only non-stick cooking spray without that ol’ popular soy lecithin. Make sure to check the label before you buy as the formula could change at any time. I like to use nonstick cooking spray for grilling (especially this variety) and also for bread pans. I usually spray the pan and then dust it with flour or cornmeal before adding the dough and letting the bread rise. DO NOT use this kind of spray on nonstick cooking surfaces like fry pans, as it will ruin your finish. Trusts me on this one.

Mother’s Margarine is actually dairy AND soy-free. The catch? It seems to only be available during Passover. Doh. I suppose you could order it in bulk and then stock up in season… Here’s a detailed article on this margarine. Apparently there was a Passover Margarine Shortage in 2008, and there are rumors that Mother’s Margarine may have discontinued their product. Please share any links you have if you have more information on this…

Coconut oil is another interesting dairy-free, soy-free oil for baking. I haven’t been entirely satisfied with my experiments so far, but I think that this oil is promising and I know many gluten-free bakers who use it successfully. Here’s an intriguing recipe for gluten-free, soy free brownies using coconut oil.

These dairy, soy, and gluten-free chocolate chips have become legendary at our Celiac support group meetings. Turns out soy doesn’t really add anything in terms of FLAVOR to chocolate chips, and these little chocolate chips are delicious for snacking as well as in chocolate chip cookies. Unfortunately they are a little pricey. Sigh. I usually buy them at Whole Foods, but you can also buy them online at Allergy Grocery. If you find the price of these chips prohibitive, you can also find chocolate chips for Passover that are both dairy and soy-free.

When I made my recent gluten-free, soy-free eclairs for a friend, I was having trouble getting a nice glaze from the Enjoy Life chocolate chips, so I added some Bakers Unsweetened Baking Chocolate which is ONLY chocolate and contains no soy (or dairy, for that matter). It did help the recipe. This isn’t a good snacking chocolate, but it can be used for chocolate sauces.

Breads from Anna are popular gluten-free, soy-free (DF, EF etc) bread mixes that I haven’t had a chance to try yet…

Namaste Foods is another popular gluten-free mix company with products that are also free of soy, corn, potato, dairy, and nuts. Once you pick your favorites, you can get a good price online through Amazon (below).

Share any GF cookie baking tips OR your favorite soy-free products in the comments!

Coming Soon Gluten-Free, Soy-Free Living Challenge #2 Chinese Stir Fries without SOY SAUCE but with LOTS OF FLAVOR!

For now, check out Soy-free recipes at the Book of Yum
Cool gluten-free, soy-free (and other allergen-free ) recipes at Elanas Pantry
Soy-free recipes at Gluten-Free Goodness
Recipes at the Gluten-Free Soy-Free Vegan
Soy-Free Gluten-Free recipes at Cindalous Kitchen Blues*note margarine, and substitute accordingly

Have any other favorite gluten-free, soy-free blogs? Tell me and I’ll add them to the list!

*Don’t forget to Adopt-a-gluten-free-blogger! Deadline: Sep 8!

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