Pies, Pies, Pies!

As I mentioned a month ago, I was going to make a few pies in June, and sure enough I did! Three pies to be exact – Pumpkin pie (who says pumpkin is only for October?!), Lemon Meringue pie, and Apple pie! And all gluten free of course!! (Gluten Free Pantry pie crust mix was used FYI). I shared the pies with coworkers and friends, and received nothing but good feedback; the best of all – they couldn’t tell it was gluten free!

Pies

As I’ve already posted my pumpkin pie and apple pie recipes on this blog, I’m only including the lemon meringue pie recipe, which I found on allrecipes.com: here. I’ve made a slight change to make it gluten free so I’ve typed out the recipe (also just in case they remove the recipe from the website at some point). 🙂

1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons gluten free flour mix (I did 1 tbsp rice flour, 1 tbsp sorghum flour)
3 tablespoons cornstarch (I actually used a mix of tapioca starch and potato starch)
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups water
2 medium/large lemons, juiced and zested
2 tablespoons butter
4 egg yolks, beaten
4 egg whites
6 tablespoons white sugar
(one pie crust)

I thought it would be quite difficult to make but, surprisingly, not so – there are really only 3 steps involved. Before you begin, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1 making the lemon filling.
In a medium saucepan, whisk together 1 cup sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir in water, lemon juice and lemon zest. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until mixture comes to a boil. Stir in butter. Place egg yolks in a small bowl and gradually whisk in 1/2 cup of hot sugar mixture. Whisk egg yolk mixture back into remaining sugar mixture. Bring to a boil and continue to cook while stirring constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Pour filling into baked pastry shell.

Step 2  making the meringue
In a large glass or metal bowl (I used my precious Kitchen Aid mixer <3), whip egg whites until foamy. Add sugar gradually, and continue to whip until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over pie, sealing the edges at the crust.

***When you’re covering the filling with the meringue it is very important that you spread the meringue right to the crust (actually going past it a bit) because you want to seal all the edges. If you don’t, the meringue will shrink and shift while it cooks and while it’s cooling in the fridge, leaving the filling exposed. (Speaking from experience… haha)

Step 3 is baking the pie for 10 minutes, or until meringue is golden brown.

I suppose if you haven’t made the pie dough ahead of time, there would be an extra step – but I highly recommend making it either the day before or at least an hour before (as it will take time to set in the fridge… IF you are using the pie mix I used.)
I let mine set in the fridge overnight before trying it. My recommendation is, eat it within the first couple of days, otherwise the meringue will be very hard to cut (and by hard I mean difficult; the meringue won’t actually become harder but instead become very very sticky!!)

Meringue Pie

Alright, I think that’s enough writing from me for now! If you try out the lemon meringue, I hope you enjoy it and feel free to share photos and comments!!

Cheers,
Rhi

Kodama Cake!

Haha wow. Just found this draft I was working on…. March 2014! Oops! Well, without further ado, here it is:

I think I mentioned at some point in the Fall that I was starting to take baking courses (or maybe I didn’t…. if not, well last Fall I started taking baking courses!). Sadly, all but 2 recipes from my first course contained gluten and as such, I didn’t not include them in my blog. The second course that I just finished this week was a basic cake decorating course. For my final class, I had to design and decorate a cake; being a Studio Ghibli fan and seeing as I was going to see The Wind Rises the follow day, I decided to create inspired by one of my favourite movies, Princess Mononoke. It’s not amazing, but I was happy with it, especially the cute little kodama characters made out of marzipan.

Kodama Cake
Cheers,
Rhi

New Year’s Eve at Hunters Landing

This is simply a short post about my New Year’s Eve at a good restaurant with good company.

For those of you who haven’t heard of Hunters Landing, it’s a restaurant/pub/grill/sports bar (take your pick) located at 82 Fort York Blvd in Toronto. The atmosphere in this place is great and you can feel comfortable going in jeans or a fancier dress. Best part about this place – it serves gluten-free food. Wait. Let me say that again, it serves really good gluten-free food! I’ve only been here 2 or 3 times, but I have never been disappointed!

My friends and I wanted something fun but not over-the-top to do for NYE and so someone suggested going here. For $50, we received a 3-course meal, as well as champagne and snacks at midnight.
The courses I chose were:
Field Greens– fresh berries, spiced sunflower seeds, blue agave and lime vinaigrette (delicious!)
Asiago and Spinach stuffed chicken breast– Herbed potatoes, root vegetables, balsamic sauce (If I were eating this at home, I would have licked the plate! Seriously, the balsamic sauce was amazing!)
Caramel Cheesecake (the alternative was an equally tempting Tres Leches Brownie, also, gluten-free! The cheesecake was fantastic… so fantastic in fact that I ate half of my friend’s piece too! haha)

The venue itself can be casual or classy; it really depends on what you want your night to be. I highly recommend Hunters Landing for those who want a good meal and nice night out!

NYE @ Hunters



Cheers,
Rhi

Breakfast – Pure and Simple.

Eggs, (chicken) bacon, (gluten-free) toast. All you really need to have a simply delicious breakfast! (Plus maybe a little butter for the toast, and some salt & pepper haha). I know a lot of people skip breakfast because they aren’t hungry in the morning or just don’t have the energy to make something… but how can you not want to eat this in the morning? It’s so simple and how can you say no to the smell of bacon?? (Note: I can’t actually eat bacon…allergy… but turkey/chicken bacon smells good too!)

So that’s what I had this morning. Rounded it off with a small glass of orange juice and a 24 oz cup of tea. 😛

Cheers,

RhiBreakfast!

Pumpkin Season!

First off sorry for the delay in posting this! And secondly, I’m a little sad that I didn’t make nearly as many pumpkin items as I usually do (but I guess I still have time!!).

As usual, I started my pumpkin season with Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. This has been my traditional for roughly  5 or 6 years now. They have a very simple flavour and an odd texture (moist yet chalky) but I find myself starting to crave them every year around September/October and this year was no exception! I’m sure there are recipes all over the internet for these kinds of cookies, so if you’ve never tried them go find a recipe right now! The trick to them (in my opinion) is vegetable shortening.

I also made Pumpkin Spice French Toast, which is just french toast with pumpkin spice added into the egg mix before soaking the bread in it. So simple and so good!

Something new that I discovered this year was Pumpkin Doughnuts! Talk about YUM!!! For those of you who don’t have doughnut pans, (or if you plan on sharing them at work and need a lot of them, like I did) then feel free to use mini-muffin trays to make doughnut holes instead! This is the recipe I used but I replaced the flour with my gluten-free blend as per usual (2 part gluten free flour, 1 part tapioca starch, 1 part potato starch). It worked beautifully! I highly suggest trying them!

Pumpkin Doughnuts coated in pumpkin spice sugar!

Pumpkin Doughnuts coated in pumpkin spice sugar!

And of course, with (Canadian) Thanksgiving having just passed, I made Pumpkin Pie, which is another recipe I make every year. I’ll mention now but for all of the recipes I use fresh pumpkin, not canned, although you certain can use the can. I find the flavour is a bit lighter as is the colour but it is still marvelous and very easy to make.

If you’re interested in making your own pumpkin purée, this is what you do:

1. Buy baking pumpkins (the smaller ones, not the big ones you would use for carving)
2. Cut them in half (or quarters, it’s up to you) and clean out the seeds. (I keep the seeds and bake them with a little salt and butter! Makes them taste like popcorn!)
3. Place halves face down in a pan with about 1 inch worth of water.
4. Bake in a preheated oven at about 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes or until the pumpkin can easily be pierced with a fork.
5. Let cool, then scrap the pumpkin (ie not the skin) into a food process and blend the heck out of it! Some people add a little water to help the process but I don’t because I don’t want to water down the flavour.
And there you have it, fresh pumpkin purée! It’ll last for about a week in the fridge or you can freeze it and save it for later!

That’s all for now but as I make more pumpkin goodies I’ll be sure to let you know!!

Cheers,
Rhi

Apple pie: the beloved pie of many

Forewarning: I’m in a chatty mood so if you just want the recipe, feel free to skip to the bottom. (… That was a joke. You’re not seriously going to skip to the bottom, are you?)

So who likes apple pie? I’m guessing the majority of you out there do, some of you might even love it. (Like my father, for example, whose idea of a small slice of apple pie would be half the pie.)  It might shock you (or not) to learn that it was only in the last couple of years that I started liking apple pie. For whatever reason when I was young I decided I didn’t like mushy apples but thankfully now I’ve joined the ranks of the many who do. But sadly, because I only recently started liking it, I have never made an apple pie.

So why now?

I was talking to a friend about how I go a little pumpkin-crazy in October (just wait for all the posts.. they will come) and mentioned my love of pumpkin pie, and he mentioned his favourite was apple and how now is the perfect time for apple pie because it’s apple-picking time. A few days pass and I’m at the grocery store, wandering aimless as I do sometimes, when I found myself standing in front of the apples. A little voice echoed in my head “apple pie, apple pie, apple pie”, and so to silence the voice I decided to make an apple pie! (I know, that story was a little anti-climatic… there’s a reason why I’m not a professional writer.)

Anyways… Recipe time!
Remember a while back I said I had my lazy moments? Well instead of playing around with a gluten-free pastry recipe, I decided to take a shortcut and use the Gluten-Free Pantry’s pie crust mix. I’ve used this mix before and I’m always happy with it. It’s sweet but not too sweet with the right amount of flaky, and it’s much easier to handle (in my opinion) than traditional pastry dough.
So that’s my crust, and while it was chilling in the fridge, I put together the apple filling.

5 McIntosh apples, peeled and sliced
1/3 C white sugar
1/3 C packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp sweet rice flour
1 Tbsp tapioca starch
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cardamon
2 Tbsp butter, cut into tiny cubes

Place all the sliced apples in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix sugars, rice flour, tapioca starch, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon and salt (feel free to add a bit of cloves too if you want more of a zing), and sprinkle over the apples. Let them sit for about 10 minutes, until a bit of juice forms.

Take your pastry dough out of the fridge and roll it out (about an 8th of an inch thick). Like I said earlier, the nice thing about this dough is it is easier to handle, so it won’t crack as much. Place it in your pie pan, and add the apples. Next step, take the butter and scatter it on top of the apples. Once that is done, add the top layer of pastry and seal! Brush the top with either a little bit of water or milk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. **Important** Don’t forget to slash the top to vent the pie! (I just did an X in the middle.)
Bake at 375 degrees F, for roughly 40-50 minutes or until juice bubbles through the slashes and the apples are tender.
Once fully baked, remove from oven and let cool slightly…then dig in! Add a little ice cream on top and you have yourself one hell of a yummy dessert! Even better than dessert, it makes a great breakfast!!

Apple Pie

With a successful apple pie under my belt now, I look forward to making other delicious apple-related treats. Any suggestions?

Cheers,
Rhi

Baileys Cupcake!

I promised you all a photo of my chocolate Baileys cupcake… well I forgot to take photos of them! I’m sorry! In all the rush to make them and get them to the party I completely forgot! But I do have a photo of the exact same cupcake recipe made by a friend. Instead of adding Baileys to the whip cream she added melted chocolate, but other than that they are essentially the same cupcake!

Here is the recipe for those interested in trying these super yummy, super moist cupcakes!
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
3 Eggs (at room temperature)
1/4 Cup Oil (I use Coconut Oil)
1/2 Cup Agave or Honey (or combine the two)

1. Mix the dry ingredients.
2. Blend the wet ingredients.
3. Combine and mix the dry and wet.
4. Line muffin tins with muffin cups and scoop about 1/4 cup of batter into each.
5. Bake at 350 degrees celsius. 15-20 minutes.

For the topping, all I did was whip whipping cream and added Baileys. How much you add will depend on how strong you want it.

That’s all for today!
Cheers,
Rhi