Sunday, May 12, 2013

Gluten-Free Tiramisu with Kahlua


I'm going to be honest: I didn't even LIKE Tiramisu that much. Until now. The ones I have tried in restaurants have been SWIMMING in rum. No bueno. I have made it a few times in the past, before I gave up gluten, and it's a relatively simple dessert to throw together a day in advance...when you don't have to worry about the GF Ladyfinger cookies. (And maybe also, don't start the process at 10pm...) I was cursing the fact that I had to BAKE the Ladyfingers, as opposed to just picking up a box at the store, like in the good ol' days of indiscriminate gluten ingestion.

The end result, however, made it SO worth it. I'm posting the recipe so that you all can travel to dessert heaven too, gluten-free. Seriously, the Crème Brulee AND the Chocolate Soufflé with Crème Anglaise and Raspberries, are both getting dropped from their top two spots on the "Krentz Dessert Program." I made this for our fantastic friends Marylou and Gary who came over for steak dinner the other night. The Cajun Shrimp recipe is also worth posting. But, one thing at a time! And as it should... "dessert" trumps "appetizers".

For you curious types, Ladyfingers (also called Savoyardi!) are rumored to have originated in the late 15th century at the court of the Duchy of Savoy. They were created to mark the occasion of a visit by the King of France. Imagine getting a COOKIE created in your honor.

OK, enough history. Let's start with the Ladyfingers! I should mention that the quantities might need some further experimentation. Some people like a spongy, cake-heavy tiramisu, while others want the mascarpone and cream to dominate. Some like a ton of booze, but I don't want to drink my desserts, necessarily. Introducing....


Gluten-free "Ladyfingers"
3 eggs
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
1/3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla Extract (make sure it's GF if you want to be "straight-edge" about it)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. You'll be sorry if you don't.
  2. Separate the eggs and put the egg whites in medium size bowl. Beat on high until soft peaks start to form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy.
  3. In another bowl beat the egg yolks and remaining sugar. Add the vanilla extract. Whip until thick and pale in color.
  4. Sift flour and baking powder together into a bowl. (Yes, one more bowl. And a sieve. Unless you want to use some other trick for sifting flour. It's important even with "pre-sifted" flour, for maximum fluff factor)
  5. Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Fold in flour, and then add the remaining egg whites. (Don't over-do the mixing, or you'll murder the characteristic LadyFinger fluffy weightlessness.) Transfer mixture into a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe out 4 inch rows onto the baking sheet. (Upon trial, I increased the amount of flour from the original 2/3 cup, because the mixture was a bit to thin to pipe with any type of ease - didn't affect the final product however...) Bake approximately 8 minutes or till they turn a golden brown.

Kahlua-misu (Tiramisu with Kahlua!)
5 egg yolks
3/4 granulated sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
16 oz. mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee (use good beans!)
4 tbs. Kahlua
25-30 Gluten Free Ladyfingers
2-3 tbs. Cocoa Powder for dusting

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until well blended. Whisk in the milk and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil gently for about a minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Cover tightly and chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  2. In a medium bowl, beat cream with vanilla until stiff peaks form. Whisk mascarpone into yolk mixture until smooth.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the Kahlua and coffee. (How much of each, and how much you end up using, is really a personal decision! You'll just have to figure out which proportions tickle your fancy...)
  4. Arrange a layer of ladyfingers in the bottom of a 7x11 inch dish. (You guys are smart and probably realize that the dish used is also flexible. Tall edges = more layers & low edges = fewer layers...not rocket science, haha!) Using a spoon, drizzle the coffee/Kahlua over the ladyfingers. (Don't go crazy with this step- just enough drizzle to dampen the cookies. No drowning necessary.) Spread half of mascarpone mixture over the damp ladyfingers, then half of whipped cream over that. Repeat layers about 3-4 times, or as many times as your dish will allow. Sprinkle with cocoa (use your sieve to avoid clumps!). Cover and refrigerate AT LEAST 6 hours, until set. Preferably overnight to really let the flavors get to know each other... Cut with a sharp knife and lift up and out!

Special shout-out to Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix, for consistently making GF life so much easier! I'm sure some other GF flour (or shortcut even more with a yellow cake mix?) would work fine as well.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My Dental Fling

What are the chances of an unidentified particle using your dental floss as a slingshot, and hurling itself straight into your eye?

Pretty decent, I guess.

I would love to know the speed of said particle, because it got in there, somewhere, and wouldn't come out. I figured sleeping would take care of it, but I woke up this morning with one RED eye, crying without the endorsement of any particular emotion. The eye was painful, and judging from the amount of disgusting goop, had been trying all night to eject the foreign object.

Last time I visited the neuro-opthamologist he told me I had fantastic vision, but my eyes were dry. I told him I believed him, but didn't know what dry eyes felt like, and therefore resigned to accept his "diploma on the wall as proof" that my eyes were dry. He gave me some gel type drops.

I have never put ANYTHING in my eye, (except that one time I flailed around with a Q-tip and it got stuck between my eyeball and my eye socket....) so my aim needs work. After hydrating my CHEEK and my eye brow for a while, I gave the bottle a good squeeze and dumped a waterfall into my eye. Then I waited. I was having terrible anxiety that maybe because of my modified immune system this THING would turn into some giant ocular infection that would eat me up from the inside and kill me. So I repeated the waterfall procedure after 15 minutes in hopes of just drowning my problem.

Eventually, thankfully in time for my performance this morning, whatever the thing was wasn't there anymore. I tried to imagine what it could have been. A piece of gluten-free cracker? A grain of salt?

Pictured: "The Assailant and the Savior"

The world will never know...

Floss carefully, my dentally hygienic friends.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"When Goldfish Attack - A therapy dog's harrowing tail"

Those of you who have met Amelia, know that her temperament is perfectly suited for Therapy Dog Work. She has been taking classes for the past two months, and will hopefully pass the certification test in two weeks! Her biggest challenge has been "leave it", as she is so low to the ground and spends her time "vacuuming" for god-knows-what. Two classes ago, it did not look promising, as she was lightning fast in picking up the small pieces of chicken off the very tempting "do-not-eat" plate on the ground. I catch myself being resentful of the test itself, wondering what jerk-face would leave a plate of food on the ground for a dog to NOT eat...but then I remind myself that it is the principle of the thing. Most people do, in fact, NOT leave plates of delicious food on the ground. But they might drop their dangerous medications on the ground, if they are anything like me...Ms.Butterfingers.

This last class was great. On the first try, my exceptional little muffin passed over the plate, picking up three goldfish crackers in the process. I quickly squeaked "LEAVE IT!", at which point she turned around, and the three crackers plopped out of her oversize jowels and back on the plate. I was mighty impressed. Until the instructor needlessly pointed out that nobody is going to want to take pills that were dropped and now covered in dog drool. To which my instinctive response MIGHT have been "Droppers can't be choosers".

On the second try, I was told to "assertively" command that the dog "LEAVE IT" with better timing - as in, BEFORE the plate is within reach. I might have yelled a bit too loud, because Amelia jumped straight up in the air, and over the plate, with at least a 20" useless diameter.

Nobody can say that this dog is a slow learner. Third pass at the plate of crackers. I didn't have a chance to say ANYTHING because Amelia now thinks goldfish crackers are the devil, and took a huge detour around the plate while not even making any eye contact. Next...I guess we'll have to try it rib?

Here is a picture of Amelia being very suspicious of her giant therapy dog colleague, wondering if there aren't size restrictions for this job.

And should he be SLEEPING in class?
He should maybe reconsider his career choice...
I wonder if that plate of goldfish crackers is still behind me...