Lemon Squares: Easy, Delish and GF

I strongly believe in seasonal eating and winter is the season of citrus so more power to the lemon! As mentioned previously, my brother sent me a box of juicy Meyer lemons from his tree down in Texas. I also believe in making my own treats; truly they are a lot healthier than store made sweets.  Last night we enjoyed lemon squares, gluten free and very dainty with the special flavor of Meyer lemons.  Of course, you can use the regular lemons available in the store; will be a tad sharper/brighter in flavor but they will work nicely.

These cookies are very easy to throw together; I made a shortbread cookie style gf press and bake crust and the filling ingredients are whisked together in my mixer and poured into the partially baked crust.  So easy to make and I wanted something light and delicate after all the fancy holiday desserts.  You would never guess they are made without all purpose wheat flour.  Anyone will love them if they are a fan of lemon. Take these to your next gathering, they will be scarped up pretty fast, and you will be seen as a real baker. Best of all you are eating a safe treat that is relatively guilt free; no gluten, no preservatives, not that much sugar compared to a cake and homemade flavor. Score!

lemon squares 008


 Cookie Tart Crust

1 cup brown rice flour mixture (recipe below)

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. xanthan gum

5 tbsp. cold butter cut up into 6 or 7 chunks

Directions for crust:

Mix the dry ingredients with a stand mixer, add the butter, blend with the paddle blade until the butter is small pebbles.  Press into an 8 inch square pan, be sure to first spray the pan with cooking spray and sprinkle with rice flour.  Bake 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  While it bakes make the filling.

lemon squares 002

Baked cookie crust

Filling

3 large eggs, warm them close to room temperature

¾ cup granulated sugar

1/3 cup Meyer lemon juice

2 tbsp gf flour mix

2 tbsp finely grated Meyer lemon peel

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat eggs until fluffy, add the sugar slowly but steadily, mix, add rest of ingredients, Mix until smooth.

lemon squares 003

Adding the lemon zest.

Pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees for 20-22 min; until set.

lemon squares 006

Just out of the oven.

Cool completely and refrigerate if you want to serve them cold. They do not freeze well and only keep about 3 days, if any square are left that long!   I like to sift some powdered sugar on right before serving them. Use a sieve and about 2 tbsp. powdered sugar.  Luscious lemony goodness can be yours with minimal effort.

lemon squares 008

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s basic gf blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

This recipe is from Annalise Roberts; Gluten – Free Baking Classics, a fantastic source for baking gluten free treats, full of recipes just like  your old wheaty friends but so so much safer!

Originally posted in winter of 2015. Minor changes to text, not to recipe.

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Blueberry Ricotta Tart

In search of a dessert that uses what I have on hand. Too cold to head out to the grocery store… So, I had a container of ricotta about to reach its expiration date, frozen blueberries, eggs, sugar and crust materials. Saw a tart recipe, adapted it slightly to make it gluten free and I wanted a touch of lemon. Used my favorite gf shortbread cookie crust for tarts. Added some lemon extract to the filling for that desired lemony flavor. I used to make a similar tart when I still ate gluten; this replication came out just perfect.

Boom! A great quick tart that is not too sweet and has a lighter texture due to the ricotta; my old tart was made with cream cheese; heavier. Plus, I didn’t have to buy any ingredients!

I used a long rectangular pan to create mine but you can use a round one if that is what you have. I just enjoy the rectangular pan as I can cut it across into bars; easy to eat with fingers if you cut your bar in half to make two squares. Plus it looks awesome…. blueberry ricotta tart

blueberry ricotta tart slice

Notes; you can leave out the lemon extract if you don’t want that flavor. I used King Arthur’s basic gf flour blend, the one that is just flours, no xanthan in it. I used blueberries but I am sure you could make this with raspberries or a mixture of the two.

I used my awesome new kitchen scale to weigh out the ricotta. I got it for Christmas from my sister, Elaine. Guessing that she noticed that my old scale was ancient and inefficient: from decades ago and so got me this futuristic one that can weigh in ounces or grams! I think it is gorgeous; bonus….scale.jpg

The ricotta was in a 15 ounce container so I have a little leftover. Might make a tiny bit of dip for crackers. Or maybe an egg custard for breakfast tomorrow…hmmm.
Ricotta Blueberry Tart

Cookie crust:

1 cup brown rice blend

1 tsp. xanthan gum

¼ cup sugar

5 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 10 pieces or more

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1-2 tsp. water

Mix the dry ingredients in stand mixer bowl.  Add the butter, mix until fine like sand.  Add extract and water. Blend briefly.  Spray pan with cooking spray.  Sprinkle in the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Press lightly in with your hands. DO not press too hard or it becomes way too firm.

Filling:

12 ounces of ricotta cheese, whole milk is best

3 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. lemon extract

2 Tbsp. cornstarch

Pinch sea salt

1 1/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, I used frozen

Mix ricotta with eggs and rest of ingredients except fruit; can use same bowl with your stand mixer.  Carefully pour into the tart crust. Top with the berries. If you have too much liquid filling as I did: pour rest into a small low casserole and top with ¼ of the berries; bake that small pan about 25-30 minutes. Bonus treat!

Bake tart 50 min at 375 degrees. It should be fairly firm in the center.  Let cool before slicing.  You can sprinkle it with powdered sugar if desired. I was so eager to try it I totally forgot to do this! Enjoy.

GF Flour blend (if you want to make it yourself)

2 cups brown rice flour

2/3 cup potato starch

1/3 cup tapioca starch

Meyer Lemon Meringue Tartlets

Pies are lovely but sometimes I like to make little tartlets. Folks just love having their own miniature pie.  I haven’t tried this shrink job before on a lemon meringue pie. But today I did it. This is my take on my mom’s bastardized version of an old Betty Crocker recipe and (of course) made gluten free with my favorite crust.  It has no gelatin for you gel haters! I make it with the lesser amount of sugar in the filling but you can double it if you are a sweet freak.  The Meyer lemons in these tartlets are sweeter than regular lemons so they really don’t need all that much sugar compared to regular garden variety lemons.

I used Meyer lemons for this recipe since I had some my brother sent me.  These  tartlets have a really delicate lemon flavor – so try it if you can get a couple.  Don’t worry; regular lemons work just fine. It can be slightly difficult to find Meyer lemons and a bit pricey too.  I saw them at Giant this week, might be worth it…

My mom always added a touch of corn syrup to replace some of the reduced out sugar and because it makes the texture of this pie creamier and more delicate.  In this tartlet form you can leave out the corn syrup…the resulting lemon custard kinda needs to be firmer  in this tiny format.

Tip: Don’t make this on a very humid day or the meringue will weep and bead on the top.  It will taste fine but the look will suffer from the humidity.

Store any leftovers in the fridge. It probably won’t keep more than two days but frankly these tartlets will be eaten if you have anyone else in the house!

 

Lemon Meringue  Tartlets

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe) [King Arthur plain mix]

2 tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbps. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbps. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 lg egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Spray 9 inch metal pie pan with cooking spray, dust with white rice flour.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes. Then roll it out and line 7-8 tartlet pan with it.  Make sure you get the crust nice and thin; this crust can be tough to get the center as thin as the edges. Prick it all over with a fork to keep it from bubbling out and bake the empty crust at 350 for 9-10 minutes until light brown.  Let cool.

Lemon Filling:

Ingredients:

1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar

1/3 plus 1 tbsp. corn starch

1 ½ cup water

3 eggs, separated; yolks for filling, save whites for meringue

1-2 tsp. lemon zest

½ cup fresh lemon juice

2-3 tbsp. clear corn syrup (optional but it does make it extra creamy)

3 tbsp. butter cut in small chunks

Directions:

Start oven heating to 400 degrees for browning the topped tartlets.

Mix the sugar and corn starch in a heavy bottomed medium sized saucepan.  Add the water, stirring.  Heat until it boils, stirring constantly, boil one minute, take off heat.  Beat yolks briefly in a small mixing bowl, then add the hot stuff slowly to it; half the hot mixture, stirring constantly.  Then dump it all back into the saucepan, bring to a boil, stir like a crazy person so it doesn’t scorch. Boil 1 minute at medium heat.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and zest and then stir in the butter.  Let it melt as you stir.  Glug in some corn syrup. Let it stand in the hot pan while you make the meringue.  Then use a big spoon to pour the hot lemon filling into the mini pie crusts.  Top while still hot with the meringue you just beat up. I put it on very carefully in 2-3 spoonfuls and spread it gently to keep it from overflowing the filling. There should be enough filling for eight flat bottomed tartlets or seven deep dish ones.  Make sure you get the meringue all the way across the top and along every single edge. No cracks, no gaps. Bake it 10-11 minutes until light brown. Cool to room temperature and then chill for 1-2 hours before serving. This short chill time is one benefit of tartlets; they cool much faster than a big pie does. Enjoy! lemon tartlet side view

Meringue topping

three egg whites, room temperature

¼ tsp. cream of tarter

sprinkle of salt

6 tbsp. granulated sugar (or 8-10 tbsp.)

Beat the whites, sea salt and the cream of tarter until it is past the foamy stage, add the sugar half a tbsp. at a time beating on high until the whites are stiff and glossy.  This will take several minutes.

If you add one or two extra egg whites add another ¼ tsp. cream of tarter and add 2 tbsp. sugar for each extra white. I do think for the tartlets that an extra egg white would make the topping thicker. Up to you bakers!

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Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

Blueberry Peach Almond Crisp

We are still enjoying fresh blueberries and juicy ripe peaches. I had just a few peaches left from that basket I bought a week ago so I wanted to combine them with blueberries; giving enough fruit for this crisp and so I could enjoy the combined fruit flavors.  I used my pie crumb topping as the jump off recipe for this dessert. Adding almonds adds a lot of crunch. I loved how quickly this came together; no precooking of the fruit and if you have crust crumbs in the fridge you are ready to toss it together in about 5 minutes. There are twice as much blueberries as peach slices but the blueberries do become the predominant flavor.  If you want more peach flavor; use less blueberries and more peaches.

blueberry peach mixture

Notes: You need to peel the peaches; I heated water to a boil; dropped the peaches in and cooked them for three minutes, let cool a bit and peel then slice.  Chose a baking dish that has room for the fruit and ½ inch of topping plus at least another inch for the hot fruit to bubble up and not spill over.

blueberry peach crisp baked

Angie’s GF Blueberry Peach Almond Crisp

Filling:

1 cup fresh blueberries, rinse, drain and place in medium bowl

2 ¼ cups sliced peaches, peeled before slicing into bowl with blueberries

Add and mix with:

3-4 Tbsp. sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. quick tapioca

Let stand while you prepare the crumb crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking.

Crumb topping

3/4 cup brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Put all four ingredients in a stand mixer bowl and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs if you like.

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Measure out 2/3 cup of the crumb mix into a bowl

Add to it: ¼ cup slivered almonds, ¼ cup old fashioned oatmeal (uncooked) and ¼ tsp. cinnamon.  Mix well.

Store the rest of the crumb topping in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator until you need to top a pie with crumbs.

Pour the fruit mixture into a 1 quart glass or Pyrex baking pan sprayed with cooking oil and top with the almond crumb mixture.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 35-40 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 15 minutes before serving at room temperature. Serves four.  Would be great with vanilla ice cream. Enjoy! blueberry peach crisp in dish

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crumb recipe is out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.

 

Peach Cobbler Perfection!

Peaches in late summer: ripe peach chunks on my cereal, peach ice cream, peach pie, peach tartlets and peach cobbler.  Well, this post will be on peach cobbler and it is peachy keen!  I often make cobbler with blueberries and even sliced rhubarb.  I am guessing most any fruit might work; blackberries, raspberries, cherries, plums, nectarines and apricots come to mind.

This recipe is modified from one in Bette Hagman’s book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet and is based on a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients.  One cup is the base for an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I bet two cups dry mix will make a big 9×13 cobbler. Store the dry mix in an airtight container in the freezer to keep it fresh.

I have tried a number of cobbler recipes but nothing has been better than this one so I stick to what works for me.  If you use nectarines there is no peeling involved which makes it easy to throw together.

I always get the fruit cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven

apple muffins 007

Dry Cobbler Mix

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil

1/4 to 1/3 cup milk/buttermilk

½ tsp. vanilla

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl.

Fruit Filling

4 cups sliced ripe peeled peaches or nectarines

½ tsp. almond extract

½-2/3 cup sugar depending on how sweet you want it

2-3 tbsp. GF flour like rice flour, tapioca flour (use 3 if juicy)

½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Mix the fruit and almond extract in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top for 4-5 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Pour into a buttered 8 inch square pan, top with big blops of the cobbler topping. I have used 1/4 cup milk and that is less runny than using 1/3 cup.  Frankly it works either way. Bake immediately: at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  The top should be light brown and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes. This happens if I use more than 4 cups of fruit; slows it down, sometimes even ten extra minutes if you put 5 or so cups of fruit in it.

Let cool 7-9 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth right out of the oven!  Some people love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  Cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Note: if you use oil and almond milk then this cobbler will be dairy free.  Spray the cobbler pan with cooking oil instead of rubbing with butter. I think you can use any sort of milk you can find or even fruit juice.

Originally on my blog in August 2014.

Blueberry Cobbler Time!

Love this cobbler for how quickly it goes together plus it takes less fruit than a pie.  And it is gluten free for all of you who must avoid gluten. I honestly thought I had posted a recipe for this treat a year or two ago. Shocked to find no such recipe in my blog archives. It be blueberry season so perfect timing to post this classic dessert.

This recipe is the same basic one I posted for peach cobbler and for rhubarb cobbler in the past; it is modified from a muffin dry mix in Bette Hagman’s book, More from the Gluten-Free Gourmet and uses a flour mix that will give you 4 cups of the dry ingredients.  One cup will make an 8×8 pan of cobbler topping.  I keep the rest of my dry mix in the freezer and a pan of cobbler can be thrown together in less than 10 minutes plus baking time.  What a time saver this mix is! I make all sorts of cobblers with it.

It’s best to always get the fruit part cooking before putting the topping together so the fruit is hot and ready for the topping and can go right into the oven.

I make this blueberry cobbler most every time we go camping; put the dry cobbler mix in a baggie labeled cobbler, topping mix of sugar and flour in a separate labeled baggie.  I bring a small mixing bowl and whisk; don’t recommend mixing the cobbler cake in a baggie: it is difficult to mix it properly.  I start the fruit cooking on the camp stove and then after I mix up the cobbler topping and it’s ready to bake, I cover the pot with foil and bake it on the grill over the campfire. Takes a bit longer to bake; keep checking it every 5 minutes once it has baked 30 minutes. Make sure your pot is fire proof…

Angie’s Blueberry Cobbler

Dry Cobbler Mix use one cup for this recipe and freeze the rest

2 ¼ cups white rice flour

½ cup potato starch (not potato flour!)

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp. baking soda

4 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/3 cup sugar

Fruit Filling

4 cups fresh blueberries; rinsed and stems removed

½-2/3 cup sugar –more or less depending on sweet tooth

2 tbsp. GF flour; I use tapioca flour

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Place the fruit in a sauce pan. Stir together the sugar, cinnamon and flour and mix into the fruit.  Cook on the stove top for 5-10 minutes until it is thickened and hot.  Stir often so it doesn’t stick or burn. If you are worried it will burn, add a tbsp. of water to it and keep stirring. Pour into a buttered 8 inch square or round pan, top with big blops of the cobbler topping.

Cobbler Topping

1 cup dry baking mix

2 large eggs

2 tbsp melted butter or canola oil

¼ to 1/3 cup milk/buttermilk

½ tsp. vanilla  *optional

Mix the wet ingredients and then add to the dry mix in a big bowl.   Mix briefly: do not over-mix for best texture.  Use a big spoon to plop it right away on the hot fruit.  Bake immediately as baking soda and powder can’t stand around waiting or they lose their oomph!

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.  The top should be lightly browned and spring back when you poke it with your finger.  If it looks damp or squishy bake it 5 more minutes before removing from oven.  cobbler in dish

Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving as it will burn your mouth right out of the oven!  Some people love it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  This tasty cobbler is perfect just on its own.

Notes: I use canola oil most of the time but butter is great too. The original recipe was 1/3 cup milk but I have cut back to ¼ and I like it a bit better; less runny. I also use buttermilk for mine but you can use milk, fruit juice or even water for the liquid. Can’t say it will taste as good…but if you have to avoid dairy….

Blueberry Tartlets That Thrill!


Blueberries rule my universe right now; plentiful and sweet.  The flavor can’t be beat. My guy loves them and I have to agree; they are the tastiest and healthiest fruit for me. Haha! Seriously this is all true and I am in love with these tartlets. The crust to fruit ratio is perfect and I made them with a minimum of sugar as these ripe berries are already quite sweet. I got my fruit at Aldi’s for a great price; every grocery store has blueberries by the pint, often on sale. They are very good for your body; full of fiber, low in sugar, and full of other nutrients. They are especially you have blood sugar issues.  See http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287710.php for more information.

Tips: Try not to bake in a hot kitchen; it makes it hard to roll out dough or even make the crumb mix. If it gets above 76 degrees you should turn on the air to keep your crust from acting weird.  I had to put mine in the freezer for a bit to help it hold the desired shape.

Don’t eat these tartlets fresh from the oven; they should be cooled to just warm or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They were perfect, just like a big pie only tiny each is one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream. We had them that way the other night and that was a treat indeed.

My apologies: these pictures were taken in a hurry; hot day and there was no spare time so they are looking rustic and crumbs dot the baking pan but frankly rustic tartlets are lovely. Be as tidy as fits your needs.

Angie’s GF Blueberry Crumb Tartlets: makes 6

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

You will need 6 flat bottom 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. My pans are 4 in an attached group. I baked 4 one day and 2 the next day

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

2 1/3 cups fresh blueberries, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

6 Tbsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. quick tapioca

¼ tsp. cinnamon

Let stand while you prepare the crumb crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking. If you like things tart add a tsp or two of fresh lemon juice to the berries.

Tartlet construction: Break dough into a large ball and a small one. Roll out big ball in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in 4 set tartlet pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Cut into 4 pieces with a sharp knife. Mold the crust to fill each tartlet shape with no holes or thin spots. Do the same with the smaller ball and create 2 more tartlet crusts. If you only have one pan you can refrigerate the dough and make the two other tartlets later.  Fill each tartlet with fruit mixture to the top of the dough… after you have the crumb topping ready to go.

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs if you want that look and I did!

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 30-32 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least a half hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

blueberry tartlet 2017

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.