Sunday, June 21, 2009

Strawberry Rhubarb Coffee Cake (Gluten-Free)

It began with the farmer's market.
My good friend Leanne and I had decided to make brunch this weekend, which again posed the question, "what should I make?". For some reason I have been dreaming of coffee cake and had it in my head that regardless of what we made, I would also make a blueberry coffee cake. We settled on a menu of a goat cheese vegetarian fritatta, gluten-free coffee cake, and rosemary potatoes. On Saturday, I ventured to the Division street farmer's market (despite the extreme heat) in search of fresh veggies and the blueberries to put into my cake. I did find plenty of onion and tomato for the fritatta but failed to find any sort of fruit besides strawberries. This got me thinking. What if I made a coffee cake with strawberries? Better yet, what if I made a strawberry rhubarb coffee cake? After trying various varietals of fresh michigan strawberries, I bought a quart, and also purchased some freshly cut rhubarb. I kept passing the various stalls gleaming with liquid gold which shone in the sun, calling me from a jar shaped like a bear. Honey. I was almost out of honey and figured fresh organic honey would be better than anything I could buy at the store. I tried four different varieties of honey before setting on my favorite - wildflower honey. 

Upon arriving home, I figured I ought to put my leftover buttermilk to work in the coffee cake. This had me searching for a good buttermilk strawberry rhubarb coffee cake recipe - which were a bit more abundant than one might expect. Unfortunately most of them just had chopped up rhubarb thrown into the mix, and I had more of layered cake in mind. Also, none were gluten-free. So as usual, I took pieces from various recipes for amounts and such, and then created my own gluten-free modified recipe (which I ended up changing quite a bit to where it d
id not resemble any recipe that I had looked at, but one could say it is loosely based off of the fruit coffee cake in the better homes and gardens cookbook). The result? Absolute delight. A sweet yet tart filling encompassed by a moist cake and delicate crumb topping. Gorgeous. Delicious.

2 c. chopped fresh rhubarb
2 c. whole fresh strawberries (halved if they are the large storebought-kind)
1/2 c. water
1/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. honey
4 Tbs. cornstarch

3 c. gluten-free flour
(I used: 1c. tapioca starch, 1/2c. potato starch, 1/4c. arrowroot starch, 1/4c. white rice flour, 1/2c.bob's red mill baking blend (sorghum and garfava flour), 1/4c. orgran gluten substitute, 1/4c. almond meal)
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 c. unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 beaten eggs
1 c. low-fat buttermilk
1.5 tsp vanilla

1/4 c. almond meal
1/4 c. gluten-free flour (I used half tapioca half sorghum)
1/2 c. sugar
4 Tbsp. butter, cut into chunks

preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For filling, in a medium saucepan, combine rhubarb and water. Bring to boiling. Add strawberries. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, about 5 minutes or until fruit is tender. Combine the 1/4c. sugar, 1/4c. honey, and cornstarch; stir into the fruit. Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir 2 minutes more; set filling aside.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the 1/2c. butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and set aside.

In another bowl, combine egg, buttermilk, and vanilla and whisk. Add the egg mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Using a wooden spoon, stir just until moistened (batter will be very sticky and a bit lumpy). Spread half of the batter into an ungreased 9 or 10 inch springform pan (or 9x12 baking pan). Spread filling over batter. Drop remaining batter in small mounds onto filling. 

In a small bowl stir together the 1/2 c. flour and 1/2 c. sugar. Cut in the 2 tbs. butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over coffee cake. 

If using a springform pan, place a baking sheet beneath the pan, otherwise, place in oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, until slightly golden brown. Cool completely. (Do not remove springform pan side from cake until cake is ENTIRELY cooled. Run a knife along the edge to remove the side of the pan to release the cake). Sprinkle a small amount of powdered sugar on the top of the cake for a picture perfect effect.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Lemon Poppyseed Scones (Gluten-free, of course!)

It's been a while...
I'm not sure who concocted the interesting combination of lemon and poppyseed. Subtle citrus notes combine with a delicate crunch, all encompassed in a slightly sweet pastry. Who knew it would be so delectable? 

Each Friday at my job, one employee must bring in breakfast for all of the other employees. This is known as "creative breakfast," though many people see it as more of a chore rather than a delight. I have built up a reputation for bringing in an excellent breakfast, which poses issues when it is your 5th or 6th time. Each time, if I don't out-do the last time, I secretly feel as if I have let someone down - even if it is just myself. Well, this Friday, I didn't have much time so I decided I would make some simple, home-baked, gluten free pastries. I thought for a while and after exhausting a few options, I remembered giving my sister a scone recipe when she used to bring in breakfast for her coworkers. Then I immediately thought of lemon poppyseed scones, because, for a while, that was the only kind I liked. Thus the idea was born. Also, I had not ventured into making gluten free scones before, and I felt up to the challenge. Even more so, I decided I was going to make home-made gluten-free cinnamon rolls. These were a hit at breakfast, with no one even missing the gluten. I didn't have a chance to photograph these, but I'm thinking I might bake another batch sometime soon.

  • 3 cups gluten-free flour (I used 1/4c. arrowroot starch, 3/4c. tapioca starch, 3/4c. potato starch, 1/4c. sorghum flour, 1/2c. bob's red mill all purpose gluten-free flour, and 1/2c. white rice flour)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 4 tsp lemon zest, plus 1tsp for glaze
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice + 2 tbsp. for glaze
  • 1/3 cup (or more) buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar for glaze

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Position rack in top third of oven. Mix flour, 1 c. sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, xanthan gum, lemon zest, and salt with a whisk (by hand) in a large electric mixer bowl. Add butter and cut in using a pastry blender or two knives. Whisk egg and lemon juice in a medium bowl to blend. Add to flour mixture. Place bowl onto stand mixer and blend on low speed just until moist clumps form. Add 1/3 c. buttermilk, mixing just until the dough comes together, adding more buttermilk if the dough seems dry. Gather dough into a ball. Flatten into an 8-inch round and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer to a baking sheet. Brush with milk.

Mix powdered sugar, 2 tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. lemon zest in a small bowl. set aside.

Bake until scones are golden brown and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. Drizzle glaze over top of scones.