Alternative Ingredients For Making Crusts

Hand, apron, flour - Alternative Ingredients For Making Crusts

A recipe that requires a crust, has an important function, as it is the foundation to countless culinary and pastry dishes. The crust is a crucial structural aspect of the particular recipe you may be preparing. Crusts impart texture, either crispy, crunchy, or flaky depending on how you prepare the crust.

chicken pot pieCan you imagine making a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, or pot pie devoid of a crust? And how would you eat a pizza without a crust? We can’t imagine. Maybe you would have a tomato-pepperoni soup?

Crusts are important to a tart, shortbread, pie, quiche, pot pie, or pizza.

What are some alternative ingredients to making these crusts?

We know that using cold butter in a pie crust when done right, can make for a flaky crust.

Did you know that coconut oil be an alternative to butter, doing the same thing? It is still a saturated fat like butter, but a shorter chain amino fatty acid, and has some extra nutrients over butter, like minerals, and has antibacterial substances.

Coconut Oil Pie Crust

This crust using coconut oil makes a delicious, flaky pastry just as well as butter.

3/4 cup solid coconut oil

2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

3 – 4 tablespoons ice cold water

Cut the coconut oil into the flour (the same you would do with cold cubed butter) and salt with pastry blender or two knives. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix well.

Roll out on floured board. Pastry is very tender and may be partially rolled around rolling pin for ease of picking up to place in pie pan (recipe from: Coconut Recipes).

How about this alternative for a quiche, rice crust.

Rice Crust
A rice crust is a great way to use up leftover rice, explains Erin McDowell at Food52. She says it’s an excellent option for savory pies, and this crust works especially well for quiches.

a woman making a rice crust in a pie dish

Image Credit: Food52

Erin explains to make a rice crust you simply mix cooled leftover steamed rice with egg whites and grated cheese, and press the mixture into a pie plate.

Par-bake the crust to help it set before filling and baking it. Watch your crust carefully to see how it browns, as you may need to lower the temperature from 425 degrees to 375 degrees if it browns too much in the early stages of baking.

How about this alternative for a pizza crust. It’s gluten-free and uses no yeast. The recipe idea is from – She Knows.

At She Knows, they say that in this recipe they used both almond and coconut flours, and the result was anything but boring. The pizza crust turned out soft, fluffy and delicious.

Gluten-Free Pizza Dough

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

pizza on a table with a pizza cutter

Image credit: She Knows

1/2 cup tapioca flour (plus more for rolling the dough)

1 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp sea salt

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup almond milk (warmed plain, or other nondairy milk)

2 whole large eggs (organic)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

To a large mixing bowl, add the almond flour, coconut flour, tapicoca flour, garlic powder and salt.

To the flour mixture, add the olive oil, the warmed nondairy milk and the eggs. Mix very well until the dough is soft and fluffy.

Turn the dough out onto a large surface lightly dusted with extra tapioca flour.

Gently knead the dough until it is no longer sticky and can be rolled out.

Roll the dough out into the desired thickness but being careful to not make it too thin (or it will break).

Bake the pizza dough for about 15 minutes, until it’s firm and slightly golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and set aside until ready to prepare your pizza.

A pizza crust traditionally is dough, but since the food revaluation started, people like yourself are looking for healthy alternatives to pizza crust. The pizza crust replacement (made from flour) is vegetable crusts, which are becoming more popular, and eating a pizza like this is a great way to incorporate more vegetables into your diet.

How about this wonderful and tasty alternative for a shortbread or tart crust.

Peach and Cardamom Bakwell Tart

For the almond shortcrust pastry

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Peach and Cardamom Tart - Food Network uk

                                           Image credit: Food Network U.K.

1/4 cup almond flour

1/3 salted butter, frozen and grated

1 tbsp sugar

2 drops almond essence

1/4 teapoon organic cornflour

1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

1-2 tablespoons ice-cold water

Extra flour to roll the pastry

For the peach jam filling

1 ripe peach

1/2 cup sugar

For the almond cake filling

1/4 cup self-raising flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup almond flour

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup milk, full fat

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1-2 drops almond essence

1-2 ripe peaches, sliced to decorate

For the cardamom mascarpone cream

8 ounces mascarpone cheese

2 tablespoons icing sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom seeds

Tips For a Great Pie Crust

These are some reminders to making a great pie crust.

Chilling the dough after preparing it makes it easier to roll out and much less likely to stick. It also resolidifies the shortening, butter or coconut oil to ensure flakiness.

parchment and dried beans placed over crustWhen rolling out the chilled dough, roll from the center to the outside edge. Use just enough flour on the rolling surface and rolling pin to keep the dough form sticking.

To bake a “blind” a raw dough crust, first chill it for 20 minutes and then fit a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper on the inside surface. Prick both the crust and the foil or paper, to allow steam to escape and keep the crust from developing a bubble.

Fill the foil with baker weights, or dried beans to help the crust keep its shape while it blind bakes (view our post here: Blind Baking).

To store up some labor in the freezer, Make several pie shells at a time and freeze them in airtight plastic bags. They’ll keep for 6 to 8 months.

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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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Gluten-Free Creamy Pesto Fettuccine

Gluten Free Creamy Pesto Fettuccine

I like going to the Kona Grill here in town. They make the best Apple Walnut Bread Pudding and a wonderful Macadamia Chicken Salad. My favorite though is their Basil Pesto Linguine. I did adventure into the kitchen and used my cooking skills to try and mimic the dish (I posted it here: Basil Pesto Linguine). It came out pretty good, though it still needed something. So back to Kona Grill I went.

This time I was fortunate, as the manger came by my table and asked how our food was. I told her that I had tried my hand at making this dish, but it still needed something. She told me the pesto sauce contained chipotle peppers in adobo sauce as well. Then she said that is all she could say. But for me that was enough.

Play the video to get a glimpse at the finished dish. Though we did forget to put the small cherry tomatoes, we did even miss them, As the recipe had the same flavor as the Kona Grill. This time though I used gluten free fettuccine pasta.

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe.

16 ounces of cooked gluten free Fettuccine

1 lb. of chicken breasts, about 2, skinless and boneless

2 Andouille sausage links, about ½ pound

Can of Chipotle Peppers in Adobe Sauce½ cup fresh basil pesto (link here for recipe – History of Pesto Sauce)

1 teaspoon chipotle peppers in adobo sauce

1/3 cup heavy cream

15 cherry tomatoes (about), sliced in half to measure 1 cup (optional)

Cook gluten free fettuccine according to package instructions.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Meantime, while chicken is a little frozen, slice chicken breasts horizontally 2 to 3 times, depending on thickness of the breast meat. Cut slices into 1-inch chunks. Place cut chicken onto a baking sheet and place in heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is oblique in color and no longer pink.

Next add pesto to a small bowl and mix in adobo sauce and heavy cream, and set aside.

Cooked chciken and andouille sausage with creamy pesto

Place a large frying pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Next slice links down the middle and remove meat from casings and place into pan and start moving meat around with a spatula, so meat falls apart into small chunks.

Now add cooked chicken, and mix in with sausage. Next add pesto – chipotle sauce and mix in.

Prepared Gluten Free Creamy Pesto Fettuccini in a large ceramic coated  pan

Next add cook gluten free pasta, and mix till well incorporated.

Gluten Free Creamy Pesto FettuccinePlace pasta onto a serving platter, then plate and serve.

 

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Gluten-Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

You have no doubt heard of people who eat a gluten free diet. A gluten free diet excludes gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, like barley and rye. Gluten causes health problems in those who suffer with Celiac disease (CD) and in some cases those who may have allergies to wheat.

Some have argued we need carbohydrates and wheat needs to be eaten. Also others have voiced that eating Gluten free is just a fade diet. Are these statements true? We would say no.

Making the choice to take gluten out of your diet is for health reasons, and it has nothing to do with losing weight, as most fade diets proclaim. Secondly, you can obtain the same amount of carbohydrates as you would in wheat products as you can in eating fruits and vegetables.

De Boles Gluten Free  pasta for - Penne with Caponata SauceThe fact is most substitutions used for wheat do have some carbohydrates in them. Such as the product we chose to prepare are featured recipe.

This product De Boles is not exclusive to just using white or brown rice flour or corn flour, no but rather it uses brown rice flour with whole grain quinoa flour and ground flax seed flour, as well as the rice bran.

This gluten free product has 4 servings with 41 grams of carbohydrates per serving. As there is whole grains, and bran, it will not raise blood sugar levels.

Now for our featured all organic recipe: Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce and here is what you will need.

1 red onion

1 red sweet pepper

1 yellow sweet pepper

3 small purple carrots

2 zucchini

1 medium egg plant

2 cloves garlic, minced

14 ounce can roasted tomatoes

1 teaspoon dried oregano

3 – 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preapred vegtables for - Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Cut all the vegetables into chunky dices, but mince the garlic.

Sauting carrots, onions and garlic in olve oil

In a large skillet, saute oil, onions, garlic and carrots for 3 minutes. Next add the eggplant and peppers, and cook 3 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Now add the zucchini and cook 3 minutes more, and again stir frequently.

Adding roasted tomatoes to suateed vegetablesAdd roasted tomatoes….

adding oregano

Add the oregano and stir in, till well incorporated. Let simmer for 10 minutes.

Cooked pasta for - Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

Mean while, cook the gluten free pasta according to package instructions. Drain do not rinse. By this time the vegetables should have completed the 10 minutes of simmering.

Gluten Free Penne with Caponata Sauce

In a large serving bowl mix vegetables and pasta together. Plate and serve with a favorite meat, such as fresh ground turkey basil and feta sausages, from the Whole Foods Market. Enjoy!!

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Green Curry Chicken

Green Curry Chicken

Most curry dishes use a curry paste which is a pureed blend of beautiful smelling or aromatic spices, herbs, and vegetables. It is widely used as an ingredient in the cuisines of many cultures to make curries, stews, and other dishes. Most of the time though, Indian food comes to mind when you talk about curry. There are many different types of curry pastes, and each country’s blend has a distinct flavor.

The common spices used are cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, coriander, cardamon, cumin, fenugreek, fennel, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and onion. The base ingredient to start a curry paste is turmeric, which makes a yellow curry. Red pepper is added to make a red curry, and cilantro is added to make a green curry paste.

Using all of these ingredients makes for a healthy meal. To learn more about the healthy side of these culinary spices link here – Spice and Herbs Benefits -.

Our featured recipe uses green curry, and here is what you will need.

1 lb. rice noodles, cooked

1 pound (1-inch) cubed chicken breast tenders

½ lb. cut green beans, steamed

2 cups tricolor pre-chopped bell pepper mix

Oils to Use for Healthy Cooking - avocado oil or coconut oil2 to 3 teaspoons green curry paste

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk, divided

Cooking oil, avocado oil or coconut oil ————->

Steam green beans first, about 5 minutes, then remove steaming basket and use boiling water to cook rice noodles according to package directions. Set both aside when done. Rinse rice noodles when cooked.

 

Chicken cooking in coconut oil and green curry sauce - Green Curry ChickenHeat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking oil. Add chicken to pan and sauté 4 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned. Stir in curry paste and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.

Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry Chicken

Stir in 1 cup coconut milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 4 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring occasionally.

Stir in bell pepper mix, and remaining coconut milk. Cook 3 minutes or until peppers are tender. Add steamed green beans and mix in. Add ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (optional).

showing the details of the Meat and Vegetable Mix for Green curry ChickenThere are 3 rules to a good meal. Besides flavor and smell, can you SEE what else makes a good meal appealing? Leave a comment below to let us know if you can guess the third rule of a good meal.

Green Curry ChickenPlate the rice noodles and top with Green Curry Chicken. If you wish top that with cilantro or with fresh basil as we did here. If you find the rice noodles to sticky, just take a plate one serving at a time and run warm water over it. Shake it dry and plate it. Enjoy!!

 

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Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin CheesecakeSome may wonder what this is all about calling a cheesecake gluten-free. It is referred to as gluten-free because of the crust, as it is prepared  without gluten.

A graham crackers and gingersnap cookies are used in the crust and both contain no gluten.

If you would like to read about the history of cheesecake, and the battle over if it is truly a cake or not, read our article titled Thank the Greeks for Cheesecake.

The article also offers another way to prepare a cheesecake crust gluten-free, using almonds, flaxseed, and oats (make sure the oats are certified gluten-free). It also offers step-by-step instructions on making cheesecake.

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

gluten free ingredients for a cheesecake crust10 gluten-free gingersnap cookies, crushed to flour (makes about 3/4 cup)

3/4 cup gluten-free graham cracker flour

1/4 cup sugar

8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

adding and forming cheesecake crust to the bottom of a springform panIn a medium mixing bowl combine flours, and sugar. Add melted butter, and mix in well.

Prepare a springform pan with parchment paper, and place crust in the center and spread the crust out evenly, touching all sides of the springform pan ring. Bake  in oven for 8 minutes. Place on a rack to cool.

The cheesecake ingredients are:

2- 8 oz. cream cheese, soft

1- 14.5 oz. can organic pumpkin

1 cup Greek yogurt

3 eggs, large

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. pie spice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

processing cream cheese and sugarIn a processor place the cream cheese, sugar and process until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

adding pie spice and vanillaAdd the yogurt, pie spice, vanilla extract, and salt and process together until well mixed. Next add pumpkin and mix in till well incorporated.

Add eggs one at a time, processing after each addition, but do not over mix.

Pour mixture over cooled crust.

Bake cheesecake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until center is set.

For best results fill a roasting pan to ½ inch from top with hot water. Place the roasting pan on bottom rack and place spring-form pan on top rack directly over roasting pan.

Do not open oven at all until 55 minutes has past. Turn off the oven and jar the oven door for one hour more. Remove cheesecake and cool 30 minutes on a rack, run a knife between cake and sides of pan to loosen as it cools. Place into refrigerator for up to 24 hours but no less than 4 hours.

Gluten Free Pumpkin CheesecakePlate and enjoy your gluten-free cheesecake topped with whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.

Enjoy a No-Bake Peaches & Cream Cheesecake made with a shortbread crust.

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Gluten-Free Tropical Carrot Cake

Gluten free Tropical Carrot Cake - Dessert Bread and CupcakesGluten is a vital protein to wheat. But many people without knowing it are allergic to it.

Those who are bothered by gluten can suffer from digestive problems, skin problems, and even depression, too name a few.

There are alternative flours that do not contain gluten, and if you make them a part of your diet, they could help to improve your health.

Gluten-free Tropical Carrot Cake

flours used for Gluten Free Tropical Carrot CakeFirst preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

As shown in the image above, mix the potato starch and both flours in a large bowl with the following ingredients. mixed dry ingredients for Gluten free Tropical Carrot CakeThere is no need to sift the dry ingredients. When mixed together set bowl aside:

1/2 tsp powdered ginger root

1 tsp sea salt

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp Xanthan Gum

Xanthan gum can be a little spendy so you can substitute it for any starch, like arrow root, corn, or tapioca.

The xanthan gum or any one of these starches are needed to replace the gluten. The starch or xanthan gum holds the flours together.


The Use Of Xanthan Gum In Gluten-free Baking Explain Here – Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread


coating a glass baking pan with butter and sugarNext, coat a 7 x 4 inch glass baking pan with butter and sugar, set aside.

mixing wet ingredients for Gluten Free Tropical Carrot CakeNext, in a large bowl mix together eggs, sugars, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Add flour mixture slowly until just blended. With a large spatula, stir in carrots, pineapple, coconut, and nuts.

Pour batter into baking pan ½ inch from top. Any extra batter can be used to make cupcakes (it should make 7).

Bake 45-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Bake cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Remove cake from pan.

Gluten free Tropical Carrot Cake - Dessert Bread and Cupcakes

For the frosting combine 1/3 cup cream cheese, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons almond milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Beat together until smooth. Frost cake when completely cooled.

Save aside a small amount of frosting and mix half  with food grade orange coloring and the other half with food grade green coloring.

Add frosting to a cake piper and pipe onto cake to form carrots and leaves with respective colors.

Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake - plattedWhen ready to enjoy your gluten free dessert bread, plate and serve.

 

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