Tuesday, March 30, 2010

unraveling the mystery of why rice flour always tastes healthy

Most of the gfree cookbooks out there rely heavily on rice flour. It is good for you and usually works well in flour blends designed for gfree baking. One such cookbook that I recently discovered, Flying Apron's baking book uses it in the majority of recipes. It is a wicked awesome cookbook, and everything I've made to date comes out perfect! However, it does beg the question of why does rice flour always taste healthy? Probably because it is. And baking with oils that have neutral tastes or shortening(which has no taste) instead of butter lets the taste of rice shine through. But other gfree flours are good for us (in varying degrees), but they don't taste healthy like rice four tastes healthy. Huh. Maybe my mouth is just weird. So far my favorite recipe from Flying Apron's book is Peach &Walnut Tart using her almond pie crust. The almonds almost distract you from the healthy rice taste and make this crust super easy to work with, albeit almost instantaneously crumbling sandiness upon being baked. But you will scoop up the crust with your fingers, I promise. It is that tasty. This time I made it was more just peach tart, as it was snowing and I ran out of walnuts and wasn't going to the store. So the only tinkering with this recipe was due to what I had on hand in my pantry. This recipe is just sooo amazing. Although, the crust does brown super fast....there might be updates later. Also, I submitted this to Slightly Indulgent Tuesday.

Peach &Walnut Tart

Single crust:
1 1/4 cups brown rice flour
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup plus 3 Tablespoons palm oil (I was out and used coconut and it worked fine)
3 tablespoons honey
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 tablespoon of cold water

Combine rice flour, almond meal, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together and set aside. In bowl of standing mixer, mix the palm oil til softened, about one minute. With the mixer on low speed, add the honey, almond extract and water and mix til soft dough has formed, about 5 minutes. If dough is dry, add 1 additional tablespoon of cold water til dough is smooth.

Take a moment to preheat your oven to 375 degreesF. If you have a pizza stone, throw it on the bottom rack.

Slice off a 13 inch sheet of parchement paper. Dust with rice flour. Place dough onto parchment and sprinkle with more brown rice flour. Roll dough into an 11 inch disc, or there abouts. If you are planning on making this in a pie plate, then be more exact about it. I used a 10 inch tart pan, which is easier to cheat with, since there is no fiddling about with a decorative edge. Now, when you have your circle of dough, place your tart pan/pie plate, inverted, over the middle of the dough. Now slide your hand under the parchment, and flip the dough into the pan. Remove parchment,and press dough into place. Any tears that ocur can be fixed by gently pressing the dough back together. It is miracle dough, I swear.

Now we are going to par bake the crust for 15 minutes. You don't need pie weights or any other farrago that we are used to in dealing with gluten crusts. It will be perfect, especially on the stone.

Now the filling:
4 peaches, pitted and sliced into thin wedges. (or 1 bag of frozen. It was snowing here in Colorado when I made this, so I cheated. Cascade Farm has yummy organic frozen stuffs.)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons arrowroot
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons brandy or freshly squeezed lemon juice (frozen peaches, so used the brandy)
1/2 cup ground walnuts. (didn't have any, and it was snowing, so made w/o, but thought you would like the actual option)

In large bowl combine peaches, cinnamon, arrowroot and a pinch of salt. Mix gently til peaches are coated. Add maple syrup and brandy and toss gently; you want the arrowroot and syrup distributed evenly, no globs, but you don't want the peaches to start breaking down. (which isn't a problem if you cheat with frozen-not reccomending, mind you, just stating facts)
Arrange coated peaches in concentric circles on the par baked crust, filling the tart pan snugly. Pour any remaining liquid over the top of the peaches.
Bake on the bottom rack of the oven until filling is set and peaches cooked through, about 45 minutes. Check tart halfway through; if it is browning too quickly cover with foil. (or if, like me, you were watching a particularly intense movie and didn't check, you will just have brown crust.) Cool slightly before serving. We served with a mango sorbet.

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