Thursday, July 16, 2009

Coconut Cream Pudding

This pudding is delicious by itself for a snack, with coconut, strawberries, or blueberries added, or combined with cubed, leftover vanilla cake and strawberries to make a scrumptious trifle(see "Another Successful Birthday Cake" for gluten-free, egg-free, dairy free recipe)

1 -14 oz can minus 1/4 cup coconut milk; @ 1 3/4 cups)
The 1/4 cup remaining can be refrigerated and used for smoothies, white sauce, etc.
1/4 cup cream of coconut(opt)
1/4 cup water
3 Tablespoons cornstarch + enough water to form a medium- thick paste.
(opt) drop molasses to add dimension

In small container(2 cup or so), combine cornstarch and enough water to form a paste. In saucepan over medium-high heat, heat coconut milk, cream of coconut, and water, stirring. When hot(before simmering), pour most of the liquid into the cornstarch mixture, stirring. Return to saucepan over medium-low heat, letting bubble and thicken 1-2 minutes. Cool in fridge, it will thicken more. Or enjoy warm.

For chocolate pudding, add 1/2 - 3/4 T. mini chocolate chips per 1 cup hot pudding. Stir until melted. Or, if pudding is cool, heat chocolate chips in microwave(try 30 seconds) until beginning to soften, then stir in. I use Enjoy Life Chocolate chips which are free of dairy.

(opt)You can omit the cream of coconut and add some sugar to taste instead. If you want a creamier pudding, you can add a little coconut cream(I keep small cubes of this on hand in the freezer- I'd add maybe 1-2 ice tray cubes). Note: coconut cream is not at all the same thing as cream of coconut.

For a thicker pudding, use more cornstarch. Try 4 T.

Strawberry Rhubarb Non-Dairy Shake

This creamy dessert is delicious and has a beautiful pink color. My husband who generally doesn't like rhubarb, loves this treat! It's healthy, too. The coconut milk makes it taste like it's a shake made with dairy ice cream- it's rich and flavorful. I don't follow any one recipe when I make this. I just got the idea of a rhubarb shake from a rhubarb sorbet recipe I saw(Alice Sherwood's "Allergy Cookbook.") Generally, I combine chopped, cooked and sweetened rhubarb(frozen), strawberries, coconut milk, and ice and/or water. Peaches are also good. I have used strawberry-rhubarb sauce from my freezer that I made with cinnamon and lemon juice. This is delicious to use with the coconut milk and ice. Here's a basic recipe I put together with estimations:

1 can coconut milk
2 cups cooked, sweetened to taste, and frozen rhubarb(meaning 2 cups after it is cooked down)
-while cooking, you can add 1-2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and sugar to taste
1 pint strawberries, frozen
1 qt. home bottled peaches, or frozen peaches, opt.
ice and water to desired thickness and taste

Experiment with different amounts and components. Each time I have made this, I've had people wowed and very satisfied. In the rhubarb sorbet recipe I saw from Alice Sherwood's book(Allergy-Free Cookbook), she said that people who don't like rhubarb love her sorbet! Same goes with this "shake."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Coconut Cream Popsicles

I have posted coconut ice cream recipes previously. Here is a variation that's really good: freeze coconut "ice cream" into popsicles! Make the ice cream according to the previous post, dish it into popsicle molds, and freeze. I don't have popsicle molds right now, so I used little plastic cups, partially froze the mixture, then pulled out the cups and placed plastic toddler spoons inside, filled the cracks carefully with a slight amount of water, and refroze the dessert.

You can make these extra-special by swirling in a fruit puree- it makes beautiful, delicious popsicles! I pureed some plums and sweetened the puree with sugar. I also added 1 T. orange juice concentrate to the batch of puree that I made(about 1 quart yield). It made a beautiful deep reddish-purple sauce. The extra sauce can be frozen in freezer bags or containers for future use(for small amounts, you can use baby food jars). I poured the coconut "ice cream" mixture into plastic cups, then swirled in the plum puree. These are delightful and refreshing! I don't care to buy another popsicle from the store again! : )

Coconut "Ice Cream"

My girls are loving their first experience with ice cream. Last summer I made fruit sorbets for my daughter. She loved "pink sorbet," made from strawberries. This summer I have experimented with "coconut ice cream." I think it's technically a sorbet. But I call it ice cream because it is so much like the vanilla ice cream I know.

Here are a few variations. The girls love it with Enjoy Life chocolate chips(non-dairy) and cookie crumbs(gluten-free sugar cookies) or fruit crisp crumbles(oats, oat flour, brown sugar and oil) that are stored in the freezer. Blueberries are another favorite with this dish.

Variation #1:

1 can coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut cream
2 trays ice cubes
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Blend in VitaMix. Or if using blender, add ice cubes one at a time. I haven't tried this in a regular blender. If it's too thick for your blender, you can omit ice(and add some water in its place unless you want really creamy ice cream) and then place in freezer 3-4 hours until edges firm; break up crystals with fork, refreeze again until firm. If you're freezing a liquid instead of using a high-powered blender and ice, you can dissolve the sugar and liquid together in a saucepan before freezing. I've seen recipes with instructions to dissolve sugar, and figure it helps with smoothness.

This has a delicious balance of flavor. It is a bit runny, though, with the method I've tried in the VitaMix. I might try 2 1/2 ice cube trays(though that might dilute it too much). Or I might try the method leaving out ice and simply freezing, stirring, freezing. As is, we dish it up immediately as soft-serve, store the remaining in the freezer, and the remaining is thick enough for latter use. (It does require some thaw time before enjoying again- in refrigerator or very low power in microwave). Or, we spoon it into popsicle molds(or use plastic cups and anything you can find for handles- plastic spoons, popsicle sticks if you have them). Either way my kids love this stuff!

Variation #2:

This is for those who desire more of a coconut ice milk treat- less sweet. Follow directions above, but omit coconut cream.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lemony marshmallow topping or filling

My sister developed this recipe to make a cake filling for a lemon wedding cake. She then used it as a topping(instead of frosting) for a gluten-free cake she made for my daughters and I to try. It's delicious! And a very nice change from buttercream frosting.

First, have cake baked and cool.

Prepare lemon sauce:

Heat 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1/8 tsp. salt in saucepan on stove, just before simmering. In separate bowl, add just enough water to 1 Tablespoon cornstarch to form a paste. Pour heated water/lemon mixture into cornstarch paste, stirring. Transfer back to saucepan, stirring on medium heat, about 1 minute, until mixture is transparent. Cool while making marshmallow topping.

Prepare marshmallow mixture:

Combine 1 c sugar, 1 Tablespoon gelatin(unflavored), and 1/2 c. water in saucepan. Heat and stir just until sugar is dissolved. Stire in 1/2 tsp. vanilla. Cool about 5 min. Transfer to electronic mixer-beat high speed 10 minutes.

When marshmallow mixture is ready(when mixture falls from beaters it keeps a soft shape on the mixture below), gently fold in the lemon sauce. If using lemony-marshmallow as filling, pipe buttercream frosting(can be non-dairy) around edges of single layer cake. Fill in with marshmallow mixture. Then stack next layer of cake on top. If using as a topping, see if the mixture is set up enough to stay on cake.

You may want to wait awhile for mixture to set up before "frosting" the cake. If you wait too long, it will become too thick, however. For me, I waited probably an hour, and mixture was set up enough that there were chunks in the "frosting" when I spread it on the cake. These lumps did come out, though, with enough spreading. Some of the mixture slumped at the bottom, but I scraped it off and smoothed it over. This is still an experimental recipe, but turned out looking really good on the cake, and was refreshing and delicious!

Another successful birthday cake!

For the three years that my family has needed allergy-friendly birthday cakes, we have tried a few different things. The first birthday cake I made without wheat, dairy, eggs, or nuts was grainy and dry. My daughter's second birthday cake was made of rice crispies and marshmallows. Since then, we have had kabocha squash cupcakes with cooked coconut frosting(those were delicious!), offered homemade cupcakes or something yummy for the children to have while my husband had a mini birthday cake baked from a mix in the microwave, and even had a cookie for a birthday cake(my daughter requested a sugar cookie rather than a cake).

For my husband's recent birthday, we had our first "traditional" birthday cake(as in white, yellow, or chocolate, full size) to be shared with the whole family, since my attempt 3 years ago for my daughter's first birthday. It was a vanilla cake from the magazine "Living Without," which has select recipes online. It's a good cake! Funny, the kids we made it for didn't really go for it, they were most interested in the frosting(homemade marshmallow with lemon sauce whipped in) and in the ice cream made just for them! I'll post the non-dairy ice cream recipe.

The cake was very sturdy(not crumbly, held together well), had a great texture(not grainy and not starchy/powdery!), and no off-flavor. It was a lot like a vanilla pound cake. It was more dense than the traditional white cake, like a pound cake would be. Probably because I didn't use eggs. That's okay, I'd much rather have a slightly dense cake than a grainy or starchy or off-taste cake. The flavor was basic. But plenty good with a raspberry sauce I served. The cake together consisted of the vanilla cake recipe linked below, with raspberry sauce and lemon marshmallow frosting.

Here's a link to the recipe for the cake. The recipe includes eggs, but has a substitution for eggs written below the recipe.
There are variations I'd like to try: coconut cake and lemon cake.

For the frosting, follow the "buttercream" frosting recipe with the cake(use non-dairy margarine), or try the lemon-marshmallow topping I served. Our family is delighted with this new topping. My sister created this as a filling for a wedding cake she recently made, and found that it works well for a frosting. This delicious lemony-marshallow topping is created by mixing a batch of basic marshmallows(easy to make) with lemon sauce. See my post "Lemony-Marshmallow Topping."

For the filling, puree some fruit(we used raspberries with some strawberries), sweeten if desired, and thicken. I use Instant Clear-Jel(which is modified food starch). I have to admit that I haven't verified for certain that this isn't derived from barley or wheat. My understanding, when I researched it, is that it's derived from corn. But I am not confident in this enough to warrant it for your use if you cannot have gluten. Check on this. If you cannot have instant clear-jel, you can use cornstarch to thicken. Or arrowroot if you cannot have corn, etc...

This was a great birthday cake! To decorate it, I simply used strawberries and blueberries, placed in a flower design on top of the marshmallow topping. My sister previously made a cake with this marshmallow topping and simply placed pansies from her garden on top. It was beautifully simple. She used pureed stawberries for her filling. The cake was gluten-free lemon, which had a delicious flavor. There are lots of possibilities for delicious, enjoyable, and allergy-friendly birthday cakes!