Thursday, April 29, 2010

Potluck 3/4: Going Gluten-Free

Potlucks aren't always huge affairs. Sometimes they're small groups, maybe only three couples. And they can be just as good as the large and sometimes crazy potluck parties.

Laura was celebrating going from a diet essentially free of all things good and beautiful in the world (cheese, etc), to a gluten-free only diet, so the theme was "gluten-free." As I am learning more and more, this doesn't have to be such a constraining thing. It's more of an opportunity to try new things and generally eat healthier! The dishes were chicken panang from Carlos and Lana (delicious!) a Cajun rice dish from Geoffrey ( jambalaya? whatever it was, it was delicious!) and a double-chocolate pear cake courtesy of yours truly (recipe below!). The master mixologist, Geoffrey, also prepared some perfectly balanced margaritas and cosmos.

Double Chocolate Pear Cake (Gluten Free!)
adapted from Tartelette

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 oz semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup sweet rice flour (*see note below)
1/3 cup sorghum flour (**see note below)
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 or 2 pears, ripe, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced

* I couldn't find sweet rice flour, so I used 1/3 cup minus 2 tsp brown rice flour and 2 tsp corn starch
** You can also use quinoa flour like I did, or amaranth flour. OR you can substitute 1 cup all purpose flour for the 2/3 cups gf flour in this recipe, if you want to make gluten-FULL recipe.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a loaf pan (dust with rice flour if you want).
2. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl at medium speed, until light and creamy.
3. Add eggs one at a time and beat them in at low speed.
4. Add melted chocolate and buttermilk, beating until combined after each addition.
5. Sift in the flours, cocoa, and baking powder and beat for 30 seconds (still at low). Increase the speed to medium and beat for a minute.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and place the pieces of pear on top.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes. Cake is done when the top has set, and a cake tester inserted (into cake, not pear) comes out clean.

Although it wasn't *quite* the same as a regular cake, it was still delicious, and was more crumbly and cakey than the typical flourless chocolate cake. Success!

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