Sunday, December 20, 2009

GLUTEN FREE VEGETARIAN INGREDIENT OF THE DAY: CORNSTARCH


I grew up watching my mother use cornstarch to thicken sauces for Chinese food she'd prepare. She'd remove a bit of the sauce from the pan, combine it slowly with some cornstarch and then add the mixture to the thin gravy, heating and stirring until desired thickness was reached. It wasn't until I began eating gluten free that I used cornstarch for baking. It adds a lightness to a flour mix which contains heavier, higher protein flours like teff or brown rice, which is what it does in the following recipe.

The pumpkin pie in these photos is actually a tiny individual pumpkin tart (see toothpick for scale in slide show), but I can't see why it wouldn't work as well in a normal-sized pie. The crust was delicious and so was the filling. Now traditional pumpkin pie can be a gluten free crowd pleaser. With its golden crust, garnish of stewed cranberry and shredded coconut, it looks as good as it tastes.


Filling:

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp cloves

3/4 c sugar

2 eggs

2 cups pumpkin

12 oz evaporated milk

Mix all dry ingredients. Mix all wet ingredients. Combine.

Crust:

1 cup brown rice flour ground in coffee grinder

1/2 cup cornstarch

1/2 cup white rice flour

1 tsp xanthan gum

1 1/2 tsp salt

1/4 c cold milk

1/2 c oil

Mix dry ingredients. Add oil. Add milk. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour minimum. Roll out between two sheets of wax paper and/or press into 9" pie plate. Fill with pumpkin. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then 375 for 45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted at center comes out clean. Also makes five 4 inch tarts (as shown in photos). Cool on rack.

Garnish:

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup water

 1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

Place cranberries, water and sugar in small saucepan. Boil until liquid is absorbed. Sprinkle pie with coconut. Place cranberries around edge of pie. 

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