Friday, June 10, 2011

Gluten-Free Fad or Treatment?

Recipe: Lemon Financiers with Blackberry Jam

Sometimes I participate on a website called Food52. It's a really great resource for home cooks, food bloggers, and anyone looking for great recipes. They also have weekly contests where users can submit recipes that fall under certain themes or use certain ingredients. For instance last week's recipe was "Your Best Street Food."

This week, however, users were asked to submit their best gluten-free recipe. Gluten-free foods are fine for someone who has celiac disease or a gluten-intolerance, but there are many people (especially those who shop at my workplace), who eat gluten-free foods as part of some fad diet, confusing gluten with carbohydrates or believing that gluten-free is healthier somehow. Those are the people that give a gluten-free diet a bad name. The overprotective parent types. The yo-yo dieters. The uninformed health nuts.

I have no reason to eat gluten-free. But I have friends who cannot digest it. Who cannot eat cookies, or beer, or delicious yeasty breads without feeling ill. So as a cook, I can provide them delicious foods that do not contain anything that's going to make them sick. Not food that taste like cardboard. Or food that looks like cardboard for that matter.

I submitted a recipe for financiers to the contest. Financiers are delicious little almond teacakes, traditionally a rectangle shape, meant to look like little bars of gold. They are perfect snacks for tea parties or other dainty eating, but they also make great after work (or school) treats. This recipe is particularly light, moist, chewy and flavorful a perfect treat to make for your gluten-free friends.

Lemon Financiers with Blackberry Jam

1/3 cup rice flour
1/3 cup almond flour
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
3 egg whites
4 ounces butter, cut into cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of one lemon

1. Preheat oven to 340.
2. Sift together rice flour, almond flour, and confectioner's sugar. Place into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. Froth egg whites with a whisk and place in the center of the well.
3. Heat a saute pan over high heat. Add butter and turn into beurre noisette. Allow the butter to melt and come to a boil. Constantly move the pan around until the milk solids have turned a golden brown color. Remove from heat and cool slightly before adding to the center of the well. Add vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk dough together to form a smooth paste.
4. Butter a rectangular or boat shaped tartlet mold (I used a round one, so whatever you have around the house is fine. Place on a baking sheet. Fill tart molds about 3/4 of the way full, using a portion scoop or a tablespoon.
5. Place in oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the paste has set. Remove from mold and let cool on a wire rack.
6. Once financiers have cooled, place jam (recipe to follow) in a piping bag using the smallest tip. Place tip into bottom of financier and pipe a small amount of jam into each cake, about 1/2 teaspoon. Garnish cakes with more confectioner's sugar. Cakes are best eaten the day of.

For the Jam:
1 pt. blackberries
Zest and juice of one lemon
3 thyme sprigs
1/4 cup honey

1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for 20 to 25 minutes or until the blackberries have softened and the juice has thickened.
2. Remove thyme sprigs and place the jam in a food processor or blend with an immersion blender until smooth.
3. Place in an uncovered bowl until ready to use.


  1. I want more.... nom nom nom

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