Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pie Crust

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I am definitely having end-of-summer blues! It has been an amazing summer here in Connecticut and it is tough to believe it has just about ended. Lucky for me, pie season is right around the corner. With the days getting (slightly) cooler and a freezer full of blueberries, I decided to buckle down and create an incredible pie dough that was worth its weight in the gluten-free community.

For those of you who know what a challenge that is, worry no longer! Make this recipe and you will impress even the gluten-loving in your life! I advise two tricks to this delicate dough; first get the right flour. While moseying down the organics aisles, I discovered that Bobs Red Mill has a new 1 for 1 flour. Let me be the first to tell you, it is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Use it! Second, and this is a given for most bakers, do not over work the dough. The more crumbly, the better.

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Gluten Free Pie Dough: 

2 1/4 c Bobs Red Mill Flour

1 T Sugar

1 c Organic, All Natural Shortening

1 T Apple Cider Vinegar

1 Pinch Salt

Ice Water

Dash of Nutmeg

Almond Milk (for “egg wash”)

Sugar for Top

For the Inside:

4 c Blueberries

1.5 c Sugar

1 T Lemon Zest

2 T Lemon Juice

2 T Cornstarch

For the crust, combine all dry ingredients. Add the shortening then flake and rub until the dough is crumbly. Add three tablespoons of the ice water mixed with the vinegar a little at a time, until barely combined. Form into a disk and chill for an hour. Halve and roll out the dough between two pieces of parchment. If the dough becomes sticky, pop it in the freezer for a minute to chill. Once rolled out, put the top in the freezer, lying flat. “Butter” and sugar the pie dish, put the bottom piece in, and place in freezer. Now, start the filling. Thaw blueberries a little, and combine all ingredients. Put in middle of pie and put the top on. Crimp together the top and bottom. Wash the top with the almond milk, and sugar the top. Make cut outs if desired, or just make a few slits.

Preheat the oven to 350 F and put the pie in the freezer until the oven is ready. Place a piece of foil down to catch any blueberry juices bubbling over. Put the pie in and bake until top is golden and juices are bubbling; about 1.5 hours. Cool for at least four hours and enjoy! This delicate pie tastes amazing with a coconut milk ice cream.
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Lemon Tart with Salted Pecan Crust

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Spring emits feelings of lightness; airy, warm days that bring flowers to our garden and happiness in our lives. Citrus season is here, so in that honor I have whipped up a very easy, wholesome lemon tart. This tart has an incredible nut crust that adds a salty crunch to the music. In the curd, I used Eureka lemons. They are notorious for being extra juicy and tart; exactly what I needed to contrast the crust. The curd is subtle in sweetness, so as to not be overbearing. I find that a lot of lemon curds seem to taste like sweetened custard. Being a culinarian, I like my sweets to have a luscious texture and sharp flavor a.k.a mouth confetti. Every sweet treat should be a cause for internal celebration!

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Lemon Tart:

1/2 c Eureka lemon juice

1/2 Lemon Zested

1/4 c Coconut sugar

6 T Earth Balance

3 Egg Yolks + 2 Whole Eggs

1/4 t cornstarch (or arrowroot)

Crust:

1 c pecans

1/4 c hazelnuts

3 T raw honey, warmed (or maple syrup)

1 t sea salt

1 dash cinnamon

1.5 c olive oil

Grind the pecans and hazelnuts. Add in the remaining ingredients and “rub” the crust together like you would a biscuit dough. If  it is too dry, add more olive oil until it can stick together. Press into the bottom of your tart shell and bake in the oven at 350 until slightly golden, about 10 minutes. Remove.

To make the curd, whisk the sugar, eggs and starch in a pot. I recommend making a slurry with the cornstarch, or sifting it on-top of your wet ingredients before whisking it in to prevent lumps. Once combined, add the lemon. Whisk constantly until it is thick and creamy. Once it starts to resemble a freshly made pudding, remove from heat and whisk in the earth balance. If you wait until it gets too set (too thick) you will overcook the curd. You should be able to coat the back of a spoon with it before removing it from heat. Strain it if you notice it has some lumps, or if you are in pursuit of curd perfection. Pour filling into tart shell. Pop back into the oven and allow the curd to set. About 20 mins.

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Better than Cinnamon Buns

Want to try something new for your next brunching soirée? Have to impress the in-laws dropping in this memorial day weekend? Give these a try, they won’t disappoint.

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These pull-apart cinnamon buns came from an idea that I saw a pastry chef doing with croissants. These are similar to monkey bread, but have hundreds of flaky layers and bursts of sticky butter….can you hear the yums yet?

Pull-Apart Cinnamon Buns: Makes 18 medium size buns

Ingredients:

1 c Whole Milk

2 env Active Dry Yeast

1 t Sugar

12 oz Butter

1 t Salt

2 Eggs

4 1/4 c AP Flour

11/2 c Dark Brown Sugar

1T +1t Cinnamon

Icing:

1 c Confectioners Sugar, Sifted

2 T Milk

1 t Cinnamon

Heat milk in a pot, or microwave, til it is about body temperature. Sprinkle in the yeast and teaspoon of sugar, then gently stir. Allow yeast to develop for about five minutes so that it is foamy.

ImageBeat 4 ounces of butter, 1/2 a cup of the brown sugar, and salt with a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add in eggs and beat until combined. Slowly add in 2 cups of flour. Switch to a dough hook, add in the milk and yeast and slowly add in the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl every so often.

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ImageOnce the dough is finished, scrape it into a buttered bowl, covered, and put in a warm place to proof. I recommend heating your oven to 200℉, then shut it off and put your dough there to proof.

After your dough proofs, divide it into fourths and roll out each section to 1/4 inch thick on a floured surface. Stack each layer on a sheet pan with parchment paper or oiled plastic wrap in between. Freeze the layers for 10-15 minutes.

ImageMeanwhile, cream the remaining butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon together. Take out the layers and coat each with a fourth of the butter mixture. Roll the layers up as if you were making cinnamon rolls and place in the freezer for 20 minutes.

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ImageCut the rolled up layers into 1/4 inch pieces and roll away! Put 4-5 balls into each lined muffin tin. The dough will double in size so do not overfill them. I made the mistake of doing that the first time around. Cover the tin and allow to proof for another hour.

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ImageImageOnce the dough proofs, pre-heat the oven to 350℉. Make an egg wash with one egg, a 1/4 cup of milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Egg wash all of the buns, sprinkle a touch of salt on each then pop them in the oven. Once they are golden brown on top they are done! About 20-30 minutes depending on how large the muffin tins are.

Drizzle with icing and Devour!

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The Most Important

Breakfast; oh, how I love it. It truly is a great part of the day.

Sunday breakfast has always been a big deal in my family. Every Sunday we all gather into the kitchen, the kids pile ontop of my mom on the couch to watch cartoons and news while me and my dad whip something up. We always have french toast, chocolate chip and dried cranberry pancakes, waffles, locally made sausages and uncured bacon and, my favorite, eggs.

He makes the best eggs! Poached, over-easy, omelets with veggies from our garden. He knows his way around a fry pan. I definitely gained an appreciation of how delicious they can be from him. I just anticipate our breakfasts so much sometimes. Always think of great new recipes to try, new ingredients to use. We have a lot of fun with it.

Sometimes even my mom gets involved; though it’s usually just my dad who makes breakfast. Once in awhile she’ll wake up really early and make morning glory muffins or her famed pudding rolls. They are very similar to monkey bread, but bigger and with pudding baked into them!

I always whip out the espresso machine too and practice my latte art. As italians, we all love our espresso drinks. I have yet to get the technique down, but it’s a lot of fun and my mom appreciates a great latte drink regardless.

If you don’t do so now then give it a try! Next Sunday invite some friends over or make a breakfast for your family. I promise it will be a memorable meal.

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