Yesterday on the Today Show, Joy Bauer (of the Joy Fit Club) took a question from a viewer asking what to bring to Christmas at someone’s home who was strictly gluten-free. Her answer took me back because when it came to desserts, she suggested that fruit was the best option, implying that all our favorite holiday desserts would be off-limits to the gluten-free (she also mentioned flourless chocolate cake or buying something ready made). So happy to say “Sorry, Joy, but you couldn’t be further from the truth!”
Not only can you enjoy gluten-free versions of all your holiday fare, but now it is more simple than ever, thanks to Jules Gluten Free Flour and her “almost normal” baking recipes. I heard Jules lecture at the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America’s conference in Seattle last summer and bought a bag of her flour ($20 for a 5 lb. bag, but worth it). The flour has Expandex modified tapioca starch and Xanthan gum already mixed in so you can use it just like all-purpose flour. I have been making Jule’s sandwich bread with it and my husband and I love it. At Thanksgiving I decided to try using it to make my piecrusts and I just substituted it for the all-purpose flour in the pate brisée recipe that came with my Cusinart years ago. The result was so good that you could serve it to the uninitiated and they would not know it wasn’t the usual gluten-laden thing. It was only slightly more tricky to work with, as it broke easier, but since the recipe has egg yolk in it, it pretty much held together. I used it for both pumpkin and pecan pies and we just did it again yesterday for pecan pie.
So be brave and try your old favorite recipes and if you want to make it simple, try Jule’s flour too. I plan to try French bread next. We’ll see. In the meantime, we are enjoying a totally gluten-free holiday with baked ham and cranberry-wine glaze, Julia Child’s Potato Gratin Dauphinois (pictured above and too delicious for words), spinach salad and pecan pie.