December 4, 2008

Italians secretly love French desserts

This past weekend was full of cooking. One of my friends from my high school days came to visit us in Pontebba with her boyfriend. She currently lives in Rome and has Italianized herself complete with with a Roman boyfriend. It was so great to see her and I relished our time together, which was spent reminiscing, watching hockey, and of course drinking some vino from the Rome region. Her boyfriend was wonderful and wanted to learn everything about being Gluten Free. I of course wanted to cook for them, which was slightly nerve wracking as I am absolutely sure they have wonderful Italian food all the time. However, I sucked it up and presented them with a wonderfully spread dinner. I cooked manicotti followed by a French dessert called a clafloutis. My friend and her boyfriend helped throughout the process, which was a learning experience. Her boyfriend even taught me a couple tricks and we were all able to sit down relatively quickly to the meal and say Buon Appetito before digging in! I at the moment, sat motionless trying not to be obvious that I was waiting for the two of them to take their first bites. Breathless I watched Federico take his first bite and immediately he began to gush with praises. I can't tell you how close I was to crying. That is the ultimate compliment to my cooking when a born and raised Italian raves about my manicotti, although numerous times teased my accent and said it was canelloni, he ate my food with gusto. He literally licked his plate clean! After that I kissed my fingers together and said Mama Mia!

After dinner, dessert was a plum clafloutis complete with a vienetta cake(as I had no ice cream). The two of them simply loved this treat, especially Federico. Now the story of how I am knowledgeable in the art of clafloutis making goes back to last year in Scotland when I was visiting a friend I grew up with in Alaska. She was a gracious host to me for many days and we enjoyed that time with sight seeing, discussing matters in America, and most importantly eating. She made this dessert, clafloutis, that I had never seen or heard of in my life before. It is a French dessert that is normally made with cherries, but I like to spice it up a bit and use whatever fruit is in season. I took her recipe, along with a couple others, then removed the gluten and voila'! You have a delicious gluten free dessert perfect for entertaining.


~6 Plums, or 2-3 cups of whatever fruit you please; apples, raspberries, blueberries etc
~1/4 cup sweet rice
~1/4 cup brown rice
~1/3 cup coconut flour
~3 eggs
~1/3 cup sugar
~1 1/3 cup milk, although as my friend taught me you can use milk, yogurt, water, apple juice, etc. I used milk, but it turns out just as good with a combination of liquids too.

Chop fruit into smaller pieces and cover with 1-2 Tbs honey. Let that sit in a bowl while you mix the rest of the ingredients. In a blender combine the eggs, liquid, and sugar together. In a separate bowl combine the flours together. Add 1/3 of the flour to liquid, then blend. Repeat this until all the flour is gone. It is important that you do this or the flour may clump or not be completely absorbed in the liquid. For those of you who have frequently cooked with GF flours, you will understand. Finally pour batter into a greased glass baking pan. Then scoop fruit with honey evenly onto the liquid. Bake at 180 C( around 350 F) for 10-15 minutes or until the "cake" has risen and when poked with a toothpick shows no residue. Top it off with slivers of almonds or for an even sweeter cake sprinkle powdered sugar on the top. Now cut it up and serve it with some ice cream or better yet a vienetta!

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