December 4, 2008

My Italian Thanksgiving senza glutine

I know that I am about a week late on Thanksgiving, but this year I ran on Italian time, so naturally I had to be late. Actually the real reason for the delay was the boys rigorous hockey schedule kept getting in the way, not to mention I am the only American here. So we were finally able to have Thanksgiving yesterday. Now Thanksgiving in Pontebba was slightly different than my normal Thanksgiving routine, which is always in Maui enjoying a wonderful buffet dinner with numerous items to choose from. However, this year was very different because 1. I am now a diagnosed Celiac 2. I am living in the middle of nowhere in Northern Italy.

The preparation for Thanksgiving started about a week ago with me sitting down with my neighbor and fellow hockey wife to chat about the menu. She is a Canadian, but had no problem in celebrating her Thanksgiving a month late with American Thanksgiving. We spent some time coming up with items that were easy, I could eat, and big enough to feed a bunch of Canadian hockey guys. After coming up with a rough draft of items I went off in search of a turkey. My search began with inquiring as to whether our favorite local butcher, who I am now on ciao ciao terms with, would supply us with a fresh turkey and if she would who would order it in Italiano for me. Before trying this option out, I asked an Austrian if this would be possible. He simply laughed at me, called his friend and asked where this crazy American, me, could get a whole uncooked fresh turkey. He plainly told me after the phone call was over that I was crazy and to just buy a frozen one. Well I had remembered seeing some frozen turkeys at a grocery store in Austria, so I decided that that would be the best option. Then with the turkey taken care of, Thanksgiving was well on its way. After surveying some websites we finally came up with the rest of the dinner.

The morning of Thanksgiving I got up bright and early to bake my pie. I will admit I was a little nervous about my Betty Crocker baking skills, but I took a chance. My Mom is always the one during the holidays that bakes her delicious apple pie, but this year I adopted the tradition. After doing enough pie research to become a professional pie maker, I underwent the task of creating a gluten free master piece. While my boyfriend quietly slept, I became the mad scientist of cooking in our kitchen. Flours where being thrown everywhere, butter smeared on the walls, apples on the floor (I have never mentioned that I am not always the "cleanest” cook, but I get the job done!), basically a tornado hit my kitchen. After about ten minutes into this task, I realized it was time to put on the apron, which meant things were getting serious. Finally I took the last piece of rolled out pie crust and placed it over the top of the pie. I cautiously carried my "child" to the oven and quickly put it inside. After approximately 40 minutes and serious amounts of anxiety, it was done. Now normally I don't like to toot my own horn, but on this item I tooted it loud and clear and even followed up with a pat on the back! The pie turned out delicious and I got compliments from everyone on my Apple Pie senza glutine. Now there were other items on the menu other than the Apple Pie, but that was the main item I worried the most about. After it was cooked, everything else was a piece of cake!

The meal started with antipasti items such as, fresh cheeses, olives, GF chips, salami, proscuitto, etc. It was then followed by the main course, which included 2 cooked to perfection turkeys, GF cornbread stuffing, mashed potato casserole, green beans with proscuitto, home made cranberry sauce, GF gravy, and of course rolls for all those non-celiacs attending, i.e. everyone else. I will include the recipes for the items I made and encourage anyone and everyone to seriously make this Apple Pie.

GF Cornbread Stuffing

Now this recipe gets a little complicated, as you must first make your own cornbread or muffins for this since all store bought ones are injected with gluten. For the muffins I used the recipe of the website, but you can use any simple plain cornbread/muffin recipe. Then for the stuffing I used the recipe off of Oprah's website, however, I changed it very slightly since there is no GF cream of mushroom soup in this area!

Cornbread from

~1 cup corn meal
~1 tsp salt
~1 cup white rice
~1/3 cup oil
~1/4 cup sugar
~1 egg
~2 tsp. xantham gum
~1 cup milk
~2 Tsb baking powder
~1 more cup of water

Mix all ingredients together and then bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until done. Let bread cool and then crumble onto cookie sheet and bake at 350 F until dry and just starting to turn brown.


~Olive oil
~6 tbs butter
~2 yellow onions
~5 celery stalks
~3 big carrots
~all the cornbread "croutons" previously made
~1 cup orange juice
~juice from a lemon
~3 cups broth
~1/2 cup white wine
~1 cup scallions
~salt and pepper

Heat 2 tbs olive oil and sauté scallions, celery, onions, and carrots with salt and pepper until they start to soften. Add white wine and sauté for 5 more minutes. Place cornbread "croutons" in a bowl, add veggies with wine, broth, orange juice, lemon juice, and a bit more salt. Bake in oven for 45min-1 hour.

My newly famous Apple Pie

~1/2 cup brown rice flour
~1/3 cup potato starch
~1/4 cup tapioca starch
~3-4 Tbs sweet rice flour
~1 tsp. cornstarch
~2 Tbp sugar
~1/2 tsp. baking powder
~1 1/2 tsp. xantham gum
~1/2 cup butter
~1 egg (you can also use another egg to brush the top of the pie)
~1 Tbs lemon juice

Combine all flours, cornstarch, baking powder, and xantham gum into bowl. Cut the 1/2 cup butter into chunks and place in bowl. With a fork cut the butter into the flour until the butter is pea sized. Combine 1 egg and lemon juice in separate cup/container and then pour into dough. Gently combine the liquid with the dry ingredients using a fork. Once combined dough should hold together well, if it is to dry add just a tsp. of water at first, if more is needed add another. If dough is too wet, sprinkle white rice flour onto ball of dough. Place the ball of dough onto wax paper and wrap together, then cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one hour before making the pie. Repeat this whole processes to make another ball of dough for the top of the Apple Pie. However, if you only need one crust, then do not repeat. Once dough is refrigerated for one hour, unwrap the dough and place between two nicely floured (with white rice flour) wax paper sheets. If dough starts to stick to paper add a touch more flour. Roll out the dough until it is about an inch longer all around than pie pan. Remove one wax paper and place pan on dough. Flip the dough over and you are set with the first crust. Then place the filling in crust, recipe located below, and repeat the rolling process with the other ball of dough. Remove one wax sheet and flip dough onto top of pie. Then crunch the sides together with your fingers making whatever design you please. Before placing into the oven brush a beaten egg over top and sprinkle with sugar, then cut 4 slits into pie in a design or simply poke a couple holes with a fork and put that masterpiece in the oven. Cook at 350 F for 40-45 min, or until golden brown on top.

Apple Pie Filling

~4 chopped apples, skin removed, I used Galas
~1/2 cup brown sugar
~2 Tbs cornstarch
~1-2 tsp. cinnamon
~dash of nutmeg
~2 tbs butter
~spoonful of lemon juice

Mix apples with sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Then add butter and lemon juice. Combine well and add to pie.


Natasha said...

What a beautiful pie Katherine! I am so proud of you :) I wish I could have been there to partake in your cooking and feast, it sounded like it was delish. I will talk to you soon!

Anonymous said...

I have some friends who are lokking for GF recipes! Thansk BTW where did you get the gum?

Gluten Free Alaskan Goddess said...

Thanks for looking at my site! I hope your friends find some recipes they like. As for the gum, I think you are referring the the xantham gum?? You can find it usually at any health food store.

Alaskan Goddess Mom said...

Wow,that pie looks like Betty Crocker herself made it! It is absolutely beautiful, I wish I could have had a piece. I guess I will now have to relinquish my role of being the main pie maker in the family (honestly, as much work as they are to make, I won't mind!).

Annie said...

Where do you find gluten free flours (that aren't mixes) and xanthan gum in Italy? I live in the NW, and the only flours I can find have gluten traces, and the only gum is guar.

Katherine said...

Hi Annie,

I ended up bringing xantham gum with me from the states. But you may be able to find it at some of the bio/organic stores? I no longer live in Italy, but have been able to find all the flours and gums I need in France at the bio stores. Check there first! If not try searching for them online. Hope this helps!