Review By Sarah Kingsbury
Gluten-free blogger Carol Kicinski's new cookbook, 'Simply...Gluten-free Desserts embodies her philosophy that gluten-free food should appeal to everyone, not just those with dietary restrictions.
As such, Simply...Gluten-free Desserts is packed with recipes for decadent treats such as gluten-free puff pastries, flourless chocolate cake, berry pies, luscious ice cream, and more. Kicinski's beautiful pictures will have you drooling.
Many of the recipes are also dairy free meaning that gluten-free vegans can simply replace the eggs in order to make a recipe vegan.
Some recipes are gluten-free naturally and others call for her gluten-free flour mix which is based on a mixture of superfine rice flour. Kicinski offers a recipe for the flour mix in Simply Gluten-free Desserts or you can order the flour online. Many of the gluten-free dessert recipes are also dairy free meaning that gluten-free vegans can simply replace the eggs in order to make a recipe vegan.
With so many mouth-watering desserts to choose from it was hard to decide what recipes to test. In the end I chose Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins and Banana Cream Pie with the Perfect Pie Crust because I wanted to see how Kicinski's flour performed in a quick bread and a pie crust, two things I bake a lot.
The blueberry muffins turned out well, bursting with blueberry and lemon flavor, really good texture, and just the right amount of sweetness. I loved the topping of lemon zest mixed with sugar.
The muffins did not brown as much as the muffins in the picture in the cookbook. I may try baking them at a higher temperature next time, maybe 375 instead of 350 and 25 minutes instead of 35. I also did not find it necessary to grease the muffin tins since Kicinski calls for lining the tins with paper liners.
I was not as happy with the results of the pie crust. I followed the directions in the Perfect Pie Crust recipe exactly but the crust was more like a cracker than a flaky pastry and I found myself wishing that I had greased the pie plate since I had trouble getting the pieces of banana cream pie out of the dish in one piece.
I have had much better results using Pamela's Gluten-free Bread Mix for gluten-free pie crusts. I plan to try one of Kicinski's ground nut based crusts next. I suspect the extra richness may give me more of what I'm looking for in a crust.
While I was not thrilled with the crust, the banana cream pie filling was delicious, creamy, and not too sweet. To make this pie vegan just replace the eggs with Ener-G Foods egg replacer or replace the whole custard with 2 1/2 cups of your own vegan vanilla custard pie filling.
On the whole I like Simply...Gluten-free Desserts a lot. I plan to try many more of the gluten-free dessert recipes in the near future including the dairy-free version of the gluten-free puff pastries and pastry cream and the Raspberry White Chocolate Mousse.
I suspect that Simply...Gluten-free Desserts is going to become my go to cookbook for gluten-free desserts and that I will be trying Kicinski's flour mix in many of the other baked goods I make on a regular basis.
For Kicinski's non-dessert gluten-free recipes, check out her awesome blog Simply Gluten-free.