Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2 Dairy-Free Gluten-Free Desserts to Die For

I know I've mentioned it before, but we have some food intolerances in my family. The biggest are that my husband is lactose intolerant, and my mom is gluten intolerant. At big family meals this provides certain challenges. We do lots of meals with tons of dishes so people can just opt out of a few and still have a full plate. But my specialty is desserts. Since flour, butter, and milk are pretty main components in a lot of desserts, I've been getting more creative about finding substitutes.

Now, one strategy that works well for me is to make 2 desserts - one dairy-free and one gluten-free. That way everyone has something and some people get choices. But I always feel bad about it, and prefer when everyone can have a bit of everything. So for a recent gathering I decided to try for 2 desserts that were both safe for everyone. I decided on chocolate mousse and lemon bars. Yum!

For the lemon bars, I followed this recipe from The Baking Beauties (a great gluten-free cooking blog). I used Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour substitute instead of their particular ratios, and had to use Earth Balance in place of the butter to keep it lactose-free, but otherwise didn't change anything. They were very well received and eaten up quickly! I think I'll experiment with making them gooier next time, as I really think lemon bars should be a gooey mess, but otherwise I really like them.

For the chocolate mousse, I just followed the classic recipe, as it is already lactose and and gluten free. This is the one I'm going to show you, as it can look a little intimidating if you've never made it before.

14 oz. dark chocolate (70% cacao or more)
8 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup dark coffee
1/2 tsp salt

*This is a recipe big enough for a whole dinner party, but it's easy to halve for a smaller batch.

A recipe that starts like this must be good, right? Melt the dark chocolate with the rum and coffee in a double boiler over med-low heat. Don't let it burn! Way better to have it take a while that to have to toss if because the chocolate burnt! Also, this dessert gets its flavor from the chocolate, to spring for something good. I went with Ghirardelli for this batch. It should look nice and smooth like this:

Now you'll want to separate your eggs. This is classic french recipe, and they didn't always worry about the safety of raw eggs. To be clear: this recipe does not cook the eggs, so if you're at all concerned be sure to buy pasteurized eggs (though make sure they're the kind that will whip up ok). Don't the yolks look pretty like this? Almost like a flower. 

Stir the yolks into the melted chocolate mixture. This doesn't look totally appealing, but ignore that and keep with it. Once combined, set this aside. 

Time to whip all those egg whites! Add the salt, then beat on high until very stiff. Egg whites will beat to high volume better at room temperature. Don't overdo it, but make sure they're glossy and foamy like this. 

Now we'll fold them into the chocolate mixture. Here's a video on folding if you're worried about it. 

Just remember it takes time to do it without the eggs deflating. Don't give in and stir! Keep folding!

Finally, it will look nice and smooth with only a few little egg bubbles. Now just pour it into individual containers and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Top with fresh fruit, whipped cream, fruit puree, or eat plain!

I'd love to have beautiful finished product pictures for you, but it was all inhaled pretty quick and I'm afraid the camera was rather forgotten. I hope these are as big a hit at your house as they were at mine!


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