24 June 2011

Lazy Girl Mini Key Lime Pies

The Hubs loves key lime pies and I make a really mean one (if I do say so myself), but my "go-to" recipe involves baking.  And right now it's way too hot outside to even think about turning on the oven.  Solution: the Lazy Girl mini key lime pies. While they don't pack quite the intense key lime punch that a regular pie does, they're a pretty darned good summer substitute.

There's something just perfect about citrus flavors in the summertime. I found the recipe via foodgawker the other day and couldn't get it out of my mind. The only cooking is on the stove top to make the lime curd (8 minutes tops), but if you were really feeling lazy you could just substitute a jarred version.  Also, it looked as if she made her own tart shells, but since my whole goal was to avoid using the oven I made a Lazy Girl substitution and just used Keebler mini graham cracker crusts (6/pkg). 

Basically all you do is fold lime curd into the some sweetened whipped cream, fill the crusts, garnish and let them chill a few hours.  Could it be any easier?!?!  I was really pleased with how the little pies turned out.  I had exactly the amount of filling for my 6 shells, making this recipe perfect for a dinner party.  They are super cute and make for a nice, refreshing dessert. 

The only change I'll make next time is to increase the ratio of lime curd to whipping cream.  She has it at 1:1 and I'm thinking 1.5:1  would provide a more key lime-y punch.  I also think this would be great if you swapped lemon curd for the lime curd and garnished it with fresh berries.

23 June 2011

Gluten Free Biscotti

This is the chronicle of my first foray into gluten free baking. 

The finished product.  Anyone have a cup of coffee I can have?

My cooking gal pal from last summer is back!  We got a later start this summer (she's quite the jet-setter with a busy schedule), but at least we got started.  She has discovered that she is gluten intolerant and wanted to experiment with some gluten free flour.  We wanted to start out with something simple so she chose biscotti.  We had lots of success with biscotti last summer and since it doesn't have the typical bread/chewy texture we figured it would be more forgiving. 

Doing some gluten-free baking research.

Basically, we followed this recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Biscotti and just swapped gluten free flour for regular AP flour.  We had both tried (unsuccessfully) to find xanthan gum at HEB and ended up just deciding to leave it out and hope for the best.  Halfway through the batter making process (prior to adding the lemon extract and lemon zest) we split the batter in half and made half of them orange, cranberry and almond flavor instead.

Oops!  After the 1st round of baking the two ran into each other. 

Although the batter was a little more wet than normal and we had to increase the 2nd baking time by 5 minutes, the final product ended up very similar to biscotti made with AP flour.  The verdict: A great substitute for those who are gluten intolerant.  Texturally, you can't tell the difference.  The Hubs thinks they're great.  But I'm not going to lie, in my opinion they have a slightly "off" aftertaste.  I think I'll be attempting the recipe again later week, but with AP flour.