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by Heather Harris Brady

I hope all my American readers had a great Thanksgiving holiday last week! I had a few welcome days off to spend with family and one of the things I like best is shopping and cooking together. My son, in severe taco withdrawal after three months of college, helped me come up with this pico for chicken tacos but it would be equally good on fish – or just dipped straight up.

Find a nice fresh pineapple and you’ll have a batch of pico in just a few minutes. It is a little better the second day, and of course you can adjust the heat to your own preferences. Since it’s super-healthy, fresh, and gluten-free, it would be a great addition to a holiday potluck, and a way to wake up palates jaded from rich holiday foods.

Pineapple Pico de Gallo, Makes about 3 cups

  • One medium fresh pineapple, cleaned and cut into chunks
  • 1 c. fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1 t. fresh ground ginger
  • Juice of two limes
  • 1 T. sambal oelek (fresh ground chili paste) (or to taste)

Put the pineapple chunks in the food processor. Pulse five-six times until you start to approach crushed pineapple.


Add the rest of the ingredients.


Pulse three-four times until everything is roughly chopped. Give a stir to make sure there aren’t any large pieces left.


Spoon into a serving dish and chill. Serve on tacos, grilled fish or chicken, or as-is with a bag of lime chips!


Now that we’ve been all virtuous it’s time to get out the butter and start on our holiday cookies – in our next post!

Four years ago: Swedish Visiting Cake
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Pumpkin Pie
Two years ago: Pumpkin Gingerbread
One year ago: Orange Bites


by Heather Harris Brady

Guess who! I know, right? It’s been crazy, but I’ve come out on the other side of two graduation parties for my son and lots of other parties for graduating friends and family. I made most of the boy’s party food myself (with help from the aunts!), and I may get around to posting come menus and quantities. But not today my friends. Because today, while it’s still rhubarb season, you have to try this pie.

It is, in real life, the crazy red of the photo. It’s also crazy-good, and I’m not even that much of a pie person. There’s strawberries, raspberries and then a rhubarb filling holding it all together. It’s also no-bake, so if it’s hot where you are and you don’t have air conditioning either – you’re welcome!

I made this one with sugarfree raspberry gelatin, but you could sub in unflavored gelatin if you like. The redder your rhubarb the prettier the filling. If you have a dad in your life that loves pie, this would be a good choice (hint, hint).

Rhuberry Pie, Makes one 9″ deep dish pie

  • 3 c. diced rhubarb (1″ dice)
  • 1-1/4 c. water
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 box of sugar-free raspberry gelatin, or one packet unflavored gelatin
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh sliced strawberries
  • 1-1/2 c. fresh raspberries, washed and picked over
  • 1 graham cracker pie crust (9″ deep dish) (or sub in a GF crumb crust)
  • 1 c. heavy whipping cream

Combine the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan.



Simmer for about 8-10 minutes, until the rhubarb is just barely tender. Take out some of the liquid (about 1/2 c.) and stir the gelatin into it.


Remove it from the heat.


Fold the dissolved gelatin, strawberries and raspberries back in. Let it sit for a few minutes so the fresh berries can poach a tiny bit. Reserve 1/2 c. of the liquid. Put the rest of the filling in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, until it just starts to thicken.


Pile the cooled filling into the pie shell. Cover the pie lightly and return it to the refrigerator to set completely. You can cut it in a couple hours, but if you can let it sit overnight you’ll get the cleanest slices.


Beat the cream to soft peaks, then beat in the reserved liquid. It will stabilize the cream and turn it a lovely pink.


Refrigerate the cream (covered) until you’re ready to serve the pie.



Serve each slice cold with a dollop of cream. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.


Three years ago: Chocolate Eclairs
Two years ago: Michigan Fruit Pie
One year ago: English Muffins


by Heather Harris Brady

This cake is something you’re going to want to bookmark for the times you need to throw a dessert together in a hurry. The recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax. It’s an amazing book and the fact we lost Richard Sax at such a young age is a huge loss to those of us with a passion for cookbooks.

I had to tinker with the recipe, because I didn’t have the chocolate, Grand Marnier, or jam on hand he called for in the original. But it still turned out great. I served it with lightly sweetened whipped cream and strawberries on the side, but it’s very versatile. The flavor is actually better the next day.

Quick Chocolate Candy Cake, About eight generous servings

  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. apricot preserves
  • 1 T. Grand Marnier
  • 3 large eggs
  • 4 oz. semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
  • 1 c. almond flour
  • Zest from one orange

1/4 c. soft fresh bread crumbs (regular or gluten free)

Preheat the oven to 375. Butter the sides of an 8″ round pan. Cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the jam and Grand Marnier with one of the eggs.


Then beat in the remaining two eggs, followed by the melted chocolate, almond flour and bread crumbs.



Lastly, add the zest.


Spread the batter into your pan and bake about 25 minutes.


The center should still be a bit shiny.


Serve warm or at room temperature.


I cut this slice after the cake had been out of the oven for about 30 minutes. It was still warm.


Serve with whipped cream, berries or both. The cake keeps several days covered at room temperature.

Three years ago: Fresh Ginger Carrot Muffins
Two years ago: Quick Caramel Apple Cake
One year ago: Chocolate Cake-Truffle Petits Fours


by Heather Harris Brady

This is a nice recipe if you feel like cheesecake but would rather forgo having extra tempting servings sitting around. This gives you four polite-sized servings for a dinner party with no leftovers! I used orange and mini chips, but feel free to vary the flavorings however you wish. I bake these in ceramic ramekins because they’re easier to put in the water bath. Plus, they go together really quickly and with no crust you’re not only cutting calories you’re cutting down the gluten free as well.

Mini Cheesecakes, Makes four 3-1/2″ servings

  • 4 oz. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 2/3 c. greek yogurt
  • 1/3 c. sour cream
  • One egg
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the first three ingredients in a food processor.


Add the egg, flour and sugar.


Blend until smooth.


Fold in your flavoring and addins, in this case I added 1 t. orange bakery emulsion and 1/3 c. mini chocolate chips.


Lightly grease four ramekins and divide the batter between them. Fill an 8″ baking dish one-third full with warm water. Set the ramekins in the dish and put them in the oven.


Bake for about 30 minutes, until the centers are set and the sides start to pull away from the dishes.



You could serve these warm but I put them in the deep freeze to cool them quickly for dinner.


Three years ago: Finnish Teaspoon Cookies
Two years ago: Lemon Poppyseed Scones
One year ago: Brigadeiro


by Heather Harris Brady

This is going to be a short post today since here in America we’re heading into the big Thanksgiving holiday. If you are going out or visiting this coming holiday season these little bites would be a perfect hostess gift, especially tied up in a clear box with ribbon. Not only are they delicious, they are snowy-pretty and they check all the boxes – vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, raw, paleo, etc.

I had these at an ayurveda workshop, where they were said to boost immunity. Give these a try even if you don’t like dates – I’ve never been crazy about dates myself but I love these. You can substitute more ground almonds for coconut if you like. If you can grind your spices fresh, and make these ahead, as the flavors blend and improve over time.

If you wanted an interesting cheese course you could roll these in minced nuts instead and serve them with a goat cheese, gorgonzola or a seared halloumi.

Orange Bites, Makes about 24 1-1/2″ treats

  • 2 c. medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • Zest of two organic oranges
  • 1/2 c. raw almonds
  • 1 t. fresh ground gingerroot
  • 1 t. fresh ground cardamom
  • 1 t. cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 t. kosher salt
  • 2 T. olive oil or coconut oil
  • 2 T. coconut powder plus extra for coating

Put the dates in the food processor.


Add the spices, honey, nuts and oil. Roughly chop, then add the orange zest and 2 T. of the coconut powder.


Pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.


Spread some coconut powder on a plate.


Scoop out heaping teaspoons of the date mixture and roll them in the coconut until they are well-coated.


Store finished treats in an airtight container at room temperature. These will keep nicely for up to two weeks. Safe travels and happy weekend everyone!


Three years ago: Cranberry Orange Bread Pudding
Two years ago: Parker House Dinner Rolls
One year ago: Vanilla Sauce


by Heather Harris Brady

Panna cotta is quick, easy, delicious and hard to photograph. From all accounts it just appeared sometime in Italy in the 1960’s, first thickened with egg whites like a custard and baked in a water bath, until someone hit on the idea of adding gelatin. If you have a cold refrigerator you can start it about 90 minutes before a dinner party and it will be ready when you are. It would be a great choice for any friends on a gluten-free program.

In this version I’m using a combination of buttermilk and heavy cream. The finished dessert is a lovely balanced cream that doesn’t hint heavily at either main ingredient. I had the pears and caramel already, but you could use any fruit sauce you like – a combination of dried and fresh apricots would be especially good I think. I unmolded these, but you could stick with the ramekins if it makes things easier.

Panna Cotta, Serves four

  • 8 oz. heavy whipping cream
  • 1/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 T. cold water
  • 2 T. sherry
  • 1 packet unflavored gelatin
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • One small can dulce de leche (optional)
  • Kosher salt for sprinkling (optional)
  • Two ripe pears, washed, cored and sliced (optional)

Combine cold water and sherry, stir in the gelatin to soften and set aside.


Mix the heavy cream and sugar in a saucepan, heat over medium, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved.


Once the sugar is dissolved remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the gelatin well. Then whisk in the buttermilk. The mixture will start to thicken a bit.


Pour it into ramekins.


Put them in the refrigerator for an hour, until set. Cover them with plastic wrap if you are making this recipe ahead. If you’re unmolding the panna cotta to serve it, run a knife around the outside of each one. It should unmold easily, but if it doesn’t gently ease it out with a spoon, holding the ramekin just over the serving plate. Spread the caramel on the plate, sprinkle with salt and add 1/4 of the pear slices to each serving. If you’d like a mix of textures a tuile cookie would be nice on the side.


Three years ago: Chocolate Ganache
Two years ago: Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
One year ago: Chocolate Sheet Cake


by Heather Harris Brady

Being a baker I don’t have a large inventory of no-bake recipes, but we had another hot day last week and knowing it wasn’t going to cool down much overnight I just couldn’t turn the oven on. So I turned to my cookbook collection and pulled out The Congressional Club Cookbook. It was published in 1961, when presumably good food still had the power to suspend partisanship – at least for a while.


This recipe is based on one for Lemon Bisque by Mrs. Jamie Whitten, wife of the 1961 representative from Mississippi. I added some raspberries but you can mix it up – do a sauce or a white hot chocolate over the top. You could also go the other way, put it in a square pan and serve it in squares, topped with marshmallows, pineapple and cherries for an awesome retro dinner party dessert. Either way it’s refreshing, easy and healthy-ish –

Frozen Lemon Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

  • One graham cracker or vanilla wafer crust
  • 1 can evaporated milk, icy cold
  • 2/3 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 sm. can crushed pineapple
  • 2 c. IQF berries or other chopped fruit

Prechill your beaters before you start. Pour the milk into a bowl.


Start to whip on high, drizzling in the sugar and lemon juice as you go. Whip to soft peaks, about four minutes.


Fold in the pineapple and pour the mixture over your crust. Sprinkle your additional fruit, if you’re using it, over the top. (Note: A springform pan will help with neater slices.)


Freeze until the pie is completely solid. This took about three hours in my deep freeze. In a regular freezer I’d leave it overnight. Take it out 15 minutes before serving. Run a knife around the edge and remove the rim. The pie should cut into neat slices.


I think this would also be good with a coconut or meringue crust, which would also be gluten free!


Three years ago: Sun Tea
Two years ago: Boston Cream Pie
One year ago: Raspberry Cream Cheese Danish


by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe is based on a cookie from Maida Heatter’s Book of Cookies. I’ve tweaked it into more of a cheesecake, and added a poached raspberry topping.

The streusel is both topping and crust, with a citrusy cheesecake filling in between. This is a great choice for a make-ahead dessert, as it’s actually better the second day. If you time it right you can have a nice cold creamy cheesecake contrasted with the warm topping and the crunchy streusel.

Streusel Cheesecake, Makes one 8″ cheesecake (about eight servings)

  • 1 c. white whole-wheat flour or GF flour blend
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. rolled oats
  • 1 T. lemon juice + fine zest of one lemon OR 1 t. lemon bakery emulsion
  • 8 oz. container whipped cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. sugar

Poached Raspberry Sauce

  • 1 c. cherry or rose wine
  • 1 c. water
  • 1/3 c. sugar mixed with 1 T. cornstarch
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries, washed and cleaned

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine the butter and brown sugar in a mixing bowl.


Cream well, then add the flour, cinnamon and oatmeal. Mix to coarse crumbs.


Set 3/4 c. of crumbs aside.


Press the rest into the bottom of a non-stick springform pan. Slide it into the oven and bake 15 minutes.


While the crust is pre-baking, combine the remaining ingredients and blend well.


Take the crust out of the oven and pour the cheesecake filling over it.


Sprinkle the top evenly with the reserved crumbs. Return it to the oven and bake another 25-30 minutes.


The edges should be lightly browned and the center should be just set.


At this point it needs to cool thoroughly. You can even freeze it to speed things up if you have to, but when it’s cool enough wrap it and let it get nice and cold all the way through.


About 20 minutes before you’re ready to serve start the sauce. Your wine options are open, but a fruit wine gives you a lovely color. I used this one, a lovely gift from friends who grow the cherries on their farm locally.


Combine the wine and water in a pan, then whisk in the sugar mixture. Cool until clear and thick.


Gently stir in the raspberries and turn off the heat.


The sauce will warm the berries through and bring out their flavor.


Top each slice of cheesecake with a spoonful of sauce and serve.




Store any leftovers wrapped in the refrigerator.

Three years ago: Peach Cobbler
Two years ago: Fresh Peach Pie
One year ago: Semolina Cake with Fresh Peaches & Goat Cheese


by Heather Harris Brady

This recipe comes from Susan Purdy’s cookbook A Piece of Cake. This is a very easy pie, although for some reason it’s called a cake in the cookbook. It’s perfect for anyone who considers themselves to be piecrust-challenged, because the crumbs become both topping and crust! It should be said the crust is more like a butter cookie than what you’re used to but it’s nice, especially next to the warm, fragrant peaches in the middle.

This would be terrific for brunch, and because gluten doesn’t really play much of a role, I think you could easily sub in a GF flour blend here.

Peach Streusel Pie, Makes one 9″ pie

1-1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

1 stick of butter

3/4 t. cinnamon

8-10 fresh ripe peaches, sliced and combined with 1 T. lemon juice

1/3 c. white or brown sugar

2 T. quick-cooking tapioca

Preheat the oven to 375. Combine the butter, sugar and flour in a bowl.


Mix well, until you have a bowlful of pretty crumbs.


Scoop out 3/4 c. of the crumbs and stir the cinnamon into them. Set those aside. Press the rest of the crumbs into your pie plate.


Mix the tapioca, sugar and peaches together. Put them into the pie shell and cover evenly with the cinnamon crumbs.



Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust starts to brown.




Two years ago: Picnic Dogs
One year ago: BadaBing Chewy Cherry Bars


by Heather Harris Brady

Since it’s been absolutely sweltering for the past week, my oven’s been getting a rest, but I made an exception for this cheesecake because the kids picked blueberries with grandpa and the berries are gorgeous. So think of this as a summer cheesecake. It’s much lighter than most, bright with lemon on the inside and pineapple on the outside. It’s also easy. If you have a food processor you can have it ready for the oven in under 10 minutes.

This would be easy to adapt to gluten free by switching to GF crumbs.

Cheesecake with Caramelized Pineapple, Makes one 8″ cake

For the topping:

  • One fresh pineapple, peeled and cored
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2 T. water
  • 2 T. butter

For the crust:

  • One box of ‘Nilla wafers, or other vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1/3 c. butter, melted
  • 2 T. sugar

For the filling:

  • 2 8-oz. pkgs. 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1-3/4 c. lowfat cottage cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. lemon zest or 1 t. lemon extract or lemon bakery emulsion

Optional: Fresh blueberries

Fill a baking dish with water and put it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 325.

Make the crust: Pour four cups of the wafers into a food processor, along with the sugar. Grind to fine crumbs. Pour the crumbs into a mixing bowl and stir in the butter. Reserve one cup of crumbs, then press the rest into the bottom of a greased 8″ springform pan.


Wash the food processor bowl and reassemble, and put all the filling ingredients in.


Process until smooth, about one minute.


It will be nice and thick.


Spoon it into the pan and smooth the top.


Put it into the oven to bake for about 40-50 minutes. While the cake is baking make the caramelized pineapple.

Combine the water, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan. Bring it to a boil over medium heat.



Chop up the pineapple. When the syrup has boiled for about five minutes, add the pineapple.


It might splatter a little bit. Cook for another 10 minutes. Apparently I forgot to take a picture of the cooked pineapple, but we’ll get to it in a minute. The pineapple will start to get a little transparent. Take it off the heat and set it aside.

When the cheesecake is only a tiny bit jiggly in the center, take it out of the oven.


The top might crack a little bit but that’s okay. Run a knife around the outside, then take the reserve crumbs and put them around the outside edge and spoon the pineapple into the middle, like so:


Reserve the pineapple syrup. Put the cake in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled. To serve remove the ring from the pan and slice.



Drizzle each plate with some of the pineapple syrup, add the cheesecake and fresh blueberries.


Two years ago: Mustard Roasted Potatoes
One year ago: Gooseberry-Raspberry Pie



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July 2017
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My Favorite Movies/Shows – Food Related

  • Chef's Table (!)
  • Chocolat
  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hundred Foot Journey
  • Ratatouille
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Master Chef (NPR)
  • Julia's Kitchen (NPR)
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