I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Laurie Sadowski’s awesome new cookbook The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts! This book is filled with lots of super delicious recipes, which you will want to make again and again. I made the Apple Cider Pudding Cake the other night, and it was outstanding! It was so good that we demolished it in a night. I’m not kidding. That pudding cake is like the love child between an apple pie and a spice cake. We seriously couldn’t get enough of it. Fortunately it’s super easy to make, so it will definitely be a regular around here.
I’ve been a huge fan of Laurie’s books (which are all gluten-free and vegan) since her first book, The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Bread. Her recipes are not only delicious and healthy, but they are very well-tested and always turn out great. They are solid recipes. Her newest book is no exception. I knew this book was going to be killer, ever since my friend Kittee brought over a peanut butter and strawberry jam tart to my house. She was doing a little recipe testing for the book, and thought that I might go crazy for it. And boy was she right! My husband adored it too, and kept asking how long we had to wait for the book to come out, so he could have it again. Well thankfully we don’t have to wait any longer.
I asked Laurie if she would do a little Q and A with me, and share some tips with my readers, which I am posting below. She also is letting me share the recipe for that amazing Apple Cider Pudding Cake, and she and her publisher have graciously offered to give away a copy of this book to one of my readers. So make sure to leave a comment (along with your name and a way to reach you), and tell me what your favorite kind of pie is.
Q and A with Laurie Sadowski
What was the inspiration behind The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts?
Folks might not know that the three books started off as one large book, then later were split into a series. So… Pies and Desserts was needed to finish off the series! And, of course, so I would have an excuse to make lots of (nondairy) ice cream.
How long did it take you to write the book?
The book was first written a couple years before the other two, but then modified a lot once it became the third in the series. By then, more products were available on the market, similar cookbooks were available, and living gluten-free was becoming a lot more common. Having two cookbooks under my belt at this point certainly made it easier, but I definitely wanted to get really creative and not make a carbon copy of what was already out there. It took about 8 months to finish, if I recall!
Have you always been a pie person?
No! Ha, I actually dreaded this book for that reason! (Just kidding, I didn’t really dread it). But pie was never really my thing—I’m a cake person through and through. I did soon discover that the secret to loving pie is always having nondairy ice creams available. This sped up the book, too, since I (literally) churning out the frozen desserts chapter throughout the whole pie process.
What are your top 3 favorite recipes in the book?
Ooh. Seriously? I’m leafing through it right now, and I’ll just interpret this like you said my top recipe in each chapter!
For Pies and Cheesecakes, I love the Double Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake, because… well, it’s a double chocolate cherry cheesecake! Super silky and smooth, uses local sour cherries… I just can’t get enough. We had a cherry drought last year and you couldn’t find them anywhere. As soon as the new season hit, I bought a couple pails of them and they’re stowed in my freezer. My birthday, in March, always calls for a Black Forest Cake, so I missed out last year.
For Tarts of All Sizes, I love the Peanut Butter and Jam Tart, because pb&j-anything is always in my top picks. All three of my books feature something peanut butter and jam-related, so it wasn’t too difficult to tap out something for this book, too (and it was hard to stop just at one).
In the Cobblers, Crisps, and Other Fruit-Filled Desserts chapter, I am definitely a fan of the Ginger-Plum Crumble. Italian prune plums remind me of my childhood, and when they’re locally available they are amazingly sweet. I’ve also done a mixture of peaches and plums for this crumble, which is definitely my favourite way to adapt it.
Puddings, Pudding Cakes, and Layered Desserts is difficult for me to pick, but the Deep-Dish Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowls are heaven in a ramekin. This is closely followed by every single trifle, my absolute top type of dessert of all time.
And then there is Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts and, really, the Hot Fudge Sundaes in Sugar Cone Bowls… or maybe the Magical Caramel-Swirled Brownie Sundaes… or… or…
Okay, next question.
Were any of the recipes particularly challenging to make gluten-free?
Gluten-free, no. Dairy- and soy-free, though, sometimes—specifically cheesecake and ice cream. I never use dairy analogs like vegan cream cheese, and wanted to ensure that nothing was too nut-heavy (and there were nut-free options) or tasted too coconutty (like many coconut milk ice creams do).
What are your favorite flours for making a gluten-free pie crust?
The first 60 or so pages of this book, like the others in the series, gives an overview on the chemistry behind gluten-free baking. I use a small variety of flours in my baking, but sorghum flour is the main flour I use, combined with higher protein flours and starches. I never use rice flour, nut flours, or coconut flour.
Do you have any pie-making tips to share?
So many, all of which are detailed in the book. But I’ll definitely share the two that differ the most from traditional pastry making:
1. Roll out the dough, put it in the dish, and then chill it.
2. Add acid—though this applies to all gluten-free/vegan baking—it will add to the flakiness of your pastry.
Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book to review, but all of the thoughts and opinions expressed are completely my own.
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