Double Banana Caramel Espresso Tart

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I was on  a bit of a pie kick a few weeks ago. As you will recall, I posted a recipe for a Chocolate Cherry Pie <——– click link here to get it. Well, as I was making this beautiful pie, another recipe came to mind. I should put bananas in the crust. My wonderful husband loves banana. He also really liked a banoffee pie I made once for the frat house. So let’s put some caramel in there somehow. Some chocolate. Maybe add some espresso for fun. Add more bananas. More caramel. And some whipped cream to keep it refreshing.

This was DELICIOUS. The caramel cream is where it’s at. And the espresso in the chocolate was enough that you are wondering about all the flavors you’re getting. It was a big hit and my husband loved them, which is the most important thing. Said they were one of the best things and although he is complimentary, he is also honest with my baking because he worked in a kitchen for 15 years and knows to be truthful so I can make the food better.

Stick around tomorrow I will be posting something savory: Taco Meatloaf, which has been a hit a few times around here.

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Gluten-Free Lime Eclairs

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Last éclair recipe (for now at least). Remember Monday when I posted that recipe for choux pastry? Well, click the link and review it first and for a back story into my slight obsession and intrigue into choux.

Today, though, I will keep it short and sweet. Wednesday I shared my first filling, Blackberry. Today I will share the second filling and topping I did, which was a lime curd with toasted meringue topping.

I have already confessed I liked the blackberry most for its refreshing taste, however, I did love the flavor of the lime curd and meringue. I just couldn’t eat as much and it had a completely different thing going on.

This could be fun to replace the lime with other citrus, like orange or grapefruit or lemon or blood orange. Just play and experiment. I’ve made lots of curds the last year: rhubarb, cherry, mango, and more. I’ve seen a pineapple one I really want to try, maybe a little toasted coconut on that one. It would be nice to mix the curd with a pastry cream potentially as well, but I have expressed my fondness for lime or lemon curd on its own and that I can just nibble on bites of it.

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Gluten-Free Bacon Asparagus Quiche

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Hello Wednesday! Hope you are all having a bright and blessed day. I tell you what, it is getting hard to choose what recipes to share. I have a stock pile of ones to share with you all and I can’t decide on an order. Do I post savory? Do I post sweet? Decisions. Decisions.

Today I opted for savory. I was prepping food a couple of weeks ago (something I’ve done a lot of lately, I’ve already spent at least 5 hours this week prepping meals to just bake or veggies to just cook) and I was staring at some asparagus. What am I going to do with this asparagus. Quiche. It just popped in my mind. It seemed so natural and sounded incredibly delicious.

As I was making the crust, I was further prompted, add Parmesan. I am not going to argue with that! Granted, I was slightly worried about adding another fat, how that may effect the crust and bake. I was so geeked when the crust turned out beautiful. What a great flavor it had. I actually filled a whole pie pan and I have 3 mini tart shells in my freezer waiting on me to fill as well. Spinach pies? That is my current mood for them potentially.

I had plenty of taste-testers on this one. Our roofer friends agreed to share in the quiche with us one afternoon. They had never eaten quiche, let alone a gluten-free one. They praised the taste. I get a lot that many would never know my pie crust is gluten-free if I didn’t tell them. Which to me is a huge compliment. A few weeks ago when I took tarts to Bible Study, they said the same thing. That is my goal always, to make something gluten-free that tastes as good as the real thing (or better, that is an even bigger goal).

As always, that beauty of a quiche is that you can fill it however YOU like. This week I made another quiche (with a shredded sweet potato crust) with spinach, mushroom and bacon. On this Parmesan one, I put asparagus, garlic, and bacon. You can do butternut and goat cheese. Broccoli. Peppers. This list is ongoing. Have fun and be creative with it.

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Gluten-Free Plantain Pizza Crust

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My list of favorite foods goes something like: cherries (all-time favorite), pizza, cabbage, ice cream. Something like that. Subject to change. Regardless, you will notice the pizza. Pizza also appears in my business name and this website: Polifroni Pies and PIZZAS. I like to make pizza crusts for the market, because even though you’ve change up your eating and diet or have eating restrictions, doesn’t mean you can never eat pizza.

I have made loads of different crusts. I’ve used almond flour. I’ve used cassava. I’ve used arrowroot. I’ve used tapioca flour. And I’ve also used bunches of vegetable/root alternative. You can click through my recipe inventory and check some of them out. It started with cauliflower a decade ago. But I’ve also used: broccoli, rutabaga, sweet potato, butternut squash, and zucchini. One of my all-time favorites was plantains.

I did a lot of home-cooking last week for Zach and I. I really wanted to revisit the plantain crust. Oh man was it good. Hands down my favorite. Everyone thinks it is going to be sweet. Plantains are not bananas. They don’t peel like bananas. They are starchier, not sweet like a banana. I made this crust kind of thick (which I like), however, next time I think this would make two perfect 9 inch pizzas. I used a large tart pan I have with a removable bottom, but a pizza pan or spring pan would be good as well (maybe put it in a cast iron and make a deep dish).

If you want a great pizza, this is it! I like pork with plantains, so I put sausage. You could put all kinds of flavors, though. Pepperoni. Chicken. Bacon. Spinach. Mushrooms. With Cheese. Without cheese. Whatever your topping preference. Go crazy.

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Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Blueberry Cookies

20171206_180748I love lemon. I think I’ve shared that a few times on here. I especially love some lemon curd. I could just nibble on some lemon curd.

I had someone contact me to collaborate on some vegan cookies. Granted gluten-free is my focus, I started brain-storming on cookies that were gourmet, vegan, and gluten-free. My initial idea was lemon lavender with white chocolate. One I prefer white chocolate over chocolate and I have finally found a white chocolate recipe that works really well. Plus I have really liked baking with lavender the last ten years. If used properly, it’s a nice subtle surprise. You don’t want it to be too overpowering. No one like to feel like they’re eating flowers. However, the perfect amount, is just right to have people intrigued. What is that other flavor I’m picking up?

The cookies were soft, which is exactly how I like my cookies. However, in the baking business, especially wholesale, you have to take into consideration: packaging, handling, storage over time. And these cookies would have crumbled or not held up over-time.

Back to the drawing boards. I did not want to give up on the lemon. It’s refreshing to me. I tried a glazed cookie (click the link to get it). Delicious, but not able to withstand the wholesale world. I thought of thyme, that could be lovely. But likely only to attract foodies and not your average person. We wanted a cookie that could be kid-friendly as well.

Blueberry.

Blueberry and lemon are also a beautiful pairing. Plus the blueberries would add a beautiful color. Something else to consider in baking is the aesthetic and visual appeal. I don’t want to offer 3 cookies that all look similar. You need some pop and color. The blueberry could add, some much needed color, especially in a sandwich cookie. I found a recipe inspiration that I could  convert to be both gluten-free and vegan.

The result?

My favorite of all the gluten-free cookies (which was about 7 or so) I made. The flavors were heaven. The texture of the cookie was great. The ratio of filling to cookie, awesome. Half a cookie was good for me!

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Gluten-Free Banana Fosters Scones

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Bananas are hit and miss with me, I will confess. My husband loves them pretty much anytime, but I am particular about my combos. For instance, I’ve made some banana almond butter cookies lately, they’re good, but not my thing. I like bananas and I like peanut (almond) butter, just not together. I do really enjoy caramel together. Maybe because I love caramel at all times. I guess I just realized I would probably take caramel over chocolate. I made some banana fosters danishes and saw a recipe on pinterest for some scones and had to tweak them to fit the gluten-free mold.

Sometimes I like to try out other bakeries to see what’s out. To get inspired. Granted I did make these scones before then, but I got a Banana Fosters Cupcake for Zach from the Flying Cupcake in Indianapolis. It just solidified the fact that I do indeed enjoy some bananas/caramel combination.

And I will not lie scones have been hard for me in the part. I generally try to make them dairy-free as well with coconut oil, but I do sometimes use butter, so I made these more traditional and they held up a lot better. Sometimes I can produce some really beautiful/delicious things, but there are a good a lot of things that give me challenges. Some have taken years to find something workable-like pie crust. And bread. Don’t get me started on bread-it is by far my biggest gluten-free baking challenge. I have worked as a conventional baker. I can make many good things, including traditional bread. But gluten-free? That is another story. There is no elasticity or stretch in the same way. I’ve been watching the British Baking Show. It really made me want to try some babka and braided breads. I did make a nice pumpkin swirl one. However, the dough was not easy to work with or to shape properly. It tasted FANTASTIC, however. Gluten-free baking (especially because I only use tapioca, coconut and almond flour-occasionally arrowroot and every once in a while cassava when I order it), it a lot of trial-and-error. It takes a lot of preservation. You can’t be apt to giving up because sometimes it has taken me 5+ times on a recipe to get one that I’m fully satisfied with the texture and flavor.

These, these I like.

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Gluten-Free Vegan Lemon Lavender Cookies

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Happy Thursday you all! Hope you are having a wonderful week as we gear up towards the Holidays coming up. This is a wonderful time of year to make cookies. I LOVE lemon. Like I could just nibble on little bits of lemon curd. I recently paired lemon with some blueberries, great combination. I also really enjoy lemon with lavender. The key is to have just the perfect amount of lavender. You don’t want it to be too in your face. Or too florally, like you are eating flowers. You want just a touch, so people are intrigued. Hmm… what’s the extra flavor I’m getting? We’re going for curiosity, not disgust.

These cookies are delicious on their own, they are nice and soft, but I added a little glaze to make them a little more festive and to get a tinge more lemon taste. SO good. It is very refreshing. They could be a nice little food gift if you know someone who needs vegan or gluten-free eats.

However, I was designing this recipe for someone interested in collaborating on vegan cookies. They were too soft for freezing or shipping, so they didn’t fit the bill on that. But they are my favorite vegan cookie I made (granted I really enjoyed the ones with white chocolate again- I definitely prefer white chocolate over chocolate). This cookie base could also be used for an assortment of other flavors. Maybe switch the lemon for orange, fold in a few cranberries (that’s a wonderful flavor combo for this season). Or maybe switch the lavender for the thyme and keep the lemon. Or maybe switch the lemon for lime and add some white chocolate. Who knows there are all kinds of different flavors you could do and you could rotate them throughout the year seasonally. Maybe freeze-dried raspberries and white chocolate. Who knows. Get creative with it. Use the flavors YOU like.

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