Saturday, June 30, 2012

Apple-Rhubarb Healthy Crumble

A few months ago, I discovered that I have a gluten sensitivity. Nothing like celiac disease but enough to make me feel uncomfortable after eating gluten-based pasta or bread. And enough to make me want to avoid any gluten-loaded food to avoid the unpleasant days that follow such food intake.
So no gluten? What it really means is no food that has wheat, oat, barley and rye... so yes, no bread, no wheat-pasta, no pastry made with wheat flour...  Pff!! "How limitative!!", might you say? 
After a few weeks, I can tell you that this is absolutely not limitative as long as, comme toujours,  you are willing to adapt. When you cook for yourself eating gluten-free is not an issue at all, especially if you live in the US where most supermarkets now carry gluten-free options. When you think about it you can choose from: rice, wild rice, buckwheat (which despite its name does not contain wheat), millet, corn, quinoa, lentils, dry beans, potatoes and all the fruits, nuts, and vegetables you want. Nothing to make you go hungry!
It becomes tricky when you eat out or are invited over: your traditional American-Italian restaurant is a poor option but Japanese restaurants are a good one! Worse comes to worse, you eat the filling of a sandwich and not the bread or you settle on a salad without the croutons!
The hardest to give up at this stage? Bread, definitively! I did try to start a new gluten-free starter but my two tentatives with buckwheat flour failed; I have read that some people have been successful with brown rice flour, which is what I will try once temperatures are lower (too much heat killed my starter last Summer). I am also working on a decent crust recipe that could be good enough to make quiches.
As for dessert? Sorbets are always a good option; so are French macarons or crèmes brûlées when available (if they put anything to artificially thicken the custard, it is corn starch)...  So nothing to feel deprived of! Honestly! It's just hard to explain to people who are not aware of what gluten is but once you give them alternative options, then they are generally OK. The worst are the people who doubt that you can have a sensitivity! I just wished them not to have any!! 
I was lucky to find gluten-free oats in a Natural Store close to us in Philadelphia. That way, I am able to eat gluten-free oatmeal in the morning and to make my granola recipe gluten-free... or to use gluten-free oats in this crumble recipe. Unlike other crumble recipes that call on butter and wheat flour, oats and oil are used in this recipe instead (hence the "healthier" title). You don't have to make it with gluten-free oats if you and your family have no gluten sensitivity but if you do (or want to experiment something different ), this is a very good recipe for dessert which you can use all year round. Bon appétit!
Ingredients (inspired from Chocolate & Zucchini)
For the topping:
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) rolled oats
- 100 grams (3.5oz) brown rice flour (or 100 grams AP flour)
- 100 grams (3.5 oz) cane brown sugar
-  80 ml (2.7 Floz or 1/3 cup) neutral oil (I generally use canola)
- 1/2 ts cinnamon
- 1/2 ts salt
- Another spice of your choice (I generally use cardamon or just lemon zest)

For the filling:
- 4/5 medium apples
-  2 stalks of rhubarb, cleaned and cut into small pieces
- 100 gr (3.5 oz) Brown cane sugar
  • Prepare the topping and let it cool in the fridge for about 2-3 hours (I generally make it the day before)
  • Preheat oven to 360F
  • Cut all the fruits in small pieces and mix them with the sugar.
  • Put in invidual dish or in a deep dish
  • Cover with the topping
  • Bake in the oven for about 40 mns

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