Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gluten Free Crepes and Ham Bread Pudding

I have recently written about both these foods: Crepes and Ham Bread Pudding. The Dacotah Prairie Museum asked me to put on a cooking presentation, making foods for a "Sunny Summer Patio Brunch". This event took place yesterday at The Granary, a Rural Cultural Center in the nearby town of Groton. The foods demonstrated were a Ham and Feta Bread Pudding, (a variation of the Ham and Blue Cheese Bread Pudding I had created earlier), a Fruit and Vegetable Salad and Crepes with Ricotta Cream Cheese Filling for dessert. To start out the presentation I made the pretty Edible Fruit Centerpiece, also described in a recent blog.

Edible Fruit Centerpiece
Going back over these recipes, I knew one of the young women working at the Dacotah Prairie Museum has gluten sensitivity, and if something is presented that has gluten, such as the ham bread pudding and the crepes, she would not be able to partake of the food. With her in mind, along with the great possibility of others present with this sensitivity, I had wanted to test making the Ham and Feta Bread Pudding using gluten-free bread. 

I had never used gluten free bread before. I was unsure of the texture and feel of what it would be. Would it absorb the milk and eggs properly? Would it end up too custard-like without regular wheat breads? Though a bread pudding is a custard based food, too much liquid to bread ratio would give too much room for an egg custard rather than the creamy bread texture from a really good bread pudding recipe. I could have made gluten free bread, and i am sure it would have made a wonderful bread pudding. Most people though, would not take the time to make their own bread before attempting a bread pudding. I had to be able to find the ingredients locally. I asked Marianne at the museum which bread she usually used and her first recommendation was Udi's. Available locally, I went and bought a loaf to test this out. 
Gluten Free Ham and Feta Bread Pudding

I wanted the bread pudding to still be warm when I took it in for the presentation. Though I could have mixed all the ingredients for the recipe the night before, I also wanted there to be some texture to the finished product, so I cut the bread cubes the evening before and covered the bowl on the counter. In a refrigerator container I pre-mixed the ham, Feta, scallions, white raisins, salt, nutmeg & pepper. I pre-mixed the eggs and milk and refrigerated those separately. Yesterday morning when I woke at 6 AM, I went straight to  he kitchen and preheated the oven. I uncovered the bread cubes, added in the two refrigerated containers and mixed it all well. This went into a casserole and into the oven less than 15 minutes later. While I continued on to get myself ready for the day, the casserole baked. It was done by the time I came back into the kitchen for breakfast. It smelled heavenly and looked wonderful. I had high hopes. 

Marianne had not known I planned to make this separate bread pudding, and she came to thank me for thinking of her. As it turned out, the recipe held no glitches. It was perfect and just as good as its wheat-based counterpart.

Making Gluten-Free Crepes: note the lacy holes
The other thing I had wanted to test was making the crepes gluten free. Using a 1:1 substitution of my 6:2:1 Mixture all-purpose gluten free flour for regular all-purpose flour in the recipe, I made the crepe recipe as it stands, only adding 1/2 teaspoon of guar gum to the recipe. The only difference I found was that the gluten free crepes took a trifle longer to set completely, and they tended to be more difficult to lift from the pan's surface. The crepe batter in the pan made many little holes, creating a very lacy pattern at the edges. Still, none of these gluten free crepes were torn or otherwise unusable, so I consider that a good recipe. The flavor was great. I know Marianne was not the only one to eat the gluten free version of these crepes. All in all, if anyone would be interested in these two recipes gluten free, I can fairly say that they work excellently.

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. I am also on a spiritual journey and hope you will join me at my new blog, An Eagle Flies.