the celiac kid.

A recent comment just reminded me that for the majority of my pre-teen life, I was a celiac kid. It's something I don't think about much these days, because I grew out of it, but I have quite a few crystal-clear recollections of those days.

My quintessential celiac memory is of a hamburger. Or many hamburgers, served on a bread that must have been made with rice flour (care to comment, Pitts?). The bread could probably be described as ethereal, but not at all in a good way. You could take two, maybe three bites of these burgers before the Styrofoam-like bread started to develop serious fault lines, and then seconds later the whole sandwich would come crashing down onto the plate in a rain of squeaky crumbs.

You'd then take the biggest sections of bread and try to make mini-burgers out of them, reapplying your ketchup and mustard for better adhesion, but those pieces would break too, and in the end you'd be forcefully pressing pieces of hamburger patty into piles of crumbs, trying to get them to stick to the meat so as to end up with a bite that had that burger-y taste...


Oh, how times have changed. I also used to be stick-thin, quite possibly b/c I could never quite get my sandwiches into my mouth before the bread disintegrated. But I do wonder sometimes what my celiac diet would look like these days.

Mara's lemon meringue tartlettes from last night could almost be on the menu. The lemon filling is gluten-free (and the highlight of the whole dessert for me), made from sugar, corn starch, water, egg yolks, butter, and lemon zest/juice; the meringue is just egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar; that leaves only the pastry to deal with.

We used standard frozen puff pastry, but I saw a gluten-free pastry here that looked good: corn starch, coconut, butter, and milk powder. But really? The pastry was the least important part of these things, you (or at least I) could totally skip it.

Oh, by the way, there's a new Gluten-Free category on this blog, I'll be re-tagging things slowly.


lemon meringue tartlettes.

1 cup raw cane sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups boiling water
4 average-sized eggs, separated
2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tsp finely finely minced lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice

pinch of cream of tartar
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

(and here's the cop-out, which also makes it non gluten-free, unless you use a gluten-free pie crust like this one)

1 recipe flaky pie crust or 1 package frozen puff pastry
these two options will give you very different results...the puff pastry we used was pleasantly light and crunchy after baking:

But I can also see how the relative denseness of a flaky pie crust would be nice too. We also did two ramekins with the lemon filling and the meringue and no crust at all, and I liked these just as much.

Anyway, once you've figured out what you're doing for a crust, preheat the oven to 175C and make the filling: combine sugar, cornstarch, salt, and boiling water in a small saucepan and cook until smooth and thick, 10 or 15 minutes, stirring often. When you're not stirring, beat the egg yolks until smooth.

When the cornstarch mixture is thick, turn off the heat. Take half a cup of the hot cornstarch mixture and mix it into the beaten yolks, then immediately stir that whole mixture back into the hot cornstarch mixture until thick and nicely blended. Got it?

Put the whole shebang back on low heat, add the butter and cook, stirring, until smooth and quite hot, 5 minutes or so. Add lemon zest and juice, stir well, and remove from heat.

For the meringue: beat egg whites with a pinch of salt and a pinch of cream of tartar until foamy. Add confectioner's sugar gradually and keep beating until stiff peaks form.

Ja. Then assemble: you've got your muffin tin cups filled with a bit of crust or puff pastry, right? Now put something like a tablespoon of filling on top of each tartlette base, then something like a tablespoon of meringue on top...but your measurements will depend on the size of your cups (ladies?). Remember that the only part you're cooking by now is the meringue, and it will pretty much hold whatever shape you form it into, so...yeah. Once you're all assembled, bake for 7 or 8 minutes, until meringue is lightly browned.



Angela Rhodes said...

hehehe I have actually stopped eating bread all together, the gluten free bread you can buy in the store is always as heavy as a brick :D

I will definitely try making the tartlettes if you post the recipe and let you know how it goes!

Thanks for posting this! :)

angela said...

Thanks for the recipe!! Actually, this month we're having a thanksgiving/christmas feast I will make the meringue tarts for desert, I will let you know how it goes, and also how my test runs go :)