Gluten Free Desserts
Gluten allergy and gluten intolerance are becoming a more recognized condition both in the US and in Italy. Some speculate that it is on the rise because of the hybridization of the wheat plant. Now, even in Italy where pasta and pizza reign supreme, it is possible to find restaurants advertising gluten free menus and entire end caps in the grocery store stocked with gluten free cookies, crackers, and pasta. What is a real bonus, for dolce lovers; however, is the fact that there are a number of spectacular Italian desserts which are made with no flour. You do not need to be gluten intolerant to love these wonderful dessert recipes. They are among my favorites.
Orange Almond Torte
This torta is essentially made with an orange, almonds, sugar and eggs. It contains no flour and no butter or oil. It does take some time to prepare, but the results are well worth the effort.
Click on the photo for the recipe
Brutti ma Buoni (Ugly but Good)
Brutti ma Buoni cookies differ in each region of Italy. When I make these and tell my Italian neighbors and friends in Le Marche that they are Brutti ma Buoni they tell me that they are meringues. This is a wonderful flour-less cookie that will melt in your mouth. It also contains chocolate which is not usually in the typical version. In some areas, the cookie will be made with hazelnuts, and you could substitute hazelnuts for the almonds.
This torta caprese is made from only ground almonds, eggs, sugar, butter and some olive oil. While most recipes would use only butter, I prefer to cut down on the fat content and particularly the animal fat, so I have used olive oil to replace half of the butter. The recipe is rather simple to make but does take a little time as you must toast the almonds and let them cool before grinding them in a food processor, and the baking time is approximately 50 minutes. The torta is very dense and loaded with chocolate. Click photo for recipe.
This is another spectacular cookie made essentially from egg whites, sugar and finely ground almonds. These require that the dough be refrigerated for at least one hour or preferably longer, so consider this when you are planning to make them. They are a soft and chewy amaretti that is a favorite among my neighbors. Click photo for the recipe.
Chocolate and Hazelnut Meringues
Who says gluten free has to be boring? With these cookies you will not miss the flour at all. They are one of my favorite cookies. They are soft and chewy and the chocolate and hazelnuts combine for an amazing flavor experience. If hazelnuts are difficult to find, you could substitute finely ground almonds. Click the photo for the recipe.