Our trip to mainland Portugal was a food adventure to be sure. We always ask for, but rarely get, all the special secrets for some of the dishes we try. BUT, a generous chef at a Porto bed & breakfast not far from the train station, shared this wonderful vegetable recipe with us.
Sheila replicated it at home, so we know the cook authentically shared her list of ingredients. We came up with the proportions ourselves, but after our usual trial-and-error tasting sessions, it now looks and tastes the same as the original to us. They served it at breakfast alongside the eggs and pastries, but we have enjoyed it at every meal of the day.
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Sheila and I really enjoy eating pancakes on the weekends, and even sometimes during the week for dinner. But then, who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner? One of our friends has started a gluten-free diet and asked Sheila if she had a gluten-free version of our pancakes. We didn’t at the time, but Sheila played around with the basic eggs, flour, milk, and butter recipe and came up with this one. We tried pea flour, but that batch wound up tasting like hummus.
There was lots of taste testing and I think the final version is pretty good served with butter and syrup. They are thin, not puffy.
An interesting discovery was that these can become a bread substitute by adding rosemary or other herbs to the mix. They don’t really stand up to a hefty sandwich, but work nicely as a substitute for rolls with dinner.
1Tablespoon1 softened margarine for coating frying pan – butter will burn
Mix all dry ingredients together.
Slowly add water while whisking to keep the mixture from clumping.
Add almond oil and whisk until thoroughly mixed.
Add vanilla and whisk until blended.
Add egg and whisk until mixed.
Heat frying pan on medium, add margarine and spread to cover bottom of pan. As soon as margarine starts to bubble, begin to make pancakes.
Flip when pancake edges begin to dry and surface bubbles. Done when lightly browned on both sides, about a minute or two each side, depending on the heat of your stove top.
Remove to plate and serve immediately.
Recipe tips:Making the herb-seasoned variety? Add a teaspoon of dried rosemary or other herbs to the dry ingredients. Prep and cooking is the same. This gluten-free batter should be stirred just before cooking each batch, since the rice flour tends to sink to the bottom of the bowl. Can be reheated in toaster.Can be frozen, but separate each pancake with foil before putting in freezer containers. If left in pile on covered plate in refrigerator, can be kept for four days.
We like chocolate cake and we also like brownies because of the denser consistency. But, if we wanted to have a gluten-free chocolate dessert, neither one of Sheila’s go-to recipes would quite work. Sheila played around with some ingredients for the flavor she wanted, and then we both taste-tested the results.
After we poured the cherry juice over the cherries on top of the chilled torte, the dessert was a lot like a mousse in texture. We ate it with and without the juice, with and without the foam, with and without the ice cream. We taste-tested our way through the entire dessert while the photos were taken. My tummy liked it all.
12 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate, broken into sections
1/2 cup whipped butter
6 egg yolks
2 cups brown sugar
3 Tablespoons brewed dark roast coffee
2 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
5 egg whites
3/4 cup fine almond flour
4 cups frozen cherries, pitted
1/4 cup water
Preheat oven to 325.
Lightly grease sides and bottom of a springform cake pan with butter or margarine and dust with cocoa powder.
Place 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate and whipped butter in the top of a double boiler, melt, and whisk together by hand until thoroughly mixed together. Remove from heat.
Using large bowl, an electric mixer, and whisk attachment, whip egg yolks, 1 cup of the sugar, coffee, 1.5 teaspoons of the almond extract, and sea salt until thick and creamy.
Add chocolate/butter mixture and continue to mix until blended.
In a separate bowl and with a clean whisk, beat the egg whites until fluffy, about a minute. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the brown sugar and beat for another two minutes or until peaks form. (Should be stiff enough that a spoonful of the mixture will stay in the spoon when held upside down)
Fold the almond flour into the egg whites, then carefully fold that mixture into the entire chocolate mix.
Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan. There may be lots of bubbles in the mixture. If so, gently, but firmly bounce the pan on the counter once or twice to break up most of them.
Place the pan on a cookie sheet in the middle of the oven and bake until the center puffs and cake edges pull away from the pan, about 40-45 minutes.
Remove pan from oven, place on cooling rack for 40 minutes. As it cools, the center of the torte will collapse a little, creating a depression in which to put the cherries later.
Place the pan on a flat cake plate/stand and remove the sides.
Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours.
Place cherries, water, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar into a sauce pan and heat on medium heat until sugar melts – about two minutes. Stir.
Place cherries and the resulting juice in a covered container in the refrigerator to soak and chill for two hours.
When chilled, strain the cherries and save the juice.
Spread the cherries evenly in the depression on the top of the torte.
Lovely with ice cream and the cherry juice poured on top.
If you’d like to make the foam shown in the photo below, use the electric mixer and the whisk attachment. Whisk the well-chilled cherry juice until foamy, about two minutes. This only works while the juice is cold, so work quickly. Skim off the foam, about two tablespoons for each slice, and use as a light flavorful topping to the dessert. Or just pour the juice on top of the cherries. The flavor will be the same.