Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Book Review - Episode 2

One of the worst bits of putting my daughters on a gluten-free diet was the sudden loss of  doughnuts.  They love doughnuts.  In fact, last week when the Wee Princess was headed to the local orchard on a school field trip, the biggest issue was the fact that the other kids would be getting doughnuts.  So I had to pull out on of my cookbooks to make her some to take along so she wouldn't feel left out.  Since it's out already then, today we'll take a look at Doughnuts: Simple and Delicious Recipes to Make at Home, by Lara Ferroni.  Now, note that this is not a "gluten-free" cookbook, per se.  But Lara gives a nod to the trend by including a basic recipe for a few types of gluten-free doughnuts, as well as a flour mix tailored for doughnuts.  And it does, indeed, work quite a bit better than my usual flour mix in these recipes.


It's clear that Lara spent some time not just perfecting her recipes, but making sure that most of them, at least, would translate well to a gluten-free version.  She also includes a few vegan recipes, though the bulk of the book is less adaptable to vegan baking than to gluten-free baking.

The selections run the gamut from old-fashioned sour cream doughnuts to cultural favorites like sopapillas to clever riffs like the Margarita doughnut.  The book is laid out to first cover the basics of doughnut making, then expand into the doughs necessary for different types.  Her picarones, a type of winter squash fritter from Peru, are on my list to try.  Lara gives instructions for frying in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, but anybody who really wants to make full use of the book will give at least a little thought toward getting a deep fryer.  The ability to more closely control the oil temperature afforded by a good fryer with at least a 4 qt oil capacity makes all of the fried recipes in the book more successful - I've tried it both ways.

After the doughnut types, Lara goes on to share some glazes.  And then gets down to the best part of the book.  She calls it "flavors" - and here she takes her basic recipes and endlessly spins them into delights like "S'mores," "Creme Brulee," and "Chai."

I've tried quite a few of the recipes presented, and have yet to have one fail as long as I used Lara's flour blend.  This probably rates as one of my favorite "single topic" cookbooks.  It has made the transition with me into a gluten-free lifestyle better than most of my other cookbooks.  Truly, "Doughnuts" deserves a spot on the bookshelf of any gluten-free kitchen.

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