Adventures in gluten free pastry

I decided I need more “things that loosely fall into the category of donuts” in my life. I used to adore French Crullers, which (I’ve now learned) are made from pâte à choux. Never one to jump into a hobby halfheartedly, I ordered a copy of Mastering the Art of French Pastry and have made my first, semi-successful attempt! The book itself is conveniently divided into three sections:

  1. pastry doughs
  2. batters and cakes
  3. fillings and toppings

The doughs are further divided into three sections, which could be translated into:

  1. “Lining pastries”: probably will be fine gluten free
  2. “flaky pastry doughs”: requires a decent amount of gluten, so don’t bother
  3. “leavened pastry doughs”: requires an excess of gluten, so don’t bother

While the batters (and fillings, of course) are practically GF already, or very easily adaptable. Batters includes pound cakes, sponge cakes, meringues, and pâte à choux, most of which rely heavily on eggs for structure rather than gluten!

They are obviously nothing like crullers in shape, but I’m counting them as vaguely successful since:

  • they taste delicious!
  • they more or less behaved correctly (at least, they behaved as overly-runny choux pastry is expected to). I weighed all the ingredients and used my “go-to” gluten free blend* (with 1/8 tsp xanthan gum for the 150g flour)
  • I managed to not ruin the pan making the caramel sauce
  • did I mention they taste good?

Notes for next time:

  • The batter was too runny: probably I put in too much egg (I struggle with meting out small amounts of beaten egg, so I have some technique to work on there).
  • I over cooked the caramel blond, and had strings of caramel across the kitchen, and when I eat one of them, the caramel layer peels off into a painfully chewy thing that remains in the mouth to be eaten after the pastry is chewed
  • I melted my oven knobs!!! The instructions said to bake at 400F with the oven door propped open a tiny bit with a wooden spoon. This melted the bottom side of all my stove/oven knobs. Maybe they have better knobs in French kitchens??
  • Need to find a better technique for getting the batter into the piping bag!

My gluten free flour blend that works for almost everything (cookies, cakes, roux/white sauce):

By weight:

  • 40% sorghum/millet/brown rice in some combination
  • 30% starch (potato, arrowroot, tapioca in some combination)
  • 25% almond flour
  • 5% sweet white rice

When I make it up, I actually use these amounts (hilariously, I use a mix of english and metric! Who says I’m not cosmopolitan?):

  • 1 bag Bob’s Red Mill sorghum (23oz)
  • 1 bagBob’s Red Mill millet (22oz)
  • 1 bagBob’s Red Mill potato starch (24oz)
  • 1/2 bag Bob’s Red Mill tapioca starch (need 10 oz)
  • 797g almond flour
  • 159g sweet white rice flour

I find all sorghum or all millet give too strong a taste to the flour, but the mix is somehow completely neutral. It has been 9 years since I tasted wheat, though, so I might not be the most reliable judge.