One of my favorite things to sink my teeth into is a nice pastry. Something about that rich, flaky texture that melts in your mouth goes perfectly with a latte in the morning or as an afternoon pick-me-up. Pastries are also yet another set of gluten-free enigmas. It seems that replicating that same texture and taste without using any gluten-containing ingredients is a feat seldom accomplished but always in high demand.
First, some good news: There are tons of gluten-free baking mixes out there, and some very good ones at that. The is a great resource for finding the best mixes available at grocery stores near you. Some of our favorite gluten-free mixes around here are made by King Arthur. Experimenting with the gluten-free pastry thing in the comfort of your own kitchen is easier now than it has ever been.
The Gluten Free Girl (from one of the gluten-free community’s favorite blogs, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef) has a post with a great gluten-free puff pastry). She uses a mixture of potato starch, cornstarch, superfine brown rice flour, superfine sweet rice flour, xanthan gum, butter, water, and guar gum to create a pastry that has gotten rave reviews from her readers. Gluten-Free Girl does have a fairly discerning palate—after all, she is married to a chef!
Of course, one reason why I love pastries so much is that they’re a treat I enjoy outside the house, either in a coffee shop or bakery. Not being much of a chef or a baker myself, I also like the fact that I don’t have to slave for hours in the kitchen every time I want just one scone or croissant or danish. In order to enjoy pastries in this way, those on gluten-free diets have to get a bit creative, either by buying gluten-free goodies online in smaller quantities, or by finding a specialty bakery nearby. A couple of great online bakeries to order from are Deby’s Gluten-Free and Babycakes NYC. The 5th edition of our Gluten-free Restaurant Guide includes hundreds of bakeries nationwide that sell fresh-made, gluten-free breads, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, pastries, bagels, pizza dough, and more.
The gluten-free pastry conundrum is not easily solved. Hopefully, though, this will help a bit in your search for the ever-elusive gluten-free pastry that does not resemble cardboard.
Readers, we would love to hear your best gluten-free pastry recipes and favorite baking mixes. Feel free to post your excellent ideas here!