Seems like a bit of an oxymoron using the words dessert and dietary restrictions in the same breath, but in this day and age it happens. More and more people are realizing they've developed an intolerance to various substances that many of us don't even think twice about but maybe we should. I for one feel the effects every time I indulge in an oversized ice cream cone and a caesar salad's absolutely guaranteed to get my attention.
Wheat, dairy and refined sugars were off the list for our dinner guests on Saturday night (Sunday's post), and while coming up with a main course that didn't include any of these items was pretty easy with Coconut Lime Shrimp and a Soba Noodle Salad, coming up with a dessert that suited the occasion took a little more thought.
One of my favorite "go to desserts" is a quick chocolate mousse that includes very few ingredients and provides a lot of decadence in a small serving, so I picked up a rich dark high cocoa content bittersweet chocolate that was marked gluten free and merely substituted unsweetened coconut milk for the usual half and half. Talk about a quirk of fate - the end result is a mousse that tastes exactly like a mounds bar, only it's smooth, creamy and rich. I for one don't think I'll ever make it the old way again.
Our second dessert choice was inspired by a recipe on simplygluten-free.com for Pear Cranberry Almond Crumble. I admit I changed the recipe somewhat and sliced assorted pears mixed with apple cider, lemon juice, cornstarch and a touch of vanilla as well as a handful of sundried cranberries and topped it all off with a crumble made from almond meal, rolled oats, almonds, vanilla, and canola oil and sweetened with real maple syrup, although honey or agave syrup may have been a better choice. Served warm and bubbly it was a nutty perfectly sweet end to our meal.
Just one word though, since I'm honest to a fault. While delicious on its own, I couldn't help but crave a scoop of ice cream on top, so I'll be experimenting on that PDQ.
Dairy Free Rich Chocolate Mousse (a creation from JBug’s Kitchen)
1 – 14 ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (do not use lite)
10 ounces high quality extra dark bittersweet chocolate (dairy free)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg (or equivalent egg substitute)
Heat unsweetened coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium low heat until hot but not boiling. Whisk constantly and be careful not to bring it to a boil or it will curdle. Shave or grate chocolate. In a blender combine grated chocolate, vanilla and egg. With motor running, add hot coconut milk and blend until mixture is smooth. Pour into 6 small ramekins or espresso cups. Refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours). Makes 6 servings.
Gluten, Dairy and Sugar Free Cranberry Almond Crumble (adapted from simplygluten-free.com)
7 medium assorted pears, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider or unsweetened natural apple juice
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 10 inch gratin dish or casserole with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine sliced pears, cider, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt and cranberries. Move to prepared gratin dish and top with crumble mixture. Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until topping is golden brown and pears are soft. Serve warm or at room temperature.
1-1/2 cups almond meal
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup maple syrup, honey or agave syrup
Combine all ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside.