At FACCWDW, I had a chance to listen to Laurie Sadowski aka The Allergy-Free Cook. She talked all about substitutions when baking gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free (aka celiac and vegan). I picked up her 2nd book in the The Allergy-Free Cook series,The Allergy-Free Cook Bakes Cakes & Cookies. I was stoked when she reached out to me about reviewing her newest book “The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts.”
As you know, I’m not great in the kitchen. And I’m not awesome at cookbooks either – I’m all about not following the recipes, taking shortcuts, and avoiding using any heavy-duty kitchen equipment with terrifying sharp blades. But, I hope to put these aside when I review cookbooks – and especially cookbooks that require specific ingredients and techniques (aka stop being scared of the food processor, Erica).
Fair warning, her recipes call for numerous types of flour. Now, if I was my usual half-caring about a recipe, I would have just used all-purpose gluten-free baking flour (the kind that has a ton of mixtures of flour in it, plus a gum). However, I went to the store and purchased sorghum flour (Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free) and used it for the recipe I created from the book. Flour she routinely uses throughout the book (so you can stock-up before you bake) are sorghum, teff, tapioca flour, quinoa flour, and millet flour (and arrowroot starch and gums too). I thought it was going to be really overwhelming buying all these different flours, but it’s really easy to use the same three of four alternative flours throughout the book.
I really like that all of her recipes are dairy-free and egg-free (as well as soy-free) on top of being gluten-free – it’s definitely helpful to someone like me who usually subs out the diary and the egg. I also really like that there are over 20 pages of tips and tricks to help navigate gluten-free or food-allergy substitutions. I’ve learned a lot from hearing her speak in public as well as from this intro section of her book.
She gives you the breakdown on how the make the perfect crust – even three ways to create it (hand, food processor, and stand mixer). She talks about par baking and even includes a troubleshooting chart for pie baking. She does the same for tarts, cheesecakes, ice creams, etc. throughout the book. And that’s what I like about what Laurie does – she thinks about all the things that can go wrong and helps you navigate through baking these for the first time.
The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts features over 60 recipes. Some of the stand-out recipes for pies, cheesecakes, tarts, and assorted goodies that she has in this book include:
- Deep-dish apple crumb pie
- Fresh strawberry pie with almond crust (a VERY simple recipe – thankfully)
- Peanut butter blondie pie with cocoa crust
- Pumpkin cream cheesecake
- Peanut butter and jam tarts
- Blueberry toaster pastries
- Maple-apple-pecan crisp (I made this)
- Deep-dish chocolate chip cookie bowls
It might just be me, but some of the recipes are also pretty whacky and non-traditional (perhaps it’s the Canadian author?). Check out these unique recipes. And no, I don’t know what they are, so ask a real baker (or real Canadian):
- Strawberry-rhubarb snickerdoodle cobbler
- Pear-cardamom pandowdy (what?!?!?)
- Nova Scotian blueberry grunt
- Old-fashioned raisin pie
- Better than butter tarts
- Sticky molasses shoofly tarts
My biggest issue with her books is that there is NO PHOTOGRAPHY. There are photos, but they aren’t of the items. Nothing really has a photo that tells you what it should look like. That might not bother true bakers who are looking just for recipes, but I eat with my eyes. I also bake with my eyes – and I want to know if my recipe actually turns out right. Sure, it can taste good, but it might look like dog crap unless someone tells me the best way to plate it – visually, not just with written instructions. That’s what I’m missing from these books. If you want photos of what the item is supposed to look like, this isn’t the book series for you.
To purchase her book on Amazon, visit here: The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Soy-Free.
Here are some photos of my experience cooking through the Maple-apple-pecan crisp recipe in the book. I loved it, nonGFBF loved it – overall I would definitely make it again. Then again, I also chose one of the easier recipes that only required one type of flour (sorghum), instead of her typical three types used in the other recipes.
To learn more about Laurie, read her bio here: http://theallergyfreecook.com/about-the-author/
TO PURCHASE THE BOOK ON AMAZON – CLICK THRU WIDGET
**DISCLAIMER I was given Laurie’s newest book – reviewed here – for free, but I have purchased her cookie book during FACCWDW. This book was given to me so I could review it here for you guys. This does not affect the quality of the review.**
**DISCLAIMER The links in this review are Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase the book through these links, I may get a kickback.**