‘Cupcake Wars’ winner shares gluten-free dessert recipe

Some people with vague, undiagnosed illnesses feel better after cutting out gluten, a protein in flour-based foods, said Kyra Bussanich, two time winner of “Cupcake Wars.” Many Americans, including professional athletes and celebrities such as Zooey Deschanel and men’s tennis leader Djovak Nokovic, said they look and perform better since dropping gluten from their diets.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people who commit to a gluten-free lifestyle believe they have to sacrifice their favorite desserts, because gluten-free treats are often loaded with sugar but low on flavor,” said Bussanich,” author of a new, full-color recipe book, “Sweet Cravings: 50 Seductive Desserts for a Gluten-Free Lifestyle” (Ten Speed Press; Random House, Inc.)
Bussanich’s gluten-free cupcakes twice bested their floury competition on “Cupcake Wars” and were a runner-up for the show’s Cupcake Champion. She shares her secrets in recipes such as Mexican Chocolate Baked Alaska, Persian Love Cakes with Cardamom Buttercream and Vanilla Chiffon Cake with Blackberry Coulis.
After suffering a life-threatening illness at 20, Bussanich recovered with the help of a new diet without gluten. She began testing gluten-free recipes while attending the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu patisserie program and later opened her business, Kyra’s Bake Shop.
“My recipes are not good ‘for being gluten-free;’ they’re just good, and that’s why people who eat gluten visit my bakery and order gluten-free desserts,” she said. “For me, being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease allowed me to turn lemons into gluten-free lemon meringue pie!”
She invites anyone who doubts that gluten-free can be delicious to try the following recipe:
6 large tart apples (Pippin or Granny Smith)
1/3 cup sugar, or ¼ cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons tapioca starch
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
Generous pinch salt
3 tablespoons cold butter
½ cup sweet white rice flour
½ cup millet flour
½ cup tapioca starch
1 cup packed golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ cup butter, room temperature
¾ cup gluten-free oats
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core and slice apples into ¼-inch slices. Put apple slices into a large bowl and sprinkle sugar over the top. Add he tapioca starch, cinnamon, five-spice, ginger and salt and toss together to evenly coat apple slices.
Pour into a 9-by-13 baking pan, dot the top with pieces of butter and set aside. To make the topping, combine flours, tapioca starch, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, five-spice and ginger in a mixing bowl. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix in butter until it is uniformly incorporated into flour mixture. Stir in oats and pecans.
Crumble oat topping evenly over apples. Bake until topping is golden brown and set and the apples are warm and bubbly, 55 to 60 minutes.
You can prepare everything ahead of time. Refrigerate apple filling and keep topping frozen until ready to assemble and bake. Don’t refrigerate unbaked topping overnight since the millet flour will interact with the butter and taste and smell cheesy when it’s baked.
Online: www.kyrasbake shop.com

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