Fare Exchange: Gluten-free guidance and another stab at amaretto pie

We greet another January day with gratitude, and that includes being grateful for you who read.

Included in today's recipes is a missive from Marilyn Soehl, who sends us an occasional Instagram recipe that she has tested and approved. Those irresistible photos, the satisfied smile of the cook and taster, and the usual superlatives ("This is the best ever," "My family wants this dish every night" and the like) are tempting.

(READ MORE: Checking out the TikTok pasta craze)

Yet for this writer, they don't replace your opinions, because you are my people. Please let us know how you use the web as a recipe file. Whom do you trust? Can you narrow things down from the vast reaches of the world's video kitchens and warm them up on YOUR local stovetop?

And if you are a feta cheese fan, please heed this request. "Regular Reader" ended up with a gracious plenty of feta cheese and doesn't know what to do with it. "The expiration date is pretty far in the future, so I can wait for ideas and recipes using feta, if your readers will send them, like maybe a recipe for whipped feta."


Valerie Bowers has been watching your interest in gluten-free recipes and speaks from authority, research and practice.

(READ MORE: Blackwell: Carving Rock Kitchen eager to bring the gluten-free baked goods)

She sent first "an informational 'recipe' for generally eating gluten-free." (To whet your appetite, we promise her sausage ball recipe made with almond flour in Fare Exchange next week.)

"The best gluten-free recipes are your family's favorites, and it's fairly simple to adjust ingredients to accommodate a gluten-free (GF) diet without giving up meals your family loves. Flour is often the most common ingredient replaced. A recent Food Network article found that Bob's Red Mill GF 1-to-1 baking flour was the top favorite in their test kitchen, followed by King Arthur GF all-purpose flour and budget-brand Krusteaz GF all-purpose flour. I believe all are available in area grocery stores. I don't want gluten-free to be mysterious or hard for someone struggling with a health issue."

Recipe for Eating Gluten Free (information gleaned from verywelleating.com and Harvard.edu):

› Ingredients: READ LABELS. From soy sauce to beer, soups to ice cream, so many processed foods contain gluten or are processed in facilities that also process gluten-containing products. You can find gluten-free substitutes for most recipe ingredients you use. Look for a GF label on the package. Not sure? These ingredients contain gluten: barley, durum, einkorn, emmer and Khorasan (kamut) wheats, farina, graham, malt, rye, semolina, spelt, triticale, wheat and wheat berries. Gluten-free grains include amaranth, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, quinoa, rice, sorghum and teff. Flours made from other plant sources such as almonds and coconut are also gluten-free. There are some additives that contain gluten.

If you have celiac disease or cannot tolerate any amount of gluten, consult your doctor about those.

› Directions: COOK FROM SCRATCH as much as possible. Fruits, vegetables, raw unprocessed beef, pork, poultry, fish and eggs, as well as beans, lentils, peas, nuts and seeds are all healthy gluten-free options. There are so many prepared gluten-free products available: breads, crackers, snacks, mixes. Some are healthy. Many are junk food. Again, read the label ingredients.


Ray Neal continued the amaretto pie discussion, going for authenticity and taste. This one, he wrote, is "as close to the Mount Vernon's as you can get."

Amaretto Cream Pie

This pie has a luscious, custardy filling with a subtle amaretto flavor in a simple baked almond cookie crust.

For the shortbread-almond crust:

5 ounces shortbread cookies (20 Lorna Doone cookies)

1 cup sliced almonds

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the cookies until crumbly. Add the almonds, and pulse 4 to 5 times in quick bursts. Add the melted butter, and pulse just until combined.

Firmly press the crumb mixture into bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. Refrigerate until firm, 20 to 30 minutes. Bake until lightly browned and set, about 10 minutes. Cool while preparing the filling.

For the amaretto filling:

3 large egg yolks

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup cornstarch

1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

2 3/4 cups whole milk

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup amaretto liqueur

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks until blended. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, salt, cornstarch and flour. Whisk in the milk.

Cook the milk mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and starts to boil. (This may take about 15 minutes.) Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly, then remove from the heat (leave the stovetop turned on).

While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle half the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolks. Add the blended egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot custard. Return to the heat, and boil 2 minutes more, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Reduce the heat if needed.

Remove from the heat and blend in the butter, vanilla extract and amaretto. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.

For the topping:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract

1/2 cup sliced almonds for garnish

In a large cold mixing bowl using an electric mixer, beat the cream on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla or almond extract and beat on high until firm peaks form. Dollop the whipped cream on top of the pie filling. Garnish with sliced almonds.

Notes: To help achieve lofty, fluffy whipped cream, chill your bowl and beaters in the freezer before mixing. Keep pie refrigerated.


As aforepromised, here is one of Marilyn Soehl's recipes, "a mix of Instagram and elsewhere." As she explained, "It doesn't really simplify to get an Instagram recipe. I had to ask questions, read the answers to others' questions and read two other recipes before I had a recipe that satisfied me. Even then, it's a little hard to get the soup in the bottom of everybody's bowl and the crusty bread on the top of each. Next time I will make a separate set of cheese-topped, broiled French bread slices to pass with the soup."

Slow Cooker French Onion Soup

10 to 15 onions, sliced (I use a mandoline for slicing)

1 teaspoon Italian herbs

Fresh thyme or any other herb

1 cup white wine

1 bay leaf

Salt and pepper

2 to 3 garlic cloves

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup butter

4 cups of beef stock

6 thick slices of dry French bread

1 1/2 cups grated cheese (Gruyere is my favorite, but you can use Swiss, Parmesan, mozzarella)

Slice all the onions up. If you do this by hand, you will cry.

Add to the slow cooker with the onions the Italian herbs, thyme, white wine, bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and butter. Cook for 8 to 10 hours on high. Remove fresh herbs and bay leaf. Add beef stock, and heat on high for 30 minutes. Top with bread, covering the surface of the soup, and your favorite grated cheese. Remove slow cooker insert, and, watching carefully, put under the oven broiler until cheesy bread is browned, maybe 2 to 3 minutes.

Scoop out soup and bread into individual bowls.

Makes 6 servings.

Next week? Let's.


— Reliable web recipes

— Feta cheese uses

To Reach Us:

Fare Exchange is a longtime meeting place for people who love to cook and love to eat. We welcome both your recipes and your requests. Be sure to include precise instructions for every recipe you send, and know we cannot test the recipes printed here.

Mailing address: Jane Henegar, 913 Mount Olive Road, Lookout Mountain, GA 30750

Email: chattfare@gmail.com

  photo  Jane Henegar

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