What are the Different Types of Gluten-Free Desserts?

Janis Adams

While most would consult a recipe book to find a gluten-free dessert, some of the most popular still prove to be fruit with syrup or ice cream. Another popular choice is the exquisitely elegant pavlova, which is a nest of meringue filled with creme fraiche and fruit or even chocolate morsels. Rice pudding or baked custard are also both choices that prove to be gluten-free. These two options can be served either hot or cold. There are many options for gluten-free desserts, and they do not always have to mimic those desserts that traditionally contain gluten.

Gelatin is a gluten-free dessert.
Gelatin is a gluten-free dessert.

A gluten-free dessert is any dessert that does not contain gluten, the protein composite found in wheat, barley, and rye. A gluten-free dessert as described by the FDA is one that does not contain any wheat of any variety or any barley, rye, or any of their crossbred varieties. Gluten-free desserts can range from chocolate cake to linzer tortes. By definition, their only qualification is that they contain no gluten or gluten products.

Millet can be used to make gluten-free flour for pastries.
Millet can be used to make gluten-free flour for pastries.

Gluten-free desserts have gained popularity due to the fact that more and more people are being diagnosed with some degree of gluten intolerance or allergy. Gluten-free desserts are fast becoming featured items in bakeries and at restaurants. Gluten-free desserts can prove to be a bit more difficult or tricky desserts to make than those containing gluten. The reason that gluten-free desserts are difficult to make is that gluten aids in the rising of those desserts made from dough. Gluten is also one of the important components in bringing or adding shape to baked good and also gives an elasticity and suppleness to dough so that it is not tough. For these reasons, careful considerations must be taken to supplement ingredients that will address each of the issues caused by the lack of gluten in a dessert recipe.

Carob is often used as a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to traditional chocolate.
Carob is often used as a gluten-free, dairy-free alternative to traditional chocolate.

Cakes and pie crusts can still be made while maintaining the gluten-free requirement. The challenge is to learn the tricks to make the pastry maintain the same consistency as those that contain gluten. The key is largely in the choice and quality of the gluten-free flour used when making the recipe. It is better to splurge on the highest quality flour than to skimp on a lesser priced item and end up with a cake that is hard and does not rise or a gooey pie crust verses a light and flaky one.

Some storefront bakeries specialize in gluten-freeakespies, breads, and other baked goods.
Some storefront bakeries specialize in gluten-freeakespies, breads, and other baked goods.

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