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What Is Gluten-Free Pudding?

By Mark Wollacott
Updated May 17, 2024
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A gluten-free pudding is a type of dessert made without gluten-based elements. Gluten is a protein of cereals such as barley and rye. It is used to thicken food products and to make dough stretchier. Some people have diseases, such as Celiac disease, which is eased by a gluten-free diet. Other people are gluten-intolerant, and so desserts such as gluten-free pudding allow such people to enjoy the tastes of good food without the associated problems of gluten.

There are two main types of gluten-free pudding. The first and oldest type is the baked, boiled or steamed pudding. These are a staple of the British diet and have spread across the world, including to America. These are solid sponges made from ingredients such as flour, suet, eggs and butter to make a thick or soft sponge. These can be peppered with raisins like with spotted dick or doused in jam, custard or treacle.

The second and newer type of pudding is a more gelatinous and creamier pudding. These puddings use milk rather than heavier ingredients as their base. These can be made cold or baked. Examples of creamy puddings include the crème caramel, crème brulée, mousse and trifle. They can be eaten alone or combined with other elements such as whipped cream and fruit.

Naturally turning a normal pudding into a gluten-free pudding requires the removal of the gluten, but retention of its function. Gluten often acts as a binding agent in the pudding and this is true of both the traditional heavy pudding and the newer cream pudding. There are a number of gluten-free starches that can be used instead of barley and wheat. These include rice, corn, tapioca and potatoes. There are also gluten-free flours and suets.

One example of using a gluten-free product to make a gluten-free pudding is the bread pudding. The bread pudding usually requires stale bread made from traditional wheat flour, but rice bread can be used as a substitute. The recipe is unchanged from a traditional bread pudding, provided the other ingredients are also gluten-free.

Rice can also be turned into flour to make gluten-free rice flour. There are other grains that are gluten-free that can be turned into flour such as buckwheat, millet and nut flour. These can be used to make crumbles and cobblers when combined with fruits and vegetables such as apples, rhubarb, gooseberries and summer fruits. Cobblers can also be made using gluten-free suet.

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