Valentine’s day is right around the corner, and those of us with celiac or gluten and dairy intolerance are wondering just what we are going to do about it.
My husband and I have gone out to dinner in the past, and aside from the food intolerance which wasn’t a factor then, we found the food mediocre, the service lacking, and the ambience blah.
This year I am doing something very ambitious. I am making beef wellington. To anyone who has watched either Master Chef or Hell’s Kitchen, you have seen this made hundreds of times. It is one of Gordon Ramsey’s signature dishes. And it is a bear to make correctly, even if it has wheat flour pastry. Making it gluten free is I am sure something that Gordon has never done before. Others have, and there are about a thousand ways to make the puff pastry. And since I can’t eat butter, I would have to use dairy free spread, which I have read will work. As long as it is solid when it is cold.
In most cases when I cook or bake, I combine aspects of different recipes to suit me. It’s something I have learned to do. In this case, I think it’s absolutely necessary.
There are several schools of thought on this. One is to make traditional puff pastry using gluten free flour. This takes several days or hours, because you have to incorporate butter (or some other fat) into the pastry in “turns”. After reading very detailed and complicated posts on this, I decided against it. I want to be ambitious, not crazy. Here is a video on “how-to” if you are so inclined.
Then there is the “rough pastry method”. In other words, you mix the fat into the pastry dough and then cover the beef with it. This is still pretty involved:
Gluten-Free Rough Puff Pastry- here is the link to the page
adapted from David Lebovitz’s Whole Wheat Puff Pastry recipe from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes
It begins as butter chunks and flour, then ends as a pliable dough, ready to go. It’s magic. Truly.
Now, it’s yours. You’ll notice I have suggested substitute flours in the recipe in case you cannot eat one of these. Bake by weight and you’ll be able to play.
Play and let it be imperfect. Don’t expect to be good at this the first time. I promise you this is a project you will master eventually. Allow yourself time in front of the kitchen counter, more than just once. And then let me know how it goes.
345 grams (3/4 pound or 1 1/2 cups or 3 sticks) unsalted butter
137 grams (4 7/8 ounces or 3/4 cup) potato starch (or tapioca flour)
137 grams (4 1/2 ounces or 1 cup) cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
52 grams (1 7/8 ounces or 1/3 cup) superfine brown rice flour (or sorghum)
52 grams (1 7/8 ounces or 1/3 cup) superfine sweet rice flour (or millet flour)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) ice water
Prepping the butter. Cut the butter into 1/2-inch cubes. (I slice each stick into tablespoons, then cut each of those in half.) Arrange them on a plate, making sure they are separated. Put the plate in the freezer until the butter is frozen, at least 1 hour.
Combining the flours. Mix the potato starch, cornstarch, brown rice flour, and superfine sweet rice flour together. Whisk the flours together to aerate them. (I like to whirl the flours in the food processor for a few moments, to fully combine them.) Add the xanthan gum, guar gum, and salt. Stir to combine.
Making the rough dough. Put the combined flours in the bowl of a stand mixer. (This batch was too big for my standard-size food processor, or I might have done it there. You can also do this by hand, with the help of a pastry scraper.) Add the frozen butter. Now, this is where you’re going to think that David Lebovitz and I are crazy. When you turn on the mixer, on the lowest speed, the butter will fly and your stand mixer will sound like it is suffering. Keep going. Turn it off and on a few times until the edges of the butter pieces have started to soften. Turn off the mixer. Pour in the ice water and turn on the mixer again. Let it run until the flours have absorbed the water. This dough is going to look crazy ragged and unfinished.
Rolling out and turning. Pour the dough onto a Silpat or piece of parchment paper about the same size as a Silpat. Knead it together with your hands for a moment or two, just enough to bring it together.
I like to put a piece of parchment paper on top and roll this out to a rough rectangle, with a rolling pin. (Aim for roughly the size of a piece of notebook paper, with just a bit more length.) You might like to pat it down with your hands. Roll from the center outward, going both ways. Take care not to roll over the edges. Go gently.
Gently, using the edges of the Silpat or parchment paper, fold the bottom third of the dough toward the middle, then fold the top third on top of it. Eventually, this will look like a book. Right now, it might be hard to distinguish the folds from each other. Have faith. Proceed.
Rotate the dough one-quarter turn to your right (clockwise). You have now completed one turn.
Again, roll out the dough to roughly the same size as a piece of notebook paper, with just a bit more length. Go gently. This will take your biceps and your patience. In these early turns, you’re going to think this is impossible. Keep going. With each turn, the dough will become smoother and more cohesive. Once you are done rolling, fold the bottom third up, and overlap the top third over it. Try as best you can to align the edges.
Rotate the dough one-quarter turn to your right (clockwise). You have now completed two turns.
Follow the same process, rolling carefully, then turning, until you have completed four turns. Believe it or not, by the time you are done with the fourth turn, the dough will look like the photograph in the bottom right-hand corner. (I cut the ragged edges off in that one, to make a nice neat rectangle. You don’t have to do that.)
Wrap the folded dough in plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Finishing the dough. Pull the puff pastry dough out of the refrigerator. Generally, I let it sit on the counter for about 20 minutes before working with it again, since it will be hard from the cold. Don’t let it sit out too long, however. You want the dough to be cold but pliable. Complete the fifth and sixth turns, following the same procedure as above. Wrap the dough in plastic again and refrigerate for at least another 2 hours.
And there you have it. Rough puff pastry, gluten-free.
This batch makes enough for 2 large tarts or 1 beef wellington or 2 salmon en croutes or dozens of little palmiers. Experiment. You’ll find your way.
This dough does well in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for 1 month.
This is the method I will most likely use-here is the link. This is not “puff” pastry, but I am willing to make some concessions.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.