Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review and Giveaway: Laurie Sadowski Pies! Desserts! Tarts!

Laurie Sadowski makes lots of yummy pies and desserts.
I have a rheumatic kind of arthritis in my lower spine, so I'm not supposed to be eating refined sugar, but seriously there was no way around it last month. If you can't make and eat sweets during the freakin' winter holidays, then pffft. I'm still being really good, so don't rat me out to my rheumatologist--just a bit of dates and coconut sugar here and there, with the very occasional fair trade chocolate chip.

That's one of my favorite things about Laurie Sadowski's baking books (she has three). She recommends using unrefined sweeteners (Sucanat, dates, maple syrup, agave, etc.), but her recipes are fun, unique and super creative. Not dreary at all like these short winter days of ours. But if you prefer to use unbleached cane sugar, go for it. That's how I used to do it, and that works too. And now, I've been using coconut sugar, and still they work. Good times abound.

I've reviewed all of Laurie's books, because they're all XGFX to the MAX and full of seriously creative recipes. You can read about her bread book here, her cookies and cakes book here, and right now I'm gonna get you on track with the last in her Allergy-Free-Cook-Makes trilogy which is dedicated to Pies and Desserts.
Baking is super fun, but baking gluten-free is really only entertaining if you have good recipes to follow. Otherwise it can be brutally frustrating and painfully expensive. Most everything I've ever made from Laurie's books is stellar. And if you're new to baking with natural sugars and gluten-free flours, her recipes steer you along with loads of information and very structured and detailed instructions.

Her latest book is probably my favorite in this series--the recipes are crazy inventive. So far I've baked her Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart (twice when berries were in season, 'cuz it's earth shattering delicious--I wish I had a photo to show it off).

The Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust is my new go-to pie crust. I made it twice using Miyoko's homemade butter, and it's seriously the easiest dough to work with. I'd say it's just a fraction harder than a regular wheaty pie crust. I did have issues over-baking the apple pie recipe my first go round, but I think it's a typo in the book, and not a reflection of the pie crust. It came out great baking at a lower temperature when I used it for an apple-raspberry-chocolate chip galette (riffed off the same recipe).

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
The PB Blondie Pie is just what it sounds like--a very chocolate-y cookie bar baked into a cocoa flavored crust. This sets up very solidly and would be great traveling to a party or bake-sale.

Carrot Cake Tart, up close and personal.
I wish the books in this series had pictures, 'cuz it can be challenging to imagine how a recipe is gonna come out, especially when it's something unique. This Carrot Cake Tart was a happy surprise and a crowd favorite, when I brought it to the Herbivore Holiday Pop-up Shop. It's basically a carrot cake-like batter tucked into a crunchy crust and is seriously a cool recipe that I will be revisiting regularly.

Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie
I burnt the crust on my Apple Crumble Pie, which didn't deter it's demolishment one bit. Plus since I'm a drizzler, I added a bit of Peanut Butter Caramel from Ms. Smlove, and it was delish city. I tried this crust and filling again (but baked it at a lower temperature and for a shorter period this time), but turned it into a galette with chocolate chips and raspberries and it was great.

A few of my favorite things about The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts:
 Each recipe tells you how much of each flour and starch you need. No commercial mixes are called for anywhere in the book, and Laurie doesn't make readers mix up a flour/starch combo to use (and thus store) for the cookbook.  

 Laurie uses some of my favorite XGFX combos. Nothing beats sorghum, teff and tapioca, plus teff and chocolate together forever.

 This book has thorough information on the basics of xgfx scratch baking. My mom could easily handle these recipes. I feel like she'd be able to pop into her Whole Foods, grab what she needed and bake with success.

 These recipes show an impressive amount of creativity and inventiveness..

 There are plenty of fresh fruit recipes for summer months, and more pantry friendly recipes to perk up the colder times of the year.

My wee critiques:
 Since I'm rough with cookbooks (especially baking books), I don't need a book to be gorgeous, but this book could really use photos! I think there are some real gems in here, and I'm afraid I'm gonna miss 'em.

 If you're sensitive to xanthan gum, you'll probably want to play with adjusting the amount in some recipes. 

Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust.
  • Title: Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts
  • Author Laurie Sadowski
  • Blog:   Whisking and Writing
  • Publisher:  The Book Publishing Company
  • What I've Tried:  Carrot Cake Tart, Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie, Teff-Sorghum Pie Crust, Sweet Cherry Cobbler, Peanut Butter Blondie Pie with Cocoa Crust, and Peanut Butter and Jam Tart.
  • Photos:  None
  • Focus:   Vegan and gluten free pies, tarts, cheesecakes, cobblers, puddings, and desserts.
  • 6 Recipes to Intrigue:  Cherry Pie with Cacao Nib Pastry Crust, Chocolate-Hazelnut Truffle Pie, Chocolate Mousse and Brownie Pie, Pistachio-Cherry Ganache Tart, Strawberry Rhubarb Snickerdoodle Cobbler, Strawberry Ice-Cream Sandwiches, and Double Chocolate Raspberry Cobbler.
  • XGFXness:  100% Vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free.
This giveaway is open for a week! If you have a U.S. or Canadian address and wan to enter, simply leave a comment on this post with a way I can reach you. I'll pick a random winner by Midnight Friday, January 23rd. Good wishes for this goooooood book!

Congratulations Josiane! You won a copy of this cookbook!
More Carrot Cake Tart Art.
Deep Dish Apple Crumble Pie.
Disclaimer:  I requested and received a free review copy of The Allergy-Free Cook Makes Pies and Desserts from Book Publishing Company.  No compensation or gift was exchanged for this review, and the opinion posted here is my own.



  1. I don't bake often but my husband loves sweets. I am prone to buying ingredients for gluten-free baking and then keeping them in the back of the refrigerator for a long time. Your photos make me want to use them for these desserts!
    coldgirlfeverblog at gmail dot com

  2. Even though I have a great GF/V pie crust that I love, I can never resist trying new recipes. I also have yet to master GF/V yellow cake that actually tastes good even without frosting. All the recipes you previewed look delicious!

  3. Everything you've tried looks amazing, and among the intriguing recipes you've named, the strawberry-rhubarb cobbler is calling my name loudly! Thank you for the detailed review. You really know how to write a useful review, and I appreciate it. Thanks also for giving us a chance at winning a copy of the book, now that you've convinced us that it'd be a great addition to our bookshelves!

  4. I should have my copy of Teff Love tomorrow and just reading this made me wish I could win this book and have two of my favorite things....Ethiopan Food and Pie!!!

  5. Mmmm, vegan baking! I love a chance to get out my trusty Kitchen Aid and make some deliciousness.

  6. Laura, or Book Publishing Co should hire you -Kittee- to photograph the recipes. I'm sold on the cookbook based on your pictures alone! They're the best! and I'm not even a gluten freer.

  7. Heya Kittee! You had me at Carrot Cake. Or Teff crust ... either way, this book looks amazing!


  8. Super gorgeous photos, Kittee — you sure have a way with baked treats! I tested a bunch of the recipes and they were yummy, but I don't remember my results looking as excellent as yours. :)

  9. I'm interested in GF baking, but I've never tried to make anything that involves specialty flours. I really need to try something out because every GF baked good I've tried has been really good. Just need to remember and find a recipe before I go grocery shopping.
    dumbsnowflake at yahoo dot com

  10. I am intrigued...who can't have more dessert Love inspiration....would love to win - Thank you!

  11. These look like delicious recipes and I look forward to trying them for our vegan family!

  12. What lovely photographs! I'm cooking for a family member with allergies, and keeping sugar to a minimum.
    This book would be so welcome. Thank you for the opportunity.


  13. Looking forward to making these!


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