gluten-free corn bread for Π Day

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summary: recipe for gluten-free corn bread; wonders of chickpea flour; information about Π Day (click on image for larger view and more photos)

gluten-free cornbread I know. It isn’t exactly a pie, is it? But it is in the shape of a circle!! And we might have used A=Πr² to calculate where to cut the “pie” to ensure that equal portions were served, yes? :-)

Pie or not, it was quite amazing to me that this recipe worked so well. There is zero wheat flour in it. And zero xanthan gum or arrowroot to make up for the missing glutens. The resulting texture isn’t at all dry and grainy in the way that so many gluten-free breads can be. (You know what I mean. You take a bite and think maybe someone might have snuck a bit of sand into the batter.)

The chickpea flour also adds a lovely nutty flavour to the bread.

My sister made this recipe (she made muffins) when we were visiting my parents – Dad cannot eat glutens. So when we returned home, we had to try it here at home too. We made the muffins into cornbread to serve with chili con carne.

gluten-free cornbread Here’s the recipe:

Gluten-free Cornbread or Muffins
based on a recipe for cornbread muffins
makes enough batter for one 8-inch round cast-iron pan or 12 muffins

  • 1 c cornmeal
  • ¾ c chickpea flour (aka besan)
  • ¼ c sugar (less is better)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • ¼ c plain yoghurt
  • ¾ c + 2 Tbsp milk
  • 1 egg, beaten

Preparation: Preheat oven to 400F for muffins OR 300F for cornbread

  1. Muffins: Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl; mix the wet ingredients in another bowl. Put wet into dry and mix well. Spoon into 12 greased muffin tins and bake at 400F on the top shelf for 12 minutes.
  2. Bread: Pour half the oil into a cast iron pan and place in the oven to heat while mixing the cornbread batter.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl; mix the wet ingredients adding the rest of the oil, in another bowl.
  4. Put wet into dry and mix well.
  5. Pour the batter into the hot oiled cast iron pan and bake on the top shelf at 300F for about 30 minutes or until the bread is golden and a cake tester poked in the center comes out cleanly.

Slice and serve immediately with chili con carne, oven-roasted sweet potato and a green vegetable. Add a leafy salad too if you want.

Notes

Π We bake the muffins/bread on the top shelf of our ancient oven to ensure that the bottom doesn’t get burned. Your oven might be different. You may be able to bake the bread on the middle shelf.

Π About the sugar: my sister put the amount in the recipe (¼ c) but I found the muffins to be a bit sweet. T made the bread and used zero sugar (because he forgot) and we found it to taste a little too strongly of the chickpea flour. So, unless you love sweet cornmeal muffins, I’d strike a compromise and perhaps use 1 or 2 Tablespoons sugar.

Π We also think that adding some actual corn to the batter would be a nice touch. And a few green chilies would be fun too.

Π We buy chickpea flour in Indiatown, where it is labelled either “besan” or “gram flour”. Chickpea flour is probably also available in health food stores but likely at a much higher cost than in the Indian Grocery Stores.

So there it is! You CAN make great cornbread without wheat flour! I haven’t tried but I suspect any of the gluten-laden cornmeal quickbreads could become gluten-free simply by replacing the wheat flour with chickpea flour.

So… What are you doing to celebrate Π Day?

Pi Day is is celebrated annually on this date. It might not be the most intuitive thing for those of us who write dates as day.month.year (or vice versa) but in the US and in some areas all over Canada, the month is traditionally placed before the day: month.day.year. So 14 March becomes 3.14. See? It’s Π!

Π Day […] Below are some tips on making this day (celebrated on March 14 at 1:59pm) memorable to one and all. […]

Eat ‘pi’ foods. Many creative ways exist to do this. First, there’s the punny approach, like eating pineapple, pizza, or pine nuts and drinking pina coladas or pineapple juice. Second, there’s the shape approach, like making cookies or pancakes shaped like pi or making a pie with a pi cut out of the center of the crust. Of course, whatever you do, Pi Day is simply incomplete without eating pie, even if you don’t feel artistic enough to carve the pi symbol out of the top.

– excerpt from “How to Celebrate Pi Day”

 

When we were visiting my parents, we were so entranced by how the chickpea flour worked in the muffins that my sister used it to thicken gravy. Chickpea flour works fabulously as a thickener for gravy! It’s a terrific alternative to wheat flour. And much much better than using cornstarch – the gravy looked like gravy rather than being all shiny and gummy as it is when cornstarch is used.
 

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  • Katie (Sweet Tater)

    that cornbread looks amaaaazing. must make. thanks for the pi day shout out!

    My pleasure, Katie. And I’ll be very interested to hear what you think of the cornbread. Do let me know! -Elizabeth