Gluten-Free Expert Carol Fenster to Deliver Keynote Address at Sorghum Conference in Naples, Italy

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Carol Fenster, an internationally recognized expert in gluten-free cooking, will deliver the keynote address at a Sorghum Conference sponsored by the Institute for BioPhysics and Genetics in Naples, Italy.

Gluten-Free Bing Cherry Clafouti by Carol Fenster

“Given sorghum’s versatility and appeal to American cooks, my role at the conference will be to share our knowledge with Italian experts who also want to use sorghum in gluten-free foods,” says Fenster.

Carol Fenster, an internationally recognized expert in gluten-free cooking, will deliver the keynote address at a Sorghum Conference sponsored by the Institute for BioPhysics and Genetics in Naples, Italy.

Sorghum, an ancient grain once used in Africa and Egypt, is now used in the United States in gluten-free foods. Fenster, who has used sorghum in all 10 of her gluten-free cookbooks, including Gluten-Free 101, chooses sorghum flour because of its light color, mild flavor, pleasing texture, and healthy nutrient profile. “Unlike rice flour, which is often used in gluten-free baking, sorghum flour is not gritty, tastes more like wheat, and offers more fiber and protein, making it a healthier choice for the gluten-free community that now tops 21 million people in the U.S.,” she adds.

“Given sorghum’s versatility and appeal to American cooks,” says Fenster,” my role at the conference will be to share our knowledge with Italian experts who also want to use sorghum in gluten-free foods.” Sorghum is safe for gluten-free diets because it lacks gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains.

Gluten is toxic for people with an autoimmune condition called celiac disease as well as those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Both conditions have no cure and require a gluten-free diet for life, so ingredients like sorghum flour that taste good and work well in gluten-free baking are critical to make food that gluten-free patients will eat.

Among the tips that Fenster will share at the conference is how to use sorghum flour in baked goods, including desserts. She will take advantage of sorghum’s versatility and the abundance of fresh Italian ingredients such as seasonal fruits to make a Clafouti---a simple, not-too-sweet dessert that is simply a light batter of milk, eggs, flour, and sugar poured over fruit and then baked. In this case, she uses dark sweet (Bing) cherries, but it is equally delicious with a variety of stone fruits such as fresh peaches, nectarines, or plums. During winter, seasonal fruits such as pears work well, she adds.

Served warm straight from the oven, dusted with powdered sugar, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint, this little gluten-free dessert is enchanting no matter what country you live in.

Bing Cherry Clafouti
(reprinted with permission from Gluten-Free 101 by Carol Fenster, Savory Palate/2010)

2     large eggs, at room temperature
1/3     cup milk on nondairy beverage
2     tablespoon butter or buttery spread, melted
1 /2     teaspoon each vanilla and almond extracts
1/3     cup sorghum flour
1/3     cup sugar + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
1/8    teaspoon salt
1 1/2     cups dark sweet (pitted) cherries (or your favorite fresh fruit), drained thoroughly
1     tablespoon sliced almonds
2     tablespoons powdered sugar, for garnish
Whipped cream or whipped topping, for garnish, plus a sprig of mint

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

[1] Combine eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, and almond extract in a blender until smooth. Gradually add flour, 1/3 cup sugar, and salt and whirl for on high speed until very smooth.

[2] Grease 6 small ramekins or an 8 or 9-inch, oven-proof ceramic dish with 2-inch sides. Spread cherries in the bottom and pour batter on top. Sprinkle with almonds and remaining sugar.

[3] Bake until the top is puffy and golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven, dust with powdered sugar, top with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprig of mint, and serve immediately. Serves 6

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