Emergency flour free dessert – Rissoto cake

English: a fruit salad Deutsch: ein Obstsalat

English: a fruit salad Deutsch: ein Obstsalat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I was invited to have dinner by a friend from my chapel who lives a few villages over. Me and another friend had agreed to walk down and visit before the end of the academic year. I volunteered to bring the dessert if she brought the wine. Being me I didn’t want to bring a shop bought cake so decided to make my own. However my attempt at making a pineapple sponge ended very badly. Although I followed the recipe, I forgot baking powder gets stronger with age and added an extra pinch, the cake tasted very bitter.

At this point I had finished the last of my flour but still needed to make something for the promised dessert as I would be walking across the next day.

I Googled flour free desserts and found this recipe at :


It was a recipe for cake made from risotto rice, milk and lemon peel. It came with the suggestion to serve it with a red fruit salad. I didn’t dust the top with icing sugar as suggested but the cake was well received.


Serves : 8 

  • 600 ml (1 pint) semi-skimmed milk
  • a strip of lemon zest
  • 150 g (5½ oz) risotto rice
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pine nuts
  • 100 g (3½ oz) blanched almonds
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • sifted icing sugar to decorate
  • Red fruit salad
  • 300 g (10½ oz) strawberries     I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
  • 125 g (4½ oz) raspberries
  • 200 g (7 oz) cherries, stoned


Prep:1hr15min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr55min

  1. Heat the milk with the strip of lemon zest in a heavy-based saucepan until boiling. Stir in the rice, then turn down the heat so the milk barely simmers. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 40 minutes or until the rice is very soft and the mixture is thick and creamy.
  2. Spoon the rice mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Grease a 21 cm (8 1/2 in) springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Spread the pine nuts and almonds in separate baking tins and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Roughly chop the almonds.
  4. Remove the strip of lemon zest from the rice. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Beat in the caster sugar, grated lemon zest and rum, then add the nuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the rice mixture using a large metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then wrap (still in the tin) and chill overnight. (It can be kept in the fridge for 48 hours, if necessary.)
  7. To make the red fruit salad, purée 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of the strawberries in a food processor or blender. or by pushing them through a sieve. Halve the remaining strawberries and stir into the purée together with the raspberries and cherries. Spoon into a serving bowl.
  8. Unmould the cake onto a serving plate and peel off the lining paper. Dust the cake with icing sugar, and serve with the fruit salad.

Another idea

To make a chocolate rice cake, cook the rice with the strip of lemon zest as in the main recipe, then remove from the heat and discard the lemon zest. While the rice mixture is still hot, stir in 55 g (2 oz) grated good dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa solids) until melted, then leave to cool. Instead of the grated lemon zest, add 2 tbsp cold strong espresso coffee with the rum.

Plus points

Pine nuts have been eaten for hundreds of years – husks have been found in the rubbish tips from Roman camps in Britain. Pine nuts contain useful amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin E. * Cherries are rich in potassium, and provide useful amounts of vitamin C.

Total Time

1¼ hours, plus chilling overnight

Some other flour free dessert recipes

http://nymag.com/restaurants/recipes/inseason/45991/ – recipe for flourless chocolate walnut cookies

http://www.chefeddy.com/2010/08/flour-free-chocolate-cake/  – recipe for flour free chocolate layer cake


Beans of any other name

English: Pitha made from rice flour with cocnu...

English: Pitha made from rice flour with cocnut,jaggery,black pepper filling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my quest to make gluten-free flour for my friend, after the unsuccessful attempt at grinding the rice, I decided to see what else I could get hold of locally that would allow me to produce flour at less than the supermarket price.

I returned to my initial site: http://glutenfreegirl.com/2012/07/how-to-make-a-gluten-free-all-purpose-flour-mix/ and worked my way through the list looking at what my blender could survive and was cheap enough to be in my limited budget. Anything nut based was automatically disregarded as my fiancé is allergic to nuts.  I didn’t want to try rice flour again so began to research the other possibilities.



buckwheat flour

Corn flour
mesquite flour
millet flour
quinoa flour
sorghum flour
sweet potato flour

teff flour


arrowroot flour
potato flour
potato starch
sweet rice flour
tapioca flour
white rice flour

However, one section that interested me was the bean flours. I had never heard of flour made from beans before. On the other hand I had never heard of any of the beans on the list either: fava bean flour, garbanzo bean flour and kinako (roasted soy bean) flour.

I worked my way through the list to see how much they were on amazon as an example. Then realised I had no idea what these beans looked like and if I had to use these specific ones or if I could use others. I Googled the fava and garbanzo beans and found that fava beans are a type of broad bean and that garbanzo was another name for chickpeas.

Apparently chickpea flour classes as a whole grain, so following the rule from earlier of 40% wholegrain to 60% white flour or starches; I needed to find another flour to create my all-purpose celiac substitute.

I really wished I could use the white rice flour as that was the easiest to get the ingredients for however after my last attempt I needed something else. This left me with the option of garbanzo flour.

To make the garbanzo (chickpea) flour:

You take dried chickpeas blend them in a food processor and then sieve out any remaining lumps.

However it has been suggested that it is possible to use canned chickpeas instead if the recipe you intend to use the flour for will be adding liquid anyway. We used canned chickpeas to make pizza (Post to follow soon) and added less water than suggested by the recipe as the chickpeas were already soft.

White and green chickpeas

White and green chickpeas (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I hope this post was helpful. There will be more up shortly on how we used the flour, hopefully, with pictures.


How to make your own bean flour can be found at http://www.livestrong.com/article/472318-how-to-grind-bean-flour/ along with ideas of the best things to use it for at http://www.livestrong.com/article/516649-how-to-cook-with-bean-flours/

Over at the little house on the prairie Julie also suggests the ways different bean flours can be used why not check it out at: http://www.littlehouseliving.com/making-and-using-bean-flour.html

Whilst Googling for garbanzo beans I discovered the recipe for a gluten free snack which I will test out and let you know the results asap:  http://www.steamykitchen.com/10725-crispy-roasted-chickpeas-garbanzo-beans.html

http://www.celiac.com/articles/863/1/Gluten-Free-Flour-Alternatives-by-Karen-Robertson/Page1.html – an article about different uses of gluten free flour. No recipes but helpful nonetheless.

http://www.cooksinfo.com/broad-bean-flour – a cooking dictionary where I learnt about bean flour this week.

http://the100poundchallenge.wordpress.com/ – a recipe for pizza using chickpeas as the base

http://www.whats4eats.com/blogs/chefbrad/how-to-make-chickpea-flour – one way to make chickpea flour