Rave Recipe: Don’t trifle with gluten; couple publishes wheat-free cookbook
by Clint Cooper
Delores Beery was living in Germany some years back when her British neighbor invited her over one afternoon for coffee.
When Beery showed up, the neighbor told her she had made a trifle and offered to dish her up some with her coffee.
“I didn’t know what that was,” says Beery, now a resident of East Ridge.
When she learned that a trifle is a layered dessert made with cake, she told her neighbor she couldn’t have any because the cake contained flour, which she couldn’t eat. The neighbor later made Beery a trifle with flourless cake.
But dealing with wheat is the life the music teacher and Lee University adjunct faculty member has led for many years. Although she hasn’t eaten products with wheat since she was 9, when the grain proved to be the culprit of her constant stomach troubles, she is one of a now-growing number of people who have a sensitivity to gluten, the protein in wheat flour that makes it attractive for baking.
Along with her husband, Dr. L.W. “Buddy” Nichols, Beery is also the author of a new cookbook, “Gluten Conspiracy,” which provides scores of gluten-free recipes and also lays out the case for why the super-sized proteins contained in most of the hybridized wheat grown across the world are not meant to be eaten.
“Eventually,” says Beery, “everybody will have issues with wheat. It’s hidden in everything; it’s stuffed in everything.”
And when it’s not an ingredient in something, she says, a processed form of it may be on the equipment on which the item is manufactured. Among the unexpected items in which wheat can be found, according to the couple, are cinnamon, vitamins, lipstick, envelope and stamp glue, and ice cream.
“Ice cream!” Beery says. “I can’t even go over to Baskin-Robbins.”
The cookbook, however, details many items she can have, with sections on appetizers, soups, salads, entrées, vegetables, breads and sweets. Most of the recipes she either created or adapted from things she’d eaten here or from across Europe.
One of the sweets, appropriately, is Berry Trifle, which Beery adapted from the trifle she was offered by her neighbor in Germany. The trifle’s key, for those with a sensitivity to gluten, is the sponge cake, which uses tapioca starch, eggs, sugar, lime and salt instead of flour. The layers of fresh strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, the layers of whipped cream and the layers of vanilla pudding, which alternate with the cake layers, are already gluten-free.
The sponge cake itself is a “versatile plain cake you can do a lot of things with,” says Beery. It can be used in strawberry shortcake, tiramisu or as a plain cake, she says.
While a product like Cool Whip is gluten-free, it’s much more tasty to prepare your own whipped cream, she says. And while the recipe guides the cook to make the pudding from scratch, already gluten-free Jell-O puddings will work just as well, she says.
While Beery grew up with a wheat intolerance — she is confident she has celiac, an autoimmune disease caused by gluten — Nichols never had problems with wheat products. But when he met and began to date Beery, being “a Southern gentlemen,” he eschewed bread and other wheat-based products, he says.
When he began losing weight and his doctor questioned him about it, he told him he been “chasing this pretty girl.” Well, the doctor said, “it’s working.”
Eventually, the Liberty University education professor lost 65 pounds, and his doctor took him off blood pressure medicine after 20 years. Neither he nor his now wife have to take any medications, he says.
Later, when the couple led some classes on a gluten-free lifestyle at Tyner United Methodist Church, where Nichols was then on staff, attendees asked for recipes — which Beery would hand copy — and later strongly suggested they publish the recipes in the book.
“Gluten Conspiracy” is the result, with the wheat/gluten background researched and written by Nichols and the food preparation, photography and graphic design by Beery.
“We made everything [in the book], and we ate it all,” she says. “We gave it friends and sent it out with people. I would say to [music] students, ‘Do you want to sample something? Tell me what you think.’”
The process, Beery says, took about six months, with the book released by University Publishers of Chattanooga in November.
“It was quite a stretch,” she says.
1 1/2 cups sugar (divided)
1 lime (juice and zest)
3/4 cup tapioca starch
Dash of salt plus 1/4 teaspoon (divided)
2 cups milk
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons vanilla (divided)
1 tablespoon butter
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups each of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
3/4 cups slivered almonds
Separate six eggs. Beat 6 yolks and 1 whole egg until frothy. In separate bowl, beat 6 whites with clean beater until stiff but not dry. Set whites aside. Gradually beat 1/2 cup sugar and lime juice and zest into egg yolks. Add 3/4 cup tapioca starch and dash of salt to yolk mixture. Then, gently fold in the egg whites. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes in greased cake pan. When cooled, cut into bite-sized pieces.
In saucepan over medium heat, warm milk until bubbles form. Do not boil. Combine 1/2 cup sugar, cornstarch and 1/4 teaspoon salt and slowly add to warm milk, stirring constantly until dissolved and slightly thickened. Remove from heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and butter. Chill.
Whip heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla until peaks form.
In trifle bowl, place a small cube made up of 1/3 of the cake. Layer on 1/3 of pudding, then layer on 1/4 of whipped cream. Add strawberries. Repeat layering, starting with cake. Add blueberries, then another layering, topping with raspberries. Top with almonds. Dollop the last of the whipped cream in the center, and add one large strawberry.