Something happened to me last week. I became a writer. I didn't get a job or a book contract. Nothing actually changed at all except for my mindset. I haven't been paid for writing in decades, and yet, I still write. I write because it is what I like to do. And therefore, I am a writer, damn it! I spent a lot of time writing when I was employed in corporate communications, marketing, advertising and public relations. But in all those years, I never, ever, considered myself a writer. I wrote, sometimes all day, always with research and deadlines, and never about anything that moved me. When I quit working to give birth to Firstborn Daughter, I remember thinking, "Nothing I wrote made any difference in the world." I cleaned out my desk and threw my work in the trash, something I still don't regret.
Since the end of my paid employment, I raised three children, lived in three countries, moved about ten times, and always wrote. I wrote for myself, developing ideas for novels and a screenplay and even a comedy sitcom, for which the treatment is still buried somewhere in the back of my filing cabinet along with other writings I deemed worthy of keeping. My writing still didn't make a difference in the world, but it made a difference to me.
Very little of my writing was, or still is, read by anyone except me. There are the annual Valentine letters, charity auction descriptions, this blog...an audience consisting mostly of my family and friends. And since I'm not paid, nor is anyone editing and overseeing my work, calling myself a writer seemed just plain silly. I couldn't be a writer if I wasn't paid and no one read my writing. So I thought.
So what changed last week? It all came down to coconut flour.
I had been testing recipes substituting coconut flour for wheat flour to make them gluten and grain free. But the results were never very good. They were dry, sometimes so dry it seemed like I used sawdust instead of flour. Last week I came across a recipe I wanted to try because it had very little flour so I thought it was a good candidate for the coconut substitution.
In a case of timing-is-everything, I got an email that day from "Christine." She had seen my blog and wanted to know if I was interested in writing about coconut flour. Seriously. The same day I put the recipe on the counter, I got an email about coconut flour from a stranger who had read my blog. So I went to her page and voila! My problem was solved. I learned that you should only substitute 20-25% of flour with coconut flour. I also learned other cool info and health benefits of coconut flour. So with thanks to Christine and her coconut flour email, I present to you my Blueberry Lemon Delicious Pudding. It's gluten-free, grain-free and of course, includes coconut flour.
And just so you know, Christine isn't paying me or even promising me anything. But knowing that someone is out there listening is sometimes all the payment we need to keep writing. Or in this case, to call myself a writer.
“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ” ― Joss Whedon
Blueberry Lemon Delicious Pudding
In Australia, a popular dish that I was served at friends' homes was Lemon Delicious Pudding. When I saw a recipe for Huckleberry Lemon Pudding Cake in the cookbook "The Wild Table" , it reminded me of those lemony delicious days in Australia. I adapted that recipe and was very pleased with the results. The pudding is indeed delicious on it's own, but it is double and triple delicious if you add the compote and cream.
For the Pudding: 4 T butter, room temperature, plus extra for buttering baking dish 2/3 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling in baking dish 1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries 1/8 tsp salt 2 T lemon zest 4 eggs, room temperature, separated 2 T coconut flour 2 T tapioca flour (also called tapioca starch)* 3/4 cup milk 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place rack in center of oven. Butter a 4-cup shallow baking dish and dust with about a Tablespoon of sugar, shaking out excess sugar.** Spread blueberries in dish, covering bottom in a single layer. Place the dish in a roasting pan just larger than the dish and with sides at least as high. Boil a kettle of water and turn off to cool while preparing the pudding. Cream the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest in a standing mixer with the paddle attachment. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each. Add the coconut flour, tapioca flour, milk and lemon juice, mixing well after each addition. Pour batter into a large bowl. Wash and dry the bowl of the mixer. Using the whip attachment, whip the egg whites until they hold firm peaks. Fold 1/3 of the egg white gently into the batter. Thoroughly but gently fold in the rest of the egg whites. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Place the roasting pan with the baking dish inside on the shelf of the oven and then pour the hot water from the kettle in the pan to come 1/2 way up the side of the baking dish. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the top is puffed and golden. Remove and let cool completely. Can be refrigerated or served at room temperature by scooping out with a large spoon, spooning compote and whipped cream on top.
For the Compote: 1/2 cup sugar 1/4 cup water 1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries 2 tsp lemon zest 1 tsp fresh lemon juice 1/8 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring well. Boil for a minute or two. Remove from heat and let cool. Can be served chilled or at room temperature.
To Serve: 1 cup heavy whipping cream 2 tsp sugar
Whip cream and sugar in a standing mixer until thick and holding soft peaks. Scoop into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
*When substituting tapioca starch in place of wheat flour, only use 1/2 the amount of flour called for.
**You can also bake individual puddings in 40z ramekins. To plate the pudding with the compote and cream, scoop the pudding out of the ramekins onto a plate first. Or skip the compote and serve the puddings in the ramekin with a garnish of whipping cream and a few blueberries.