Tartine chef offers home bakers healthy and gluten-free options

 

Read this cookbook: “Tartine All Day: Modern Recipes for the Home Cook” by Elizabeth Prueitt (Ten Speed Press, $40)

 

By Wendell Brock

 

Pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt is half the team behind San Francisco’s much-decorated Tartine Bakery & Café and Tartine Manufactory. (The other half is her baker-husband, Chad Robertson).

Between the two of them, they have written three previous cookbooks. Now comes “Tartine All Day,” a solo project from Prueitt in which she makes the surprising revelation that she is gluten intolerant — and was when she created many of the dishes that made her famous.

But first and foremost, “Tartine All Day” attempts to encapsulate the author’s considerable expertise as a restaurant chef into a recipe collection designed for the home users.

Turns out what she cooks for her family is not all that different from what Americans have craved for years: fried chicken, beef stew, potato gratin, lemon pound cake.

But if you are interested in pancakes, muffins or waffles for breakfast, or pies, cakes and cobblers for dessert, you’ll notice an absence of wheat flour. In its place are oats, cornmeal, flax, chia,  and flours made of white rice, sweet rice, almonds, hazelnuts and coconut.

Prueitt’s go-to dough is a mixture of brown-rice flour, potato starch, tapioca flour and oat flour, bound together with cream cheese and butter. It’s at the front of the book, and you’ll see it crop again in sweets (Cherry-Frangipane Galette) and savories (Pissaladiere).

(So how does she batter her fried chicken? With a dusting of chickpea flour and potato starch. And it looks divine.)

Writing recipes in the style of “The Joy of Cooking” and “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” so that the ingredients and methods are incorporated rather than separated, Prueitt signals that she is nothing if not ambitious.

“Years from now,” she dreams of her book, “I hope that it will be stained and dog-eared, appreciated most for the good food it helps to get on the table night after night.”

That’s a lofty wish.

Personally, I believe this volume will appeal to a certain kind of curious, savvy type of cook than the everyman. However, as compendium of delicious, down-home and sometimes bright, healthy, California-style recipes, “Tartine All Day” is a delight. As a source for gluten-free eaters, it’s a gold mine: 45 wheat-free breakfast and dessert dishes by one of the best pastry chefs in the land. I find that a smart and intriguing combo.

 

Wendell Brock is an Atlanta food and culture writer, frequent AJC contributor and winner of a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award for journalism. Follow him on Twitter (@MrBrock) and Instagram (@WendellDavidBrock).

 

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