Craving something sweet, but out of flour? Plenty of recipes for cakes, cookies, puddings, and custards don’t require flour at all. So if you’re on your last scoop of all-purpose flour—or just want to go gluten-free—consider making a comforting bowl of banana crémeux pudding, a tall lemony cheesecake, or a many-layered tiramisu. Thanks to the structure that nuts, eggs, butter, and dairy provide, flour-free desserts come in a range of textures, from chewy coconut macaroons to fluffy chocolate mousse to a moist and dense apple and walnut cake. They can be crisp, as in meringue cookies or custardy, as in a flan with double the caramel. And, also thanks to their lack of flour, they are less likely to dry out, and come together quickly. Molten chocolate cakes, vanilla bean panna cotta, and tiramisu can be made in just 30 minutes of active time. So, you're really just minutes away from a satisfied sweet tooth.
These ultra-chocolatey cakes come together in only 30 minutes. Baking them in a water bath helps the edges set while the center stays molten. If you don’t have ramekins, paper baking cups in a muffin tin will work, too. Serve the cakes with whipped cream or ice cream for a nice temperature contrast.
Tall and dramatic, this lemon cheesecake is ultra rich because it calls for ricotta in addition to the cream cheese. Using a food processor to blend the cheeses ensures that the filling emulsifies completely. Lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon extract give it a refreshing flavor boost—but feel free to substitute vanilla if you're out of lemons. Almost any cookie can be used for the crust, which comes together quickly.
Mascarpone cheese, which has a round dairy sweetness and buttery texture, is the star of this tiramisu, which uses whole eggs and just enough sugar to keep the focus on the dairy flavor. Store-bought ladyfingers are easy to find; substitute any soft cake or cake-like cookie in a pinch. A coffee syrup, scented with vanilla, amaro, and creme de cacao, perks up and plays off the dark cocoa that's sprinkled on top.
With toasty, toffee notes, caramel helps sweeten the custard, and forms this flan's signature sauce. Use a blender to throughly combine the warm milk and cream mixture with the eggs to avoid any curdling. Finally, bake the custard on a foil ring in a water bath so it cooks gently, for a silky smooth flan dressed with just enough dark caramel.
The secret to this airy almond cake lies with the egg whites. Beating the eggs at a slower speed with the addition of lemon juice creates soft yet stable peaks, which lightens the batter. Using skin-on, ground up almonds give the cake an earthy flavor that is enhanced by vanilla and balanced with a touch of honey.
By reducing the milk and cream with sugar, you can create a stable and flavorful base for a dark chocolate mousse without eggs or gelatin. Dutch cocoa helps stabilize the mousse while flavoring it, and whipped cream folded in at the end gives it an airy lift.
Put those browning bananas sitting on your countertop to some good use. Slowly steeping the bananas in milk draws out their flavor and sweetness. A pinch of ground cloves gently enhances the banana flavor, and folding whipped cream in at the end lightens the pudding into something more like a rich and dense mousse.
A fine dusting of cocoa powder and cinnamon, plus a small spoonful of molasses transforms simple meringues into a grown-up treat. If molasses isn’t readily on hand in your pantry, an equal amount of light brown sugar will also achieve that toasty caramel flavor.
A slow steeping of split Tahitian vanilla beans in milk makes for a light and aromatic panna cotta. Dress it up with fresh fruit, marmalade, jam, or even just a drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of salt.
Reminiscent of baklava, this Persian tishpishti is equal parts nutty, sweet, and syrupy. Chopped walnuts and ground up almonds incorporated into the batter serve as an earthy, nutty base. Before pouring the batter into the pan, use extra parchment paper to cover the bottom and long sides of the pan to allow for cake removal. This makes for easy slicing before returning the cake to the pan in order to soak it with syrup.
To add even more coconutty flavor to your next batch of macaroons, first toast the coconut. Sweetened condensed milk (or dulce de leche) and whipped egg whites give these cookies a light but chewy texture. To finish, dip and drizzle the baked cookies with bittersweet chocolate.
This one-bowl cake comes together quickly. Finish it with either a simple, lemon-scented glaze, or make a thicker icing with just powdered sugar and lemon juice. Change it up by stirring in or decorating the top with seasonal fruit before serving.
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