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Hosting friends and need a wheat-free, lactose-free dessert... Does it have to be fruit salad? Please say no.

I'm hoping for something a little more decadent for this special dinner. Don't mind buying special flours (already have some), if that's what's required, but I just want it to taste good for all present, some of whom don't have such restrictions. I am open to making two desserts, if need be, but hope not to have something divine for those without food restrictions, and then a bowl of fruit for the others!!!

Please share any ideas/recipes/tips you have!!

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  1. Grilled pineapple. Maybe with coconut sorbet.
    Poached pears.
    Somehow, I'm thinking fruit, but not necessarily salad.

    1 Reply
    1. re: thinks too much

      I like the grilled pineapple idea. Maybe I could do crepes with that if there's such a thing as good tasting crepes without wheat flour.

    2. Rice pudding made with lactose free or soy milk?

      5 Replies
        1. re: Full tummy

          A friend of mine makes rice pudding with carmelized pineapple on top. A (very picky) family member is gluten free and she often needs parve desserts.. he loves that one.

          If you want to get fancyish, I've seen pudding made with 'black' forbidden rice. You could even do coconut milk instead of soy or almond milk.

          1. re: cheesecake17

            Yes, coconut rice pudding with caramelized pineapple on top does sound good. And come to think of it I recently made a panna cotta with coconut milk that would also work!!!

            1. re: Full tummy

              This reminds me of the ungodly good (and rich!) Thai dessert, Sticky Rice With Mangoes. You make a coconut milk sauce and pour it over mango slices on top of sticky rice cooked in coconut milk. Insanely good, and you won't need to make any modifications from the authentic Thai recipe. I haven't made this Epicurious recipe, but here is a link:
              Here is another:
              Do some googling if you are curious.

              1. re: LolaP

                I've had something like that in a Thai restaurant, and I agree... it is very good.

      1. How about the Italian Chocolate-Almond Torte from Pure Dessert, by Alice Medrich? It's simple to make and quite sophisticated in flavor. It's made from essentially just four ingredients, almonds, unsweetened chocolate (so lactose-free, though check labels to be sure there's no milk product), egg whites and sugar, plus pinches of salt and cream of tartar. Perfect with whipped cream for those who can indulge, and a fuit compote for those who can't.


        6 Replies
        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

          That looks amazing. Have you made it?

          I found a similar recipe on this thread:


          1. re: Full tummy

            Yes, I've made it. I have the cookbook, Pure Dessert, and everything I have made from it is wonderful. This torte is so, so simple to make, as long as you have a food processor for the chocolate and almonds (and BTW, although the recipe says to finely grind them, a few pea-size lumps are fine, and reflect the photo of the finished cake in the book). It has a sophisticated, "adult" flavor, perfect for a dinner party. And because it is simply a torte that happens not to call for flour or dairy, you're not messing around with substitutions or serving something "less than" to guests with dietary limitations.

            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

              Well, thank you so much for that. The rest of us wouldn't feel slighted in the least... (Certainly not me!!)

              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                that torte looks delicious. thanks for the recipe, caitlin.

            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

              I've made it and it is delicious. Definitely use high quality unsweetened chocolate. It is really fabulous and perfect for your event.

              Served with some sliced strawberries, or a nice sorbet, perhaps whipped cream for those who eat it, it's really special.

              1. re: milklady

                I have some strawberry compote, and that might just do the trick... Plus whipped cream for those who can eat it, as you say. (Only one out of the group can't.)

            3. No recipe for you, although your imagination can run wild, but for your situation, cocout milk could very well be a good friend for you. Off the top of my head, bread pudding (made with bread from special flour,) ice cream, poached pear with coconut milk ice cream sounds pretty nice.

              1 Reply
              1. What about some sort of baked apple dish? It is the season! This one looks good:
                You would have to substitute something for the butter but otherwise it fits the bill.

                5 Replies
                1. re: ms. clicquot

                  There are several dairy free (there for lactose free) margerines out there that can be used insted of butter. For an added treat seve the warm apples with cold Tofutti "ice cream".

                  1. re: Prettypoodle

                    How does that Tofutti compare to regular ice cream?

                    1. re: Full tummy

                      People disagree on brands but I never liked the Tofutti brand. I prefer anything made by Turtle Mountain: So Delicious, It's Soy Delicious, Purely Decadent.

                      1. re: funniduck

                        I like the brands you mentioned above- much less 'fake' tasting than tofutti.

                  2. One year my MIL and I made a delicious cranberry & apple sorbet. I think it was a EFM recipe, from Martha Stewart, but really can't recall off hand. We used it for a palate cleanser for our New Year's Eve dinner, which started with Lobster Bisque. Can look for it if you're interested.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Phurstluv

                      I love the homemade sorbet idea, but is that a lot of work? I no longer have an ice cream maker, though I recently purchased the ice cream tub that goes with the KitchenAid stand mixer. Haven't used it, though. I got rid of the ice cream maker because I didn't like that the ice cream always ended up with a gritty texture...

                      1. re: Full tummy

                        No, it's easy. You can make it a granita, if you don't have a ic maker anymore. Just put it in a metal third pan, pop in freezer, then take a fork and slush it up every few hours, before it gets real solid.

                        1. re: Phurstluv

                          Yup, I used to do that with grapefruit juice. Very refreshing. Thanks!!!

                          1. re: Full tummy

                            Here are the quantities, in case you decide to make it, makes one quart:

                            2 cups cranberry juice
                            1 1/2 cups apple cider
                            1/2 cup sugar
                            1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

                            Bring cranberry juice, cider & sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook stirring, until sugar is dissolved, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.

                            Transfer to 9x13" baking dish. Freeze for 2 hours, then mash with a fork. Cover and continue freezing until set, at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

                            Transfer to a food processor and puree until smooth. Transfer to an airtight container; refreeze until ready to serve.

                            You don't even need an ice cream maker, I should have realized since I just got one a couple of years ago, and we made this from EFM '05, so there you have it. Now, I think I'll be serving it to my T'giving guests, since I don't have to haul out the ice cream maker! Hope you enjoy it, if you try it!

                    2. If eggs are okay, what about a pavlova/meringue idea layered with fruit/puree? Or, if you want to do more work, a floating island?

                      11 Replies
                      1. re: chowser

                        I love the pavlova idea, but I've never made a meringue like that and am scared it'll be sticky, it'll fall, or something. That is something I really must do for just my husband and me (and soon), so that I can see if I could do it for something like this. The dinner isn't till next month, so I've got plenty of time to prepare.

                        1. re: Full tummy

                          How about a water based chocolate mousse? I don't have a recipe to recommend and suspect you could find a few.

                          1. re: mcuneo

                            Have you tried such a mousse? What's it like?

                            1. re: Full tummy

                              They are delicious. I was feeling a little guilty about not recommending a recipe, and found a link to one by Alice Medrich here on Chow. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/277231 Everything I've ever made by Alice Medrich has been incredible. Perhaps you and hubby could give it a trial run?

                              1. re: mcuneo

                                Well, we might have to do several trial runs, hahaha. Looks wonderful. Thanks!

                              2. re: Full tummy

                                I have made this one, which was very nice. A bit lighter feeling than a French choc mousse with egg yoolks and whipping cream, but with an intense chocolate flavor. (I have not made the kumquats.)


                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Now, that also looks amazing. Wow, so much to choose from...

                            2. re: Full tummy

                              There is nothing easier to make than a Pavlova!! The last time I made one, people said it was the best dessert they'd ever had.

                              I used this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa:


                              1. re: middydd

                                Thanks!!! I might be able to suppress my pavlova fear!!!

                                1. re: middydd

                                  Guess for this dinner, you'd have to substitute whipped topping for the whipped cream.

                              2. re: chowser

                                Pavlova was going to my suggestion too!

                              3. I just want to say a collective thank you to everybody who has posted so far. I really didn't expect this many responses and was racking my brain trying to come up with something. At this rate, I will just have to invite this group many times, so that I can make my way through the dessert options!!!

                                1. Clementines are just coming into season--Nigella Lawson's clementine cake (clementines, ground almonds, eggs, sugar) is delicious.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Marge

                                    Wowie! Nice and citrusy. Looks delicious.

                                    1. re: Full tummy

                                      If you search Chowhound for "clementine cake," there are lots of threads about it.

                                  2. There are lots of options. We're vegan and gluten-free (no wheat, oats, barley, rye, or spelt). It's easy to replace dairy...almond mylk for milk, Earth Balance for butter or margarine, almond mylk with apple cider vinegar for buttermilk. We use various combinations of the following: chickpea flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour (not related to wheat), millet flour, quinoa flour, teff flour, sorghum flour, potato flour, cornmeal, etc. The catch with baking with gluten-free flours is that in most cases you need to add guar gum or xanthan gum to hold things together. Xanthan gum is rather expensive but a package lasts a long time since you only need about 1 tsp for up to 3 cups of gf flour.

                                    What special flours do you currently have?

                                    Check to see if your local library has The Gluten Free Vegetarian Kitchen by Donna Klein,The Allergy Self-Help Cookbook by Marjorie Hurt Jones, RN, The Gluten-Free Vegan by Susan O'Brien, or Pure and Simple by Tami A. Benton.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: lgss

                                      Thanks for the information. I have things like rice flour, tapioca flour, and perhaps a few others. Is there a really great recipe you can recommend in any of those books, or that you could link to?

                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                        Another is "The All Natural Allergy Cookbook" by Jeanne Marie Martin. We like the Nut Better Balls and the Pumpkin Cookies which we sometimes make with sweet potato.

                                        From Pure and Simple the Banana Bread Brownies.
                                        From GF Vegan the Brownies.
                                        From Allergy Self-Help Grain-Free Fudge Brownies (it calls for carob we use cocoa) and Grain-Free Gingerbread.

                                    2. There are lots of great dairy-free frozen desserts (even one that's called Purely Decadent) that could be paired with fruit cobbler or something else:


                                      Turtle Mountain's Purely Decadent

                                      Good Karma

                                      to name a few....

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: lgss

                                        Lots to choose from. I'm just nervous about non-dairy ice cream, since I had a hemp version that I definitely didn't like and was never going to... However, you never know when you find something that just does it for you...

                                        1. re: Full tummy

                                          The Turtle Mountain coconut milk based ice creams are really amazing. I eat dairy (hence my name) and started buying them for a vegan friend or for kosher meat dinners which require non-dairy desserts, and loved them so much I will usually choose them over ice cream.

                                      2. I regularly bake desserts for parties with gluten-eating folks but I have Celiac.

                                        My advice - don't try funky flours and soy milk for a one thing. There are so many options without it, and they can take some getting used to using

                                        I do chocolate sorbet a lot in some fun variations. It is dairy free and very very rich. I make caramel with coconut milk often b/c we a;ways have coconut milk but not always cream.

                                        Rice or tapioca pudding is obvious (with coconut milk). Black rice makes a stunning presentation. I recently put caramelized sugar (think tart tatin) on the bottom of a ramekin, layered on thinly sliced pears with anise scented sugar, and baked until tender. Then packed in black rice prepared traditionally (steamed). Turned out onto plates for a pretty presentation. Served with roasted grapes and homemade condensed coconut milk and pear sauce.

                                        Layer roasted fruit and tapioca pudding in a glass.

                                        Panna cotta works well with coconut milk, as does pastry cream.

                                        I second the Medrich chocolate torte - it is good. I find it nice with something else - some fruit sauce (pear and chocolate is nice and unexpected and seasonal, passion fruit is another favorite). You can whip coconut CREAM too. You can skim the cream off of the milk, or just buy a can of unsweetened cream at an asian grocery. Make sure it is cold and it takes a bit longer than dairy cream.

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: jsaimd

                                          Oh my goodness, you are way more creative than me... Did you use a recipe for that black rice showpiece? I've never eaten black rice...

                                          What's the texture like of the whipped coconut cream? I have coconut cream in boxes, as well as coconut milk but don't know if I've seen coconut cream in a can. Will have to look for that next time I'm in the Asian grocery store.

                                          And how do you make your coconut milk caramel? Sounds yummy.

                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                            think of desserts as components. It really isn't that hard if you are doing plated desserts. Some things like baked goods require more precision, others like roasted fruit - not so much. Ice cream is very forgiving, so I experiment a lot with that. But I don't experiment with baking cakes for company - I used recipes for those.

                                            Anyway, I used the traditional directions for steaming black rice - just steam, then mix with warm coconut milk and sugar mixture, let it absorb into the rice. You can find lots of recipes online. For the pears - it is just the start of a tart tatin with pears. For the sauce, I just reduced down coconut milk and sugar mixed together and then added pear butter.

                                            Coconut cream is a bit less airy than whipped cream, but similar.

                                            Coconut milk caramel is made by replacing cream with full fat coconut milk. We often don't use a recipe. Just caramelize sugar and add in coconut milk to the consistency we want.

                                            1. re: jsaimd

                                              Thanks! I will definitely have to try that caramel coconut milk... and the whipped coconut cream. I love coconut!!

                                        2. Okay, so I know you're sick of hearing from me, but I thought of two more things you can make while perusing my old EFMs:

                                          Poached Pears
                                          and / or
                                          Indian pudding

                                          Brilliant, I know!! Poached pears are obvious, and you can use a frozen non-dairy dessert or topping to go with.

                                          And same thing with the Indian pudding, which is basically spiced cornmeal with molasses. This recipe calls for half & half, but you could use that soy milk stuff. And again, top with some non-dairy dessert or whipped topping like Cool Whip. Hey, I know, I know, but I can't have real cream either, but I am grateful for the likes of Cool Whip, chemicals and all!! Let me know, and I could type out the recipes.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                            Hahaha, never sick of hearing from someone with suggestions! Thanks! I've heard of Indian pudding but never eaten it. Will look into it.

                                            1. Flourless chocolate cake! YUM.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: akq

                                                Yup, we've got a couple on the board. And I'm definitely a chocolate lover.

                                              2. Coconut milk pannacotta or pudding... it makes a great coconut icecream too.

                                                1. i make a variation of mark bittman's pan-baked lemon-almond tart. link below. i use 2T sugar, substitute vanilla and almond extract for the lemon juice and rind, and most important for your purpose, instead of cream, i use light coconut milk. also, can instead of butter, use a cooking spray.

                                                  even if you don't make this for your dinner, it's a keeper.


                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: wonderwoman

                                                    Wow, thank you so much!!! That looks wonderful. Definitely a keeper...I think this whole thread is a keeper. Who knew there were so many great desserts to be made without flour or dairy!!