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Gluten-free Deserts for Your Sugar-free Sweet Spot

By Edited Jul 14, 2016 1 3

Alternative sweeteners

 We humans love our cakes, but not all of us can cope with a large surge of sugar - let alone wheat or other forms of gluten such as rye, barley or even oats. How many times do you have to skip the gooey desert you have in front of you and watch everybody else tuck in.

Alternatively, you give in and have some, hoping it will all be just fine. (It is all in the mind you know!) You then suffer the consequences of blood sugar upsets, insulin roller coasters and the ravages of colon discomfort you get from the wheat. Next morning - blocked sinus, bloating and so on. Not worth the risk, so use my crafty suggestions and learn to perfect your own creations.

You can have your cake and eat it - here are your sugar substitutes

My recipes use organic raw brown sugar as a first option and I keep the levels as low as possible. If you need to go totally sugar-free then substitute the sugar with alternatives such as:

  • Xylitol can be used in the same amount as sugar. It is not as sweet. It is my best choice, along with stevia to boost the levels of sweetness.
  • The best way to add more sweetness to deserts you serve is to make a stevia spray. Fill a spray bottle with a mixture of stevia powder and water and let everybody adjust the sweetness to suit. It tastes good with fruit like strawberries and papaya. Stevia powder or liquid has no volume. It comes from extracts of a small plant with extremely sweet green leaves.
  • Suclalose is a low carb option I do not like to bake with. It tastes sweet enough in an artificial sort of way and does not tolerate heat very well. As a healthier option to plain old brown sugar it has a few drawbacks.
  • Corn fructose is controversial. It has the same volume as sugar and enhances baked products and confectionary. They say it is made from fruit and is easier on the pancreas but watch out! That is not the case with what we call corn fructose. It is not a health food and is very fattening.
  • Use foods that are naturally sweet - like bananas, dates, raisins, honey and molasses. But watch out for fructose that looks and tastes like sugar. It is said to be "obesogenic"!

Coconut cookies double up as gluten-free pastry cases for tarts

 These munchies are great to keep for the cookie jar or to crunch up and use for making my velvety cheesecake and creamy milk tart crusts. Don't grab a packet of biscuits from the supermarket shelf as they are loaded with gluten and high fructose corn syrup. You can always buy some gluten-free cookies but they cost a fortune. So make these!


Turn oven on to 180 degrees Centigrade.  Spread a baking tray with baking paper.


  • 60 grams softened butter
  • 125 grams brown sugar (or xylitol)
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 75 grams desiccated coconut
  • optional: chocolate chips, raisins sunflower and pumpkin seeds or snippered dried fruit, but omit these for making the pie crust.
  • 150 grams rice flour
  • ½ cup crushed nuts
  • 2 tablespoons ground-up linseed (flax seeds - for very healthy fibre and lignans)

Beat the sugar (or xylitol) and butter with a fork till smooth. Add all the other yummy ingredients and mix them together. Divide into 16 portions and make them  into cookie mounds, allowing space around each one for expansion. Bake them in a pre-heated oven for 15 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool on a rack. If you want a crunchier, firmer cookie then return the rack to the switched off oven for about half an hour.

My marvellous Milk Tart

milk tart
It is an art to make a smooth, creamy tart. To cut out gluten and sugar is a challenge indeed!

Turn oven on to 160 degrees Centigrade.  Spray/grease a 22 cm round or square tin, preferably with a loose base (with removable bottom).


Mix up Coconut Cookie Recipe (without chocolate chips) and press the mixture into the base and walls  of the tin about 6cm high with an even thickness all round.


  • 4 separated eggs
  • 1 cup raw sugar or xylitol for a pale colour (or white sugar - eek!)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 140 grams rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 850 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • pinch of salt
  • ground cinnamon to dust over for serving


Mix egg yolks, sugar and butter until creamy with an electric beater. Add rice flour, baking powder, salt, vanilla essence and milk and fold into the creamy mix. In another bowl beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the stiff egg whites into the creamy mix. Spoon the final mix into the shell. Bake for 1 hour or until a golden crust forms. Remove from oven and allow it to cool. Dust with cinnamon and refrigerate overnight before serving.

Lemon Meringue Pie

Turn oven on to 190 degrees Centigrade.  Spray/grease a 22cm round tin with a loose base (with removable bottom).


Mix up Coconut Cookie Recipe (without

Lemon meringue pie
chocolate chips) and press the mixture into the base and walls  of the tin about 6cm high with an even thickness all round.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup corn flour
  • 1 ½ cups water
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup lemon juice


In a medium pot, combine corn flour, water, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine. Turn heat on medium and, stirring frequently, bring mixture to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and gradually add egg yolks and stir.

Turn heat down to low and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. Remove from heat and gently stir in butter and lemon juice until well combined. Pour mixture into pie shell.


4 egg whites

2 tablespoons castor sugar ( yes - there is no way to do this without white sugar)

In a bowl beat the egg whites with an electric beater on high until stiff. Add in the castor sugar and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Make sure meringue completely covers filling and that it goes up to the edge of the crust. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until meringue is golden. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack. Make sure your pie is cooled completely before slicing it.

The Cheesecake Challenge: cut out the sugar and the gluten!


Everybody loves a baked cheesecake. Learn to master the techniques and splash around until you can cope without white sugar and flour.


Turn oven on to 160 degrees Centigrade.  Spray/grease a 22cm round tin with a separate base (with removable bottom). Or you can make smaller ones in a muffin tray.






Mix up Coconut Cookie Recipe (without chocolate chips) and press the mixture into the base and walls  of the tin about 6cm high with an even thickness all round.






  • 2 x tubs of smooth cottage cheese (or drip 2 litres Amasi (full cream fermented milk) through a cloth placed in a sieve)
  • 3/4 cup castor sugar. Sugar free option: 1/2 cup xylitol. Add stevia to intensify sweetness if required
  • 3/4 cup (one small tub) sour cream. Not required if you use the thickened Amasi
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs



It is best to use an electric beater to mix up the cream cheese and cream (or thickened Amasi), sugar (or xylitol) and vanilla till smooth. Add the eggs one at a time processing until just combined. Pour the mixture into the baking tin on top of the cookie-crust lining.I like to mix a bit of this mixture with some sweet molasses and pour it on top for a fake caramel effect, as you can see.

Bake for 50 minutes or until just set and the centre wobbles slightly. Allow the cake to cool down in the oven for two hours with the door left ajar. Refrigerate overnight then cut and serve.


Serve freshly sliced bananas and strawberries on top. The sweetness of the bananas combines well with the sharp taste of strawberries. Keep your stevia spray bottle handy for extra sweetening for your guests to add. This spray is also nice for their tea and coffee!


Pavlova (meringue) with cream and fancy fruit


Turn oven on to 130 degrees Centigrade. 

Line a baking tray with baking paper


  • 6 egg whites
  • 350 grams castor sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons corn flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tub of whipping cream (or Greek yoghurt sweetened with stevia) and chopped berries / canned peaches


In a bowl beat the egg whites with an electric beater on high until stiff. Add in the castor sugar and beat until glossy and stiff peaks form. Add in vinegar, vanilla and corn flour and beat it up well. Spread the mixture onto the lined baking tray in a 30 cm wide circle.  Make a slight hollow in the middle. At the same time build up the sides like a nest. Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, turn off the oven and leave to cool completely.  Whip the cream and spread a layer into the hollow. You can use the yoghurt mix as an alternative. Add the chopped fruit and serve.


  • Make smaller meringue bases.
  • Some people like to use a piping bag and a fancy nozzle for a professional touch.
  • Some people are too lazy to make meringues and buy them instead.
  • Some people - like my Mother can't get them right! I hope you can.
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Jan 23, 2014 12:43am
This is a useful collection, Prana. thanks for providing sweetening options. As you say - meringue is an exception. Best to avoid it is you are a real sugar-free fanatic (I'm not!) Claws up!
Jan 23, 2014 2:05am
Nice new ideas and suggestions. We all need a good stash of recipes for special events. I am always looking for cost effective options. Will try the cookies and hope some remain for making a pie crust! Claws up.
Oct 7, 2014 1:15am
Thanks for stopping by. I hope the recipes turn out OK. Having cut out gluten, I am now working at reducing the sugar content.
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