Having been routinely thwarted in my attempts to cluster dinner guests based upon their bizarre food issues, I’ve been confronted with a growing need for gluten-free foodstuffs, particularly desserts. And while there are numerous excellent websites devoted to the topic, whose results I can only presume are quite palatable, the initial investment in GF baking can be somewhat daunting.

In place of regular wheat flour, whose gluten is literally responsible for keeping things from falling apart, a somewhat bewildering array of gums, starches, and ancient grains are pressed into service. This kind of complicated replacement seems totally worth it for people who are cooking GF all the time, but I don’t really want to have to track down and purchase xanthan gum and ground amaranth for one cake, you know?

SO. That leaves me with the more traditional GF dessert alternatives that depend on eggs or nut flour for body and structure. While I do have a store of lovely nut-based cakes, lately I’ve been utterly taken with the queen of desserts from Down Under, the pavlova. Allegedly named for the Russian ballet dancer on one of her Australian tours, the blowsily elegant combination of fruit, cream, and meringue is really just delightful in its airy deliciousness.

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