Kirkland’s Trellis Restaurant Is Becoming a Gluten-Free Dessert Destination

By Amy Pennington

April 12, 2017

A Kirkland pastry chef’s flour blends are making Trellis a gluten-free dessert hot spot

This article originally appeared in the April 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

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We’re all familiar with the saying that necessity is the mother of invention, though few may experience this as directly as pastry chef Jacquelynn Beckman. When the 26-year-old moved from California to Washington in 2015 to oversee the pastry department at Trellis Restaurant in Kirkland’s Heathman Hotel, she quickly ran into a challenge: Her boss was gluten intolerant.

“He basically avoids desserts,” explains Beckman. For a young pastry chef wanting to wow her new boss, this just wouldn’t fly. “I would make something and wanted his opinion, but he couldn’t eat [the desserts]. It was really frustrating,” she says. To create confections he could eat meant finding the perfect gluten-free flour, which turned out to be equally frustrating for Beckman. With gluten-free baking, flour blends are especially helpful to achieve a particular texture or flavor. She found most available mixes to be “super elastic and leave a taste on your tongue that’s nasty.” Beckman explored a range of readily available gluten-free flour mixes before deciding to make her own.


Image by Paige Smith

Through trial and error, Beckman created several blends that she uses in the pastry kitchen. She combines a mix of gluten-free flour—such as coconut, rice and brown rice flours—with varying proportions of nut meals, as each has a different purpose. Almond flour produces a lot of fat, which works well for dense cake, like her popular gluten-free chocolate terroir cake, but can also leave dough feeling greasy. For a leaner, lighter cake, she opts for pistachio nut meal. If she wants flaky layers and volume in a dough mix (as she does for the macarons that accompany Trellis’ afternoon tea), she’ll opt for ground hazelnuts.

 

“I would [dine] out with gluten-free friends and they [were always limited to] the same dessert options—crème brûlee, sorbet or maybe a molten chocolate cake,” Beckman says. “They were never treated as important diners.” At Trellis, she has changed that, although she no longer calls out “gluten-free” desserts, which make up about one-third of the dessert menu, and instead leaves it to staff to chat with customers. “You’d never know these desserts are gluten-free unless we told you.”

Flourless Chocolate Cookies
These cookies are terrific on their own and also can be used for pastry chef Jacquelynn Beckman’s chocolate terroir cake.

1 ounce cocoa nibs (available at Theo Chocolate)
2  ounces soft butter
1 teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt
½  cup plus 3 tablespoons brown sugar
½  cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
6 ounces 70 percent chocolate, melted (Beckman uses Valrhona Guanaja 70 percent, or you can use a bittersweet)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2  cups gluten-free flour (such as Beckman’s DIY blend, recipe below, or a commercial brand)

» In food processor, grind nibs to rice-size grains.
» In mixer with paddle, cream butter, baking soda, salt and cocoa nibs on low for 2–5 minutes, until soft.
» With mixer off, add sugars and cocoa powder. Mix on medium speed for 1–2 minutes, until fluffy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Mix 1 minute. With mixer off, add flour. Mix on low only to combine. Scoop cookies into about 1 tablespoon-size balls and place on a sheet pan, leaving at least 1 inch between them. Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes; let set until cool, at least 1 hour.

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