Kransekake

OK, so this this may be a celebration of the Scandinavian kind, but if you love the taste of marzipan, this ones for you.

And before we go any further, this recipe is by Paul Hollywood, it’s not mine. I’ve perhaps tweaked it only a fraction, but it’s his. Based around the technical challenge in the 2017 Great British Bake Off.

It makes for a great celebration cake anytime of the year and with just a touch of red, I think  makes for a lovely Valentines Cake. And this is of course gluten free, without even trying 😀

For the cake;

600g Ground Almonds

600g icing sugar

3 egg whites, from 3 large eggs, lightly whisked to a foam, but not a meringue

1.5 teaspoons almond essence

red food colouring (I used Rainbow Dust)

Using a food mixer, with a dough hook (or by hand), add the almonds, sugar, beaten egg whites and essence and mix slowly to a dough.

You’ll have to keep stopping and starting to ensure the dough mixes evenly.  Once the dough is combined add the red food colouring and continue to mix slowly until completely combined. Using a normal paddle attachment just adds to your woe as it sticks easily. You can of course mix this by hand… it does get heavy going though.

Once the dough is fully mixed turn out of the mixing bowl, wrap in film and cover and place in the fridge overnight. Or if you are pushed for time a couple of hours should do it.

And then the tricky bit.

Pre heat the oven to gas 5, 180c, 170c fan and line 4 baking trays with greaseproof paper.

Cut the cold dough into 4 fairly even chunks and keep them covered whilst you roll out each piece.

Lightly dust your worktop with cornflour, take 1 piece of the dough of using your hands roll the dough out to a long thin piece of dough, 2cm wide. Then cut the 1st piece 8cm long. The 2nd piece at 11cm, the 3rd at 14cm and so on, using each of the other 3 larger pieces of dough each cut at 3cm increments from the previous piece. Ultimately you should have 12 pieces, with the largest piece 41cm long.

Taking each piece, create a ring. This is the trickier bit. With the small pieces, you’ll need some patience,  but just keep going,  ‘ a squish and a squeeze’ and a ring you will do.

Lay out each ring onto the baking sheet, 5 small ones, 4 medium ones and 3 on the 3rd tray. Using an extra sheet of greaseproof, cover the 1st tray of rings and with another tray, lightly press on the rings to flatten them a little. Lightly flatten each tray.

Bake in the oven for around 10 minutes.  Don’t over bake or they dry out once cooled.

Remove from the oven and cool, before icing and assembling.

For the icing;

2 egg whites, lightly beaten to a foam.

400g icing sugar

pink food colouring

Using a hand-held whisk, ring the egg whites to a light foam – not a meringue – and add the icing sugar a heaped spoonful at a time and whisk in until fully beaten. Keep going until all mixed in. Before adding the final spoonful add in a squirt of pink food colour and whisk to combine.

Try not to leave this icing out too long or it will harden, so using a number 4 or 5 writing nozzle, pipe icing onto the base of the largest ring to secure it to your serving dish.  Then pipe the loops onto each ring starting with the largest ring. Continue piping loops onto the next largest, and so on, until each ring is covered in icing.

Finish off with your decorations of choice.

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Paradise Slice

And not a soggy bottom in sight.

I seem to be getting through my list of bakes to convert to gluten free. There was the chocolate mini rolls last year, thanks to the new series of The Great British Bake Off.

Then there was the creation of the gluten free ‘double decker’ bar… home-made nougat….ummmm 😀

Now, the gluten free Paradise Slice. But without the coconut….it’s not my favourite. Currently found in a local high street coffee chain

This is a 2 part bake, so line a small cake tin (26x16x3cm) with greaseproof paper and Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c, 160c fan.

For the shortbread;

– 75g soft butter

– 40g caster sugar

– 80g rice flour

– 40g cornflour

Beat the butter and sugar until, light and fluffy. Sieve the two flours together onto the butter and mix until fully combined and bring together to form a dough.

Now this is a small amount of shortbread and I found it easier to roll this out, to the size of the tin, but placing the dough onto the greaseproof, covering with cling film and the rolling out to fit the size of the tin. Remove the cling film before baking, then bake the shortbread for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely before spreading the jam.

For the next bit;

150g Raspberry jam (or other dependent on taste)

90g soft butter

90g caster sugar

2 eggs

60g ground almonds

30g gluten free oats

90g dried fruit

40g halved glacé cherries

1 teaspoon almond essence

Once you have spread your jam, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time, mix in the almonds, oats, rice flour and essence, then stir in the dried fruit and glacé cherries. Pour onto the jam, shortbread and bake for 25 – 30 minutes. There should be a light bronzed top. Allow to completely cool in the tin before removing and slicing – as 9 big slices or 18 bite size pieces.

 

Gluten Free Chocolate And Peanut Butter Biscuits

Gluten free biscuits are a bit of a nemesis when it comes to gluten free baking.

There is a little outside-the-boxing thinking required.

‘Normal’ biscuits are held together with gluten, simple. But just look at the makes up of gluten free flour and you’ll notice that there really isn’t anything there to do this. Now in some instances – mostly I have found with sponge cakes – you can just about get away with swopping out gluten free flour for normal flour. But with biscuits, that is not the case, in my humble opinion. Simply swopping out with gluten free flour gives you a puddle (once baked) on a tray, of cooked dough. Your cut cookies merge into one large piece of something…..

Some would say that adding xanthum gum is the way forward, but there are several arguments about the long-term effects on the body that this can cause. You can read that for yourself as I am not knowledgeable in those scientific matters. For me adding too much, can actually alter the taste, so I just add it to pastry, sparingly.

So thinking outside the box, what do you add? I simple terms, I know that my shortbread biscuits are pretty crispy, they have a ‘snap’. So by keeping to this relatively easy recipe a few tweaks and you have the basis for a gluten free biscuit.

So whilst the Country surges ahead with biscuits, as seen on the new series of ‘The Great British Bake Off’, some of us would rather buy a packet of gluten free biscuits from the supermarket! I on the other hand struggle and strive to create something nice and edible, which I think I have found here 😀

And this was my second try at this……Dear author of a well-known bakery (2 books) in London take note….you cannot simply swop ingredients to create something for everyone. Instinctively I knew it wasn’t going to work, but I had to give it a shot. Wont be doing that again!

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c/165c fan and line 2 – 3 trays (dependant on size of tray) with greaseproof paper.

This receive will make about 20 single biscuits, or in the case 10 biscuits sandwiches.

  • 50g soft butter
  • 80g caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 90g Rice Flour
  • 70g cornflour
  • 40g extra caster sugar

Filling;

  • 90g melted chocolate
  • 50g peanut butter – smooth or crunchy
  • 20g more of soft butter
  • 100g icing sugar

To make the biscuits, beat the sugar and butter with an electric hand-held whisk until it comes together and is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk. Sieve in the 2 flours and beat until combined. Now you may find this ends up as ‘breadcrumbs’, which is fine, just stop with the whisk and get your hands dirty and bring the mix together to form a dough. It will feel a little dry, but it’ll work.

With the dough break of small pieces, roughly 15-20g each, roll into a ball and place on your trays roughly 5cm apart. Once you have used up all the dough, dip the base of a small glass into the extra caster sugar and then press down on the balls of dough to slightly flatten them into biscuits. If they do stick, release them from the glass using a butter knife.

Bake in the oven for about 9-12 minutes, there should be little or no browning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely, before removing from the tray and placing onto your cooling rack.

To make the filling, which is rather fudge like – you are not going to be able to pipe this.

Beat the butters together, then beat in the icing sugar and pour in the melted chocolate. You should have som thing resembling fine breadcrumbs, but you need to then bring this together with your hands to form a ball.  From this, roll small balls of fillings, roughly 20g each, and use to sandwich between 2 biscuits. Repeat until you have filled all the biscuits.

Cover or serve.  They should last 2 – 3 days, if they haven’t all been eaten first.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Raspberry Torte

Before we all get side tracked into watching the new series of the Great British Bake Off and perhaps going a little off-piste with our baking, a little Torte to share with you.

The lovely people at Food Thoughts sent me a tub of their Natural Cacao Powder for baking, it’s also a Fairtrade product. Considered a natural and healthy product, with this much sugar in the recipe it might not be….but perhaps there is room to develop a healthier version? Ummmmm that’ll get me thinking.

If you can leave the Torte unsliced overnight, or for a few hours, the juice from the raspberries will seep out into the Torte and make it even more moist. If you can’t wait that long, a spoonful of half fat, creme fraiche or yoghurt (keeping it healthy) or a dollop of cream will do no harm either.

Relatively easy to make, you’ll need a couple of mixing bowls, one larger than the other, and pre heat the oven Gas 2, 160c, 155c fan. Line an 8″ deep cake tin, base and sides, with greaseproof.

5 eggs – separated

200g caster sugar

160g ground almonds

40g Food Thoughts Cacao Powder 

1 teaspoon Almond essence

100g fresh raspberries

Mix the ground almonds and cacao together and put to one side.

Whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks, using a stand mixer or electric hand-held whisk. Then pour in 50g of the caster sugar and continue to whisk until you have a soft sheen – not too dissimilar to making a meringue. This is where you get the air into the cake, so ensure you use fresh eggs and don’t rush this bit.

Using the same beaters (saving on washing up and it makes little or no difference) and in another larger bowl, beat the egg yolks, remaining 150g of sugar and the Almond essence until light in colour, roughly 50% more in volume and the mix thickens to get that ‘ribbon stage’ – if you pull the whisk out, it leaves a ribbon. Pour into this the almonds and cacao mix and mix well. This will be a stiff paste.

Fold into this a third of the meringue mix, this first third will lose some of the volume, but it’s important to mix well to loosen up the yolk and Almond mix and ensure any pockets of egg whites are dispersed. Fold in the next third, folding gently so as not to knock out the air. Fold in the final third, folding slowly and ensuring all the paste is evenly mixed.

Pour into your prepared cake tin and gently push the raspberries into the top of the mix. There is no need to push them fully down, just enough as you can see in the photo, they don’t sink. But don’t need to.

Bake for 40 – 45 mins.  An inserted skewer will come out with a little of the finished Torte, so you will need to judge for yourself how much is too much cake (on the skewer).