‘Tis the Season….

It is indeed the season to be joyful.

Gluten free Mince Pies

And there is no excuse required in this house, to eat and enjoy a gluten free mince pie. All the more when the pastry is a little thicker than normal and a little extra rich! For me, this newer gluten free recipe for pastry has a little extra melt-in-the-mouth experience and, and if you have some added festive spirit to hand, add this to your sweet Mincemeat for that added touch of indulgence. It’s Christmas after all, although I don’t need an excuse to eat mince pies any time of the year 😀😀😀

Yes, you can buy gluten free mince pies in the shops, yes the gluten free range is increasing, there is though, nothing like baking your own. It takes no more time to make or bake gluten free versus ‘normal’ and I’ll be honest, these taste great! So, go on, give it a go. What’s the worst that can happen??? 😀😀

Preheat your oven to gas 5, 200c fan, 215c

Have to hand you pastry topper cutter to hand (I used a Tala Christmas Tree one), an 8cm round cutter for the base and a deep 12 hole tray (used twice). This recipe makes about 18 mince pies.

70g ground almonds

310g gluten free plain flour

1 level teaspoon of xanthum gum

100g caster sugar

280g diced butter

2 eggs

540g gluten free Mincemeat

Alcoholic beverage of choice. Optional of course, but I’ve used Calvados, brandy and amaretto to make these mince pies.

Using a food processor, blend the ground almonds, gluten free plain flour, xanthum gum and sugar together for about 30 seconds until fully combined. Alternatively sieve the ingredients together over a bowl to mix them all together.

Then add the diced butter to the processor and blend on pulse until you have a mix that resembles fine breadcrumbs. No more than a minute. Alternatively rub the butter into the dry mix with your fingertips to reach the same state.

Crack the 2 eggs into a cup and lightly whisk with a fork.

Pour roughly 1.5 (save the other half as egg wash for the finished pie) of the egg mix into the flour and butter mix and blend together in the processor for about 20 seconds and then tip out on to the table top and bring together to form a dough. Or likewise, pour the egg mix into your bowl, if making by hand and again bring together to form a dough.

Let this dough rest a little in the fridge, wrapped in cling film, to firm the butter up, if nothing else. Otherwise the dough can get a little greasy.

Once the dough has rested for about 15 minutes, take it out of the fridge and unwrap it from the film. Place it on a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough to about 4mm in thickness.

You may need to gather and reform the dough and roll out again to get the right amount of bases and tops.

Cut out 18 rounds for the base and 18 toppers. Brush the inside of each pastry round with some of the remaining beaten egg.

Place the bases in the cake tray, pop in about 30g of Mincemeat into each base and splash on about a tablespoon or 2 of optional alcoholic spirits….. top with your pastry topper of choice, brush this with egg wash and place into the oven to bake for around 15 – 20 minutes or until lightly bronzed.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool, before removing from the tray and sprinkling with icing sugar and serving. If you need to bake the remaining batch of mince pies, repeat – and line, brush, fill, splash, top, brush and bake…..

Once fully cooled, these can be placed in a tub, placed into the freezer and kept for no more than a month. So if you need to bake ahead, now is the time.

Can be served warm with your favourite – brandy butter, brandy custard, or just warm and on their own.

 

Gluten free Chocolate Chriwhisky Tart

And that’s  Cree-Whisky!! 😀😀😀 Or Christmas in-a-bite-Tart.

Adding a slosh of decadence to your festive season with a dash of chocolate, mincemeat and a slosh of whisky. What’s not to like?

Using my lovely new, shiny 13” long tart tin again, I have created what could be something of a centre-piece for your table anytime of year, but the use of sweet mincemeat (a favourite of ours) means it’ll fit wonderfully for this coming Christmas.

Resting the pastry a topic for discussion? For this recipe I found there was no need. So don’t bother 😀. There is quite a bit of pastry here, I found that to cover the surface area and keep the pastry sturdy, the thicker the merrier. Plus you can then use the excess for the decoration.

For the pastry;

  • 300g gluten free plain flour
  • 170g butter – taken out the fridge an hour or so before hand
  • 60g Caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum (or similar binding agent)
  • milk to bring together to form a dough

Stage 1 would be to bake the pastry blind. So Preheat the oven to gas 4, 180c, 160c fan.

I used a food processor to blitz the flour, butter, sugar and gum into breadcrumbs. If you don’t have one, work quickly with your fingers to rub the mixture together to the same point. From the processor, tip the ingredients into a bowl and pour in 30ml of cold milk at first, then a tablespoon at a time, in order to bring the dough together. Adding s little at a time will ensure the dough doesn’t get too sticky, but the dough will take a bit of sticky as the gluten free flour will absorb the liquid.

Once you have that dough, roll out to roughly the 4/5mm thick and fill the tart tin. Retain any surplus pastry dough and wrap in cling film. Prick the surface, cover with a sheet of greaseproof, fill the tart with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes. Remove and cool the pastry. Only half stage blind baking is required as it’ll go back into the oven to finish with the filling.

The filling (oven on gas 4, 180c, 160c fan);

  • 140g Soft butter
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 85g ground almonds
  • 30g cocoa – I use Food Thoughts Cocoa
  • 30g gluten free self raising flour
  • 180g mincemeat
  • generous splashes of whisky (we had some Bowmore in the cupboard…..)

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then add in the eggs one at a time until fully combined. Tip in the dry ingredients, the mincemeat and the splash(es) of whisky and mix in well.

Spread the mix into the pastry case evenly. Roll out the remaining pastry and cut out some little shapes to decorate the surface. Brush with a little milk before baking for 35 – 40 minutes. Check with an inserted skewer, but some moisture is required to the finished bake.  The retaining heat will finish the bake-off nicely.

Remove from the oven and cool before serving or cool completely before serving cold. (Best served warm, sprinkled with icing sugar and either cream or custard)

Merry Christmas one and all 🎅🏻😀🎄⛄️

 

 

Gluten Free Mulled Wine Cheesecake

I had a bit of fun with this one.

Least of all because I’ve had to make 2 cheesecakes, but also getting to munch of some mulled wine jelly! Don’t get me wrong, the first cheesecake was indeed very nice – a baked cheesecake, but sadly lacking for me on overall depth of taste with the mulled wine. The no-bake cheesecake has for me, made the grade. A hint-and-a-hit of mulled wine. Just in time for the festive season. Or indeed to use up any spare at the end of the festive season. Waste not want not 😀

As this is to be made in 3 stages, some planning is required.

You’ll need 1 x 7” cake tin or similar tin in order for the jelly to set and with a little depth and fully lined with cling film to encase the jelly and ensure it sets. Then another 7″ deep, springform cake tin (lined) for the cheesecake.

Ingredients;

  • 200g gluten free shortbread biscuits (I used Sainsbury’s Free From) crushed into breadcrumbs
  • 70g melted butter
  • 360g full fat cream cheese
  • 170g double cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Speculaas Spice
  • 70g icing sugar
  • 380ml mulled wine
  • 3 sheets gelatine

To make the mulled wine jelly; put the sheets of gelatine into a small bowl and pour over with just enough water to cover. Leave for about 5 minutes to absorb the water and become floppy. Measure out 300ml of the mulled wine. Once floppy, gently squeeze the water out of the gelatine and place into a small saucepan. Over a gentle heat warm the gelatine to melt it to a liquid. This will only take a couple of minutes and don’t use a fierce heat – gently does it.  Then with a whisk, pour the mulled wine onto the melted gelatine and give a gentle whisk to ensure everything is mixed together. Pour into the prepared, lined tin and place in the fridge to set.

For the base of the cheesecake, mix the melted butter with the crushed up biscuits and press into the base of the springform cake tin and leave to set in the fridge whilst you make the filling.

Gently whisk the double cream with 30g of the icing sugar, 40ml of mulled wine and the speculaas spice. Don’t over whisk though or it’ll turn to butter.

Whisk the cream cheese with the remaining 40g of the icing sugar and the remaining 40ml of mulled wine. Then combine the 2 creams for a final whisk and blend, then scoop onto the set biscuit base. Cover with film and pop back in the fridge for a couple of hours for the cream mix to set.

Once you are ready to assemble remove the mulled wine from the fridge and using a suitable cutter, cut out your required shapes. For something a little different, I dredged the shape of the Christmas tree using a mix of a tablespoon of cocoa and 1/2 a teaspoon of speculaas spice.

To serve, and as you will have plenty of mulled wine jelly left, roughly chop this up and serve as a worthy accompaniment.

 

Gluten Free Christmas Yule Log

Ho Ho Ho

We are well and truly in the Festive swing of things here in Cakes Towers. With little time left until the big day, Noah’s mum has all but completed the Christmas shopping and we can almost relax and hear the sleigh bells jingling in the distance.  Just a lttle hurdle of the day job to get through between now and then.

And what better way to start than putting together another centre piece cake for the Christmas table than a Gluten Free Chocolate Yule Log. Full of seasonal richness and our favourite – chocolate.  Although I’ll admit, it looks more like a Yule Stump! 😀😀

gluten-free-christmas-yule-log

There is a little bit of work with this one, but having all the ingredients together makes life very easy.

There are 5 stages to this Yule Log and it is certainly best if you can do the lot on the same day. Least of all because as we know gluten free baking has a tendency to dry out quicker than conventional baking. You will be making the swiss roll, then covering it with Nutella, cover this with a cream frosting, rolling it up and then covering the lot in chocolate buttercream!

To start, line a swiss roll tray with greaseproof paper and pre heat the oven to Gas 6/200c. You are going to use the top shelf for this one, none of the middle shelf nonsense!

Also take another piece of greaseproof paper slightly larger than the swiss roll tray and sprinkle with caster sugar – about a tablespoons worth. You will need this for when the swiss roll has been baked.

To make the Gluten Free Yule Log

75g Caster Sugar

3 Large eggs

1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

20g Cocoa – I used Food Thoughts

55g Gluten Free Self Raising Flour

200g Nutella

120g Double Cream

20g Icing sugar

60g Full fat cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract

200g soft butter

380g Icing Sugar

220g Melted dark chocolate

Decorations of your choosing ( I just used sifted icing sugar)

Whisk the Sugar and Egg together until at least tripled in size.  I used a Kitchen Aid standing mixer with a whisk attachment and left it going for about 8 – 10 minutes. You need to get the air in, you’ll know its ready when you left our the whisk and it leaves its ‘impression’ in the mix, the mix will hold its shape too. Whisk the extract in briefly.

Put the dry ingredients into a sieve and sieve them over the egg and sugar mix. FOLD in gently with a metal spoon, using swift scooping motions too slow incorporate the flour mix, taking care to not knock out all the air you have just put in.

Pour this mix into the prepared tin and bake for about 8 minutes.

Once baked, and cooled for no more than a minute, turn this out immediately onto the sugar lined greaseproof paper. Keep hold of the oven gloves and take care not to burn yourself, a quick flip is required.

Remove the greaseproof paper form the base of the cooked swiss roll and then roll the swiss roll up into the greaseproof paper. Roll from the short end. This should help the cooked swiss roll to stretch into shape and be easier to roll up again with filling. It stops it cracking and breaking up as well. Although if it does, no matter as it’ll get covered!

To make the cream frosting, put the double cream, 20g icing sugar, cream cheese and vanilla extract all into one bowl and using a hand held whisk, whisk until its stiff and spreadable – about 2-3minutes. Then set to one side.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft, then mix in the icing sugar and beat again until light a fluffy. Then pour in the melted chocolate and beat again. You’ll need to ensure you scrape the sides of the bowl.

gf-christmas-yule-log1

To assemble;

Unroll the swiss roll, spread with the Nutella – you’ll need to warm this slightly, so 10 seconds bursts in the microwave on full, should do this. Then dot the cream mix over the top of this and spread carefully until the roll is covered. Then carefully roll it all up to create the Swiss Roll.

Now if you want to just use it as one roll or ‘Log’ simply place the Swiss Roll on to your desired serving platter. However if you want to create more of a ‘branch’ then cut the roll a quarter of the way down – either at an angle or straight down and place this small piece alongside of the larger piece. Placing and decorating this on your desired serving plate, is by far easier than transferring the finished product.

For ease of spreading the buttercream, I piped mine on using a star nozzle, it also helps with creating the ‘bark’ lines too.  Start along the top and work your way around the cake from there.  Using a knife you can then smooth the ‘bare trunk’ sides in order to create the tree rings.

christmas-yule-log-gluten-free

Sprinkle with dusted icing sugar or your decoration of choice and then you just have to decide where to cut it and who gets the rich buttercream ends or the slice of cake!

 

 

Gluten Free Mulled Wine Chocolate Brownies

Mulled Wine Chocolate Brownies…yes Mulled Wine! Not for the feint hearted…..time to get into the festive spirit..literally 😀

The smell of Christmas is abound whilst making and baking this one!  But if you can leave it overnight – the flavour from the mulled wine really starts to infuse….. and there’ll be plenty of Mulled Wine left over to try whilst baking

gluten-free-mulled-wine-choc-brownie

Pre-heat the oven to Gas 3/150c and line a baking tray roughly 27x14x43cm with greaseproof, ensuring there is a couple of centimetres above the height of the tin.

200g Butter – diced

200g Dark chocolate – chopped into small pieces

3 Eggs

230g Soft brown sugar

100g Gluten free plain flour

50g Cocoa (I used Food Thoughts Cocoa)

1/2 Teaspoon Mixed Spice

140ml Mulled Wine (I used this one from Waitrose)

gluten-free-mulled-wine-chocoalte-brownie

Begin by melting the dark chocolate and butter. I melted mine in a bowl set over a pan of water on the stove. Not letting the bowl touch the water and let the water come to a gentle simmer. Leave the butter and chocolate to melt gently and stir often to get an even melt. Remove the bowl from the heat once melted and leave to cool.

Sift the flour and the cocoa together and set aside.

Using a hand held electric whisk, whisk the eggs and sugar until twice the volume. This should take about 4/5 minutes.

Gently pour in the sifted gluten free flour and cocoa and add the 1/2 teaspoon of mixed spice and fold in using a large metal spoon until the flour is all mixed in with no lumps of flour.

Pour in the mulled wine and mix in gently with the spoon. Pour the batter into the lined tin and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Leave to cool completely before removing from the tin and the dust with icing sugar before cutting and serving.

Happy holidays

I am also linking this post with

http://tinandthyme.uk

In December 2016 #WeShouldCocoa

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