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.

 

Its nearly Christmas

Just around the corner now, Christmas. It comes around every year, to some a complete surprise, to others – those who are well organised – something to relax to and enjoy. A time of family, friends and loved ones, to give and to receive.

To some a time of mixed emotions, memories of events that they may want to forget. Everyone tackles this time of year in a different way, spare a thought for the quiet ones, the not so over enthusiastic ones.  Go and say ‘Hello’ and spread the joy, you never know, someone might just need it.

From me a simple welcome to the festive season, with a simple recipe for the humble, gluten free mince pie.  A family favourite – warm or cold, with cream or custard, or any variation thereof. Only this time I decided to pop a teaspoon of Speculaas spice into the pastry, not too much to over power, but enough to enhance the overall experience of the mince pie.

This recipe should make around 24 x 7cm mince pies with the limited topping as show in the pastry.  If you need a little more, then the recipe should scale up (or even down) well.  Have your cutters at the ready…..and go….

Preheat the oven to Gas 5, 190c, 175c fan

  • 300g gluten free plain flour
  • 170g soft butter
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthum gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon Speculaas Spice – I used mine from The Speculaas Spice Company
  • milk to bind together – approx. 40ml
  • a jar of Mincemeat – Tesco or Sainsbury’s – have own brand no-gluten ingredient mincemeat

For complete ease I blended the gluten free flour, butter, sugar, gum and spices in a food processor until I had fine breadcrumbs, tipped this out into a bowl and added the milk until I had a lovely smooth dough.  Alternatively you could rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you have the fine breadcrumbs and then pick up with adding the milk.

Roll out to your desired thickness – some around the thickness of a pound coins – 2 – 3mm – and cut out shapes with your cutter. You can bring the remaining pastry together to form another ball, then re-roll to create more bases (and tops)

Line each disc with your mincemeat – around a teaspoon of the mixture in each and then cover with your desired pastry cover.

Brush with a little milk and bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes until the pastry has a little bronzed look to it.

Remove and cool, sprinkle with icing sugar and enjoy.

Alternatively cool completely and they will freeze well for up to 3 months.  Defrost thoroughly before eating though.

Gluten Free Chocolate and Black Cherry Cupcakes

A little joyous seasonal goodwill to all

Well I never!! Could this nearly be the stuff of dreams??? Those good people over at Sugar and Crumbs do seem to put some great flavoured icing sugars together!  This Black Cherry flavoured icing sugar brings a whole new life to any cupcakes. And no they didn’t give me the ingredients, I actually bought this flavour at the recent Cake and Bake Show at Event City near Manchester.

The range is fantastic and can be used to swop out traditional caster sugar in cupcakes and sponges, but also to swop out icing sugar in macrons and buttercream for example – see their website for further details – http://www.sugarandcrumbs.co.uk

I also used Food Thoughts cocoa – because I find it tastes better.  This is available in Sainsbury’s and is making a show in some Waitrose stores.

Preheat the oven the gas 4, 180c, 160c fan and line a 12 hole cupcake tray with cases.

The keen-eyed may notice that I have reduced the amounts of ingredients used for 12 cupcakes. Well done and very observant, mainly to have a more balanced eat, but also to potentially reduce costs.  There is also no need to look at a filling for these either, there is enough taste per bite 🙂

  • 110g soft butter
  • 50g Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry Icing Sugar
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 30g Food Thoughts Cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 90g gluten free self raising flour
  • splash of milk

Beat the butter and sugars until they are light and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully beaten in. Then tip in the dry ingredients, stir in well to create and lovely mixture.  You may need to add a splash of milk at this stage if the mixture feels a little ‘heavy’.

Evenly fill the cupcake cases, then bake for 20 – 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing the cupcakes from the tin and transferring to a wire rack before piping.

For the buttercream;

  • 110g soft butter
  • 40g Food Thoughts Cocoa
  • 80g Sugar and Crumbs Black Cherry Icing
  • 80g Icing Sugar
  • splash of milk

Beat the butter (I used a hand-held electric whisk – for both the batter mix and the buttercream) until light and fluffy.  Stir in the sugars to combine with the butter before finishing with the electric whisk. |Overall, roughly 5 minutes of beating should give you a light and fluffy buttercream. You may need to add the splash of milk to get a lovely smooth, pipeable mixture.

The thing with the Sugar and Crumbs Icing is that you could use the full amount of icing to butter ration, in a buttercream mix.  It al depends on how flavoured you like you mix.  I prefer a light, subtle flavour, rather than the full on hit.  You are free to flavour as you so wish.  With less flavoured icing in the recipe you are able to make it go further.

Pipe onto your cooled cupcakes and decorate as you see fit.  I used these without gluten Christmas Sprinkles.

 

 

 

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!