Gluten Free Macadamia, Raspberry and White Chocolate Cake

Now, I haven’t done a review of last year, it’s not something I’ve done before so not really sure of the benefits. My aim remains the same, to ensure those on a gluten free diet, by choice or by design can access a variety of bakes relatively easily.  That they can see that having coeliac disease means not having to be different and baking and then the eating, can be enjoyed by everyone.  Bakes don’t have to be widely different and that adapting recipes is possible.

We have found that Noah will eat well as long as everyone else around him is eating the same.  The difficulty comes when he stands out, when he becomes different and the choices he has are limited.  Companies can learn a lot by this.  Children don’t usually want to be different in their early years, they don’t want to stand out, they want to be equal.  Generally, children’s menus when eating out with coeliac disease, are not putting children on the same level. Small changes to ingredients and some thinking around menu design can and will, make all the difference.  My experience as a chef currently means that eating out, and trusting establishments, is something we don’t do.  There are exceptions, yes, but they are still few and far between.

That said then with baking, it is also about me trying something different.  But does different mean being obscure?

This gluten free cake is wonderfully moist with the flavours all pulling together with each bite.

Preheat the oven to gas 4, 170c, 150c fan and line the base of a deep 8″ sandwich tin with greaseproof.

  • 150g gluten free self raising flour
  • 100g whole macadamia nuts
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 100ml sunflower oil
  • 100g melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons almond essence
  • 50ml sour cream
  • 200g Raspberry Jam
  • 100g white chocolate – melted
  • additional 140g very soft butter
  • 140g icing sugar

Firstly weigh 40g of the nuts and crush them slightly and 100g of the caster sugar. Put this into a saucepan to create a macadamia praline.  Stir in 4 tablespoons of water and bring to a boil and then heat until you have caramelised the nuts. This should take around 5 – 6 minutes.  Pour the praline onto a piece of greaseproof to cool and to use later as a garnish to the finished cake.  If you leave the nuts whole, when blended the oil from the nuts will make the praline soggy. Tasty, but soggy.

For the cake then take the 150g gluten free flour and the 60g  of nuts and blend these together to form more of a ground ‘nut flour’.  Blended, or grounding, the macadamia nuts on their own will just create a soggy unworkable ‘mush’.  By adding the flour, it helps to soak up the oil from the nuts.  If the nuts are not ground enough, blitz for another minute or more.

Once you have your ground flour mix, place this the eggs, sugar, oil, melted butter, essence and sour cream all into the mixing bowl (I used a table top, stand mixer) and beat well for, again, 5 – 6 minutes until you have a light fluffy batter.

Pour into the cakes tin and bake for around 45 – 50 minutes.  Check with an inserted skewer to see if its done, if it comes out clean it is. If not, pop back in for another 5 minutes or so.

Once baked remove from the oven, allow to cool, before then removing from the tin and leave to cool completely before icing.

Once cooled down, carefully slice the cake into 3 slices, spread with jam and place the cake slices back to form the cake.

To make the praline crumbs, just place all the set, caramelised nuts into a blender and blend to a crumb.

To make the icing beat the butter until its light and fluffy, stir in the icing sugar and beat again, pour in the melted white chocolate and beat again until well combined.

You can then either spread the icing onto the cake or pipe and sprinkle on the praline crumbs

 

 

 

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Gluten Free Star Biscuits

Biscuits, for  me the gluten free baker, are a bit of a devil.

The lack of gluten to hold the ingredients can prove a little tricky during baking as the mix just doesn’t hold and the ‘biscuits’ flood the baking tray. You’re left with a very tasty slab of biscuit.

So you have to think a little differently and a little outside the box sometimes. A little less of this and a little more of that. Trial and error. At least that’s what I’ve found.

I’ll keep at it, but I’d like to share this recipe with you in the meantime. You can of course eat these as simple biscuits without putting a filling in or drizzle some sauce on.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180c and make sure the shelf is in the middle of the oven. Line 3 baking sheets with greaseproof, or get sheets ready to put on baking sheets when you have cooked a tray of biscuits. This recipe will make about 20 biscuits, but that’ll depend on how big your cutter is.

Gluten Free Star Biscuits

100g butter

100g caster sugar

1 beaten egg

1 tsp vanilla essence

180g Gluten free Plain flour

100g Rice flour

Filling –

80g soft butter

160g Icing sugar – I used Sugar and Crumbs flavoured icing sugar. The Cherry Bakewell Icing is Gluten free.

Your choice of jam

Cream and the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the beaten egg and the essence. Stir in the flours until well combined and you have a lovely dough.

Place this on a floured surface and roll out to you desired thickness – about as thick as a pound coin.

Using your cutter of choice, gently cut out your shapes. Use a smaller cutter of the same shape and press into half of the biscuits to get a ‘hole’ – a bit like the Jammie dodgers you see. When done, you can bring the ‘bits’ together, form another dough ball and roll out again. Repeat again of needs be. Place your cut shapes on the greaseproof.

Before baking you need to rest the cut shapes in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

Once rested, bake one tray at a time for about 8 minutes. Once cooked leave the trays of baked biscuits to cool for about 10 minutes before removing from the greaseproof. They need to set and rest otherwise they’ll break and bend.

To make the buttercream beat the soft butter until fluffy then stir in the icing sugar before beating again – I used a hand-held electric whisk – until nice and smooth. Fill a piping bag using a plain nozzle.

To make the gluten free Bakewell Biscuits – pipe a little of the buttercream onto half of the biscuits – the ones without the hole, leaving a little gap in the middle for the jam. Put half a teaspoon of jam into the little space and then top with the holey biscuit.

If you want to buy some lovely flavoured icing sugars, the link is here. There is a fantastic range of flavours to get your imagination going.

Home

Mrs Darlington’s Jams, curds and pickles are now available on-line too.

http://www.mrsdarlingtons.com

 

Gluten Free Jam Tarts

Gluten free baking for Noah is such fun. There are so many cakes and bakes that I try out, both with and without success.  So trying to sort through which ones to write about does pose some difficulties, as not everything I bake gets a post.  I have to keep somethings to myself for a later date!

But on this occasion the post was chosen for me. Perhaps by default or by design this particular post has had the most interactions (or impressions) on my Twitter page in recent months.  Its simplicity was a surprise hit and yet this could be what everyone wants. Nothing complicated, nothing with ingredients that folk have to buy, but ingredients that most kitchens already have to hand.

These were actually an after thought! I was fortunate enough to have been sent a bag of gluten free flour from the lovely people at The Gluten Free Flour Company so I was going to write a post on Blueberry Frangipane with Wild Blueberry Jam, but perhaps destiny had something else in mind.  After all everyone loves a Jam Tart 🙂

http://shop.glutenfreebaking.co.uk/ – click here to visit their on-line shop.

Having made a batch of the pastry for the larger tart, I was faced with a few ounces of pastry… and I just knew jam tarts would go down a treat…..and wouldn’t last long either!

Gluten Free Jam Tarts

The basic recipe for my 7″ pastry is;

8oz Gluten Free Plain Flour – from The Gluten Free Flour Company

5oz diced butter

2 egg yolks

1 tablespoon of icing sugar

semi-skimmed milk to bind

Rub the gluten free flour and the butter together until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the egg yolks and the icing sugar and then bring to a dough using the milk. I used a touch more milk, so the dough was slightly wet, as I knew the flour will absorb the liquid and experience tells me that the dough would other wise be dry.

Leave then for 30 minutes to rest in the fridge.

Roll out and use for whatever else you are making and bake blind.

With the remainder of the pastry, I made the jam tarts.  Roll out to the desired height and using a 6cm round cutter, cut out as many (at least 12) rings as you can. Place the pastry into a greased shallow baking pan and fill each case with a teaspoon of your favourite jam – I used Mrs Darlington’s – and spread to cover the base of the pastry.

Then bake in the preheated (Gas 4, 180c) oven for about 10 minutes or until the pastry has a bronzed look.

Stockists of Mrs Darlington’s and a bit about them can be found here.

http://mrsdarlingtons.com/

Now I’m not sure of any differences in using this particular brand of flour, because I tried a different mix of ingredients, but the end cooked result, was a little less crumblier than that of other gluten free flours and the ‘bite’ was also a little better. I’ll let you make your own conclusions when you try it yourself 🙂

Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

A Touch of Nostalgia – Gluten Free Macaroon Tart

I wrote earlier about inspiration and how it comes in various ways. So when I was leafing through an old folder and notebook, I came across several years worth of old recipes and ideas. Ones that needed updating and ‘glutenfree-ing’.

These recipes and ideas have various origins and stretch almost to the beginning of my career. At a time when allergies and intolerances were  certainly unheard of to me. And bless you, should you be a vegetarian!

These recipes are both sweet and savoury and many are from the menus I cooked from. Recipes and ideas passed down from chef to chef to ensure some form of standardised dish presentation. All this, way before establishments started to formalise their own actual recipes and produce physical trade cook books.

There are many tales to tell and as I went through the random pages of my ‘Little Blue Book’, and sheets of recipes and menus, many fond memories came flooding back. But those I shall save for another day. Perhaps…..

But there was one set of recipes that bears some relevance to ‘today’.

I’m not entirely sure how the recipes were acquired or even how I managed to charm them out of such closely guarded secrecy, from the hands of 2 fellow students. But of the 2 sheets of paper I had, only one remains. Of the ‘lost’ recipes, I only remembered 2 of them,  and I have managed to track down one of them. The other will remain undetected. The recipes were for school dinner puds. Good old-fashioned comfort food. Of days gone by; of walking to school 3 miles away (it felt more), of long summers and white Christmases.  The two students (as was I) were dinner ladies, gaining valuable knowledge and qualifications at a College in Suffolk.

Now, I must have enjoyed school and its dinners, because I can’t ever remember complaining and the memories I do have are fond and warm. And I most certainly remember the puddings!

And now I have the (some at least) recipes! 😀

Sadly I can’t locate ‘Chocolate Crunch’, but ‘Toffee Cream Tart’ and ‘Lemon Love Cake’ are mine! As well as ‘Macaroon Tart’ and this I share with you now. Originally baked as a whooping traybake (served with warm custard) I have adapted this to gluten free of course and amended further to make it mine. But the origins remain.

And as Noah starts school this year, my hope for him, will that he too can enjoy his school dinners (especially as they are free!!). That he too can have fond memories in the years to come. That having Coeliac Disease does not mean he misses out.

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Macaroon Tart

The recipe requires a 7cm pastry cutter and makes approx 24 tartlets.

Preheat the oven to Gas 4, 180c

The Pastry – Rub 200g Dove Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour with 100g butter to form fine breadcrumbs, then mix in 1 egg yolk, 1/2 teaspoon of Xanthum Gum and bring to form a dough with a few drops of cold water. Mould into a dough, roll into a ball, wrap and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.

The Topping – Beat 120g soft butter with 100g soft brown sugar until light and fluffy. Then mix in 150g Gluten Free Rolled Oats (I used  Nairns) 60g of Ground Almonds, 2 teaspoons of Almond Essence, and 2 tablespoons of Jam (I used a new jam from ‘Mrs Darlington’s’ – Peach Melba). I guess this now resembles something akin to flapjacks.

Remove the pastry from the fridge. You will need to give this a little knead to make the pastry more pliable and then roll out to the desired thickness. Using your pastry cutter, cut out the pastry discs and place into the pastry baking tray. Place 1/2 a teaspoon more of jam, into the bottom of each pastry round. Roll the ‘macaroon’ mix into balls, no bigger than a walnut, flatten a little and then place on top of the jam, and into the pastry shape. No need to press down as the cooking will do this for you.

Bake then on the middle shelf, for approx 18 – 20 minutes until cooked and the tart has a golden look. You’ll probably have to bake one tray at a time. Once cooked, leave to cool completely before removing from the tray, as the gluten free pastry is a little fragile at this stage.

These can be enjoyed cold, or if you are making one large tart, serve warm with custard…..enjoy 😀

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I am also sharing this post with others for ‘Credit Crunch Munch’ May 2015. As I was able to use up some ingredients I  had left in the cupboard, namely the rolled oats. Always a tricky one!

You can find all manner of other dishes on a budget from

http://www.fussfreeflavours.com/credit-crunch-munch http://www.bakingqueen74.co.uk and http://www.fabfood4all.co.uk/credit-crunch-munch