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Category Archives: Gluten-Free Bakes

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Chocolate Almond Meringues

I’ve not blogged for a while, but it’s not for lack of baking, just lots of other things going on that have kept me from the keyboard. Hopefully I’ll be able to get lots of recipes added in a short space of time to make up for it.

To kick things off, here are some lovely meringues I made when I was cooking dinner for friends recently. I served them with good vanilla ice cream, warm mixed berries (just a bag of frozen ones from the supermarket, heated through with a couple of tablespoons of sugar), salted caramel sauce and chocolate hazelnut sauce. Meringues are great for entertaining as you can make them several days in advance and (once cooled) store them in an air tight container or tin.

Chocolate Almond Meringues

Ingredients:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
  • 30g dark chocolate, finely grated
  • 1 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp vinegar (I used cider vinegar, but white wine or sherry vinegar would be fine)
  • 100g flaked almonds, toasted

Heat the oven to 180C and line two baking trays with greaseproof paper (when the meringue is made, used little blobs of it to secure the paper to the baking trays). Using a stand mixer or electric hand whisk, whisk the egg whites until you get to the stiff peak stage. Still whisking, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, allowing the sugar to get completely incorporated before adding more. Continue to whisk until all the sugar is mixed in and the meringue is white and glossy.

Add the cocoa and dark chocolate, folding in with either a rubber spatula or large metal spoon. DO NOT use a wooden spoon or other blunt kitchen tool as you’ll lose too much of the air you’ve spent so long adding. You can be quite swift and firm when folding in, but make sure you don’t leave any pockets of dry ingredient unmixed. Sprinkle over the cornflour, vinegar and toasted almonds and fold these through. Dollop mounds on the prepared baking sheets, leaving a little space between as they will spread and settle a little.

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Pillowy mounds of glossy meringue

Place the meringues in the oven and turn the temperature down immediately to 150C. Bake for 45-50 minutes. The meringues will be crisp on the outside, possibly even a little cracked, with a chewy, marshmallowy middle. Remove from the oven and allow to cool and use the same day, or you can store them in an airtight (and completely dry) container for 3 or 4 days.

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

Crisp outer shell with a chewy, marshmallowy centre

To make an easy chocolate sauce, heat 300ml double cream to just below boiling, break in 150g milk chocolate (or a mix of milk and plain) and stir until melted. Add a tiny pinch of salt and, if you have it, a tablespoon or two of liqueur (I used hazelnut, but orange, mint, brandy or Baileys would all be perfect). Allow to cool to room temperature. Pour over almost anything for instant deliciousness!

If you want to make your own salted caramel sauce, I swear by Nigella Lawson’s recipe and you can find it here. And if you want more meringue goodness, take a look at my other recipes.

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Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade; light, luscious, sweet and sharp

My best friend loves lemon, particularly lemon curd. For our pre-Christmas get-together I decided to make a dessert with some lemon curd; something a bit sharp and zingy to liven up the taste buds when all around is super-stodgy, rich and spicy. I decided on roulade as, though it’s filled with cream, the sweet meringue is light and fluffy inside and the perfect foil to the tart lemon and raspberries. I was incredibly pleased with how this turned out – it’s easily as good as any luxury dessert you’d get at a supermarket – it’d be a brilliant centrepiece pud for a New Year’s celebration.

If you wanted, you could use ready made lemon curd, but make sure it’s the best quality you can afford, made with real lemons, eggs and butter and not full of additives and setting agents. However, making the curd is actually quite simple, gives you a great sense of satisfaction, and there’s plenty left over for toast (or give it as a gift in a pretty jar).

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

For the lemon curd: (I followed a Nigel Slater recipe)

  • 4 lemons, preferably unwaxed
  • 200g sugar
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs and 1 yolk (save the spare white for your meringue)

In a heat proof bowl, over a pan of simmering water (don’t let the bowl touch the water) combine the finely grated zest and juice of the lemons with the sugar and butter, stirring until everything has melted.

Give the eggs and extra yolk a little whisk to mix, then add to the lemon mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon or whisk frequently until the mixture thickens. It’ll feel heavier and be the consistency of custard. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for several hours or overnight (if you’re planning on giving some as gifts then put it in sterilised jam jars at this stage, whilst it’s still hot –  you’ll get a couple of small jars worth with enough left over to make the roulade)

For the meringue:

  • 4 egg whites
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp corn flour
  • 1 tsp cider/white wine vinegar
  • a little icing sugar for dusting

Heat the oven to 150C and grease and line a Swiss roll tin or high sided baking sheet (approx 23 x 33cm) with greaseproof paper. Now, to make your meringue it’s really important your bowl is scrupulously clean – if possible use a glass or metal bowl and wipe round the inside with the cut side of half a lemon or a paper towel with a little vinegar on; this should get rid of any grease. Put your egg whites in the bowl and whisk until you get to the stiff peaks stage. Add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking all the while. Sprinkle over the corn flour and vinegar and give one last short whisk until everything is combined and glossy. Spoon the mixture onto the prepared tin, smoothing into the corners with a spatula and trying to get a flat, even surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until the surface of the meringue is just firm. Remove from the oven, let it cool for about ten minutes. Lay a sheet of greaseproof on a board and dust with icing sugar. Once the meringue has cooled a little turn it out onto the board and carefully remove the greaseproof from the base and leave to cool while you assemble the filling.

For the filling:

  • Approx 200ml lemon curd
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar, sifted
  • 150g raspberries

In a large bowl, whip the cream with the icing sugar until thick – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily if the whisk is tapped on the side of the bowl. It’s easy to over-whisk cream if you do it with an electric whisk or stand mixer so keep a close eye on it if you use a machine. It doesn’t take long to do with a balloon whisk and a few minutes whisking shouldn’t be too much work for most people. Once it’s the desired consistency, add six tablespoons of the lemon curd and mix well.

Use a spatula to smooth the cream mixture over the cooled meringue, trying to make an even layer and leaving a border of about 1 cm around the edge. Slather with the remaining lemon curd and then scatter with the raspberries. Now for the roll!

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

Before the big roll! Lemon Curd and Raspberry Roulade

With the shortest end of the meringue facing you, roll it away, folding over and using the greaseproof paper to try and keep the roll compact. Once it’s fully rolled, place on a serving plate with the fold underneath. Chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving as this will help it firm up before you slice into it. It looks beautiful when cut, with swirls of snowy white interspersed with sunny yellow curd and ruby red raspberries. Luscious!

If you love a roulade, take a look at another recipe here, or if lemon meringue pushes all the right buttons how about some blondies or cupcakes?

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding – the BEST Christmas pudding ever!

I’ve always loved Christmas pudding, even as a kid and this is the BEST I’ve ever had; think traditional Christmas pud crossed with a Terry’s Chocolate Orange (in a good way, naturally). Because the boozy back notes are being provided by liqueurs rather than brandy or rum, the chocolaty, fruitiness is amplified to delicious effect. If you’re not concerned about making this recipe gluten-free, you can simply use regular breadcrumbs and flour.

Making this is actually dead simple, but the cooking requires some knowledge of how to properly steam a pudding so this post is a bit longer than usual with extra pictures that will hopefully be helpful; whilst I already knew how to steam a pudding, I was banging on about making my pud over on Twitter and the friendly folk from Mason Cash sent me this video which you might find useful if you’ve never done it before.

A few things to bear in mind before embarking on making this pudding: creme de cacao isn’t the easiest liqueur to get hold of, but there are online retailers that sell it, or you could see if you can buy a couple of shots from your local cocktail bar (I got my bottle of the stuff whilst on holiday), or if you can find another chocolate liqueur (not cream based) then use that; you’ll need to be at home for eight hours while your pudding steams in order to make sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry, so plan ahead when you’re going to do this and steep your fruit the day/night before; you’ll need a 1.5 litre pudding bowl, either plastic or a heat proof glass bowl (Pyrex or similar); you’ll also need a large enough saucepan for the pudding bowl to fit in, with a little extra room so you can rest it on a trivet or jam jar (to keep the bowl off the bottom of the pan) and still get a lid on it; so yes, you also need a small metal trivet or a jam jar too; to cover your pudding bowl you’ll need greaseproof paper and foil, and some string to secure it to the bowl.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Orange Christmas Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 150g glace cherries, chopped
  • 100g dried apricots, chopped
  • 100g sultanas
  • 20g dried, mixed peel (if you happen to have it, don’t buy it especially for this recipe)
  • 1 tbsp orange liqueur (I used Cointreau, but Grand Marnier or similar is fine)
  • 4 tbsp creme de cacao
  • 2 oranges
  • 100g butter, softened
  • 100g soft dark brown sugar
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 75g gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 75g gluten-free plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 200g dark chocolate, chips or chopped into small chunks
  • 50g chopped almonds

The day or night before you’re going to steam your pudding, put the cherries, apricots, sultanas, peel (if using), finely grated zest and juice of both oranges and the liqueurs in a bowl. Cover and leave to soak overnight.

On the day of pudding making, put the butter and sugars in a large bowl and cream together. Then beat in the eggs, followed by the breadcrumbs, flour and remaining ingredients, mixing together until well combined. Add the boozy fruit to the bowl and give a final mix. Your raw pudding mixture is now ready for steaming.

Preparing to steam – you’ll need:

  • 1.5 litre (or larger) heat proof pudding bowl
  • a little butter or oil
  • greaseproof paper
  • tin foil
  • string
  • scissors
  • a small metal trivet or clean jam jar lid
  • large saucepan with lid

Lightly grease the inside of your pudding bowl and put a small disc of greaseproof paper in the bottom – this will help the pudding to come out of the bowl when it’s cooked.

Greaseproof paper in the pudding bowl

Greaseproof paper in the pudding bowl makes it easier to get the pudding out when cooked

Pour and scrape your pudding mixture into the bowl, smoothing it out as much as possible. Take a large sheet of greaseproof (big enough to comfortably cover the top of your pudding bowl with an over-hang all around) and a sheet of tin foil around the same size. Lay the foil over the greaseproof and make a pleat down the centre of both – this is to allow room for expansion as the pudding steams (see the video for a demonstration of how to do this). Place the paper/foil over the top of the bowl and secure tightly with the string. Trim any excess paper and foil.

Place your trivet or jam jar lid in the centre of the bottom of the saucepan – this is to keep the bowl off the bottom of the saucepan. Tear off a long strip of tin foil, long enough to go under your pudding bowl with over-hang – you’re going to use this a bit like a sling to lift the pudding out of the saucepan eventually. Fold the foil lengthways several times to make it stronger and lay it in the saucepan across the centre so it rests on top of the trivet or jam jar lid.

Saucepan prepared for pudding steaming

Saucepan prepared for pudding steaming; a jam jar lid or trivet to keep the bowl off the base of the pan and a strip of foil to lift the bowl out once the pudding is cooked

Carefully place the pudding bowl in the saucepan, on top of the lid and foil. Fold the edges of the foil sling over the top of the pudding bowl so that you’ll be able to get the lid on the saucepan. Boil a kettle full of water and pour the hot water into your saucepan so it comes to around two thirds up the pudding bowl, turn the heat on under the saucepan and put the lid on, bringing the water to a boil again.

Pudding in the saucepan

Pudding in the saucepan, boiling water in and lid on and it’s ready to steam for 8 hours!

Your pudding is now steaming! Steam for 8 hours, regularly topping up with more boiling water so that it never boils dry (aim to keep the water level between a quarter and two thirds up the bowl, not less or more – I topped up around every 45 minutes).  After the eight hours steaming are up, you can remove the pudding from the saucepan using the foil sling. Allow to cool completely before removing the greaseproof/foil lid.

To store your pudding, cover with clean, dry greaseproof or foil and secure tightly with string. Leave in a cool, dark place (it doesn’t need to be refrigerated) until you need it.

To reheat, you can: steam again, following the same instructions as before, for around three hours, or; remove it from the pudding bowl, put it in an oven proof tray, loosely covered with foil and heat in moderate oven (around 150C) for about an hour, or; remove from the pudding bowl, place on a microwavable plate, cover with cling film with a couple of holes pierced in and heat on medium, in bursts of 2-3 minutes until piping hot all the way through (don’t just whack it on high or leave it in for ages, it could burn easily as it has such a high sugar content).  However you choose to reheat it, always ensure it’s hot all the way through before serving and never reheat more than twice.

I know this sounds like hard work, but it isn’t really. The most complicated bit is the greaseproof/foil lid and that’s hardly rocket science. The rest is just being around to keep an eye on things. This pudding is so much nicer than even the most luxury of puddings we’ve had from supermarkets and I think making it yourself for such a special occasion is incredibly rewarding. But if you think it’s just a little too much work, check out some of my other Christmas recipes and give one of those a go.

The making of the Christmas Pudding!

The making of the Christmas Pudding!

Chocolate Clementine Cake

Chocolate Clementine Cake

Chocolate Clementine Cake; it’s practically health food!

I can’t take all the credit for this cake as it’s adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe for clementine cake. I made this version for my cousin’s birthday; she’s a nutritionist and the fact this cake is wheat-free, gluten-free, dairy-free and free from added fat means you could almost convince yourself it’s healthy! As it’s made with ground almonds it stays wonderfully moist, and with the addition of cocoa it’s almost truffle-like – serve with a little cream and you’ve got yourself an excellent dessert.

Chocolate Clementine Cake

Ingredients:

375g clementines (probably 4-6 clementines depending on size)
230g ground almonds
240g caster sugar
40g cocoa, sifted
6 eggs
1 tsp baking powder

Firstly, don’t worry if your clementines are a little more or less than 375g, just don’t go cutting a bit off to make the right weight, they should be whole for the first stage. Boil the clementines for 2 hours, topping up the water as necessary to make sure they don’t boil dry. After the two hours are up, remove from the pan and allow to cool before cutting in half to remove any pips and any stalk.

Heat the oven to 190C and grease and line an 8″/21cm springform tin. If you have a food processor, chuck in all the clementines (skin  and everything) and whizz them up into a fairly smooth pulp. If you don’t have a food processor then blend or very finely chop and the fruit, trying not to lose any of the liquid, then tip it all into a large bowl. Add the rest of ingredients to the food processor or bowl and mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for about an hour, covering the top with foil after about 40 minutes to avoid burning. The top will crack, don’t worry. The cake is done when it springs back when pressed and a skewer comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely whilst still in its tin on a wire rack.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

Naughty little treat – Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream

It’s National Cupcake Week (that’s a real thing, right?) so cupcake baking is happening all over. I used to make cupcakes a lot when I worked in a big office (no squabbling over who gets the biggest slice of whatever treat you’ve taken in), but not so much these days. There’s only one cupcake recipe on here so far, lovely Vanilla Cupcakes that have a secret jam filling; a simple classic. I’m happy to be adding another now, which also has a classic flavour combination of chocolate and peanut butter.

This recipe was born out of wanting to thank a friend for a favour. She sticks (mostly!) to a gluten-free diet, but if you didn’t need to worry about that you could just substitute the gluten-free flour for normal self-raising flour. I have to say, the cakes in this recipe are good, but they’re really a way to justify eating the buttercream, which is (though I say it myself) awesome.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Icing

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g butter, softened
  • 50g soft dark brown sugar
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 25g cocoa powder, sifted
  • 100g gluten-free self raising flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • 2 tbsp milk

Heat your oven to 170C and line a muffin tray with cupcake cases. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until fluffy and the colour of a milky coffee. Add the eggs and beat again. Tip in the sifted cocoa and flour and mix until everything is well combined. Stir in the vanilla, syrup and milk and then spoon (or use an ice cream scoop for perfectly even portions) the batter into the prepared cases. Bake for 15-20 minutes; they’re done when a skewer inserted comes out clean and they have a little spring back when lightly pressed with a fingertip. Remove from the oven and carefully remove the cakes from the muffin tray to cool on a wire rack as soon as possible (I use a palatte knife to ease them from the tin); if you leave them to cool in the tin then they have a habit of peeling away from the paper cases.

For the buttercream:

  • 140g butter, softened
  • 280g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp smooth peanut butter

In a large bowl, mix the butter and icing sugar together. I find it helps to mix them with a wooden spoon to begin with as it means the icing sugar is less likely to leave your kitchen like it’s been in a blizzard. Once they’re combined, go at it with an electric whisk and then continue to beat for a good 3-5 minutes longer than you think you need to. Trust me; this will leave you with far smoother, fluffier, creamier buttercream than you thought you could achieve. Then add the vanilla and peanut butter and beat again.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, ice them with the buttercream using a palatte knife, or if you’re any good with a piping bag, give them a pretty swirl. If you feel like it, and you have some knocking around, grate a little chocolate over the top of the finished cupcakes. Feed them to your gluten-free loving friends and bask in the warm glow of their appreciation!

Amaretti Biscuits

If you follow my Facebook page you may have seen that I’ve been a bit obsessed with baking bread this week (currently on my fourth bake in a week from James Morton’s Brilliant Bread book). As I’ve been baking other people’s recipes, my lovely friend and fellow Brighton Baking Bunch member, Hannah, has done a guest blog post for me on her recent adventures in biscuit making. Enjoy!

Amaretti Biscuits

Amaretti Biscuits – fancy dunkers!

With a visit to the in-laws in the diary, I thought I would score some brownie points by baking amaretti biscuits. I don’t have a good track record with small bakes. However, with only four ingredients and a recipe by Mr Gino D’Acampo himself, what could possibly go wrong?

Well first off, instead of baking approximately 20 biscuits like the recipe stated, I ended up with 33. They were also quite chewy when I expected them to be hard. Thankfully, most people who tried them liked the texture. If you want a crunchier biscuit, take them out the oven to cool for a bit then put them back in on a low temperature until they’ve dried out.

Amaretti Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 340g / 12 oz ground almonds
  • 340g / 12 oz caster sugar
  • 4 egg whites
  • 30ml / 1 fl oz amaretto liquor
  • Butter for greasing

Heat the oven to 170C and grease a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Separate the egg and plop the whites into  a large bowl. Now, if you’re sensible, you’ll own an electric whisk. If you’re a glutton for punishment like myself, you have to beat the egg whites by hand, which takes forever. Beat them until peaks form.

Gently fold in the caster sugar and ground almonds before adding the amaretto. The recipe says mix this to form a smooth paste – I’d argue it forms a sticky mashed potato-like substance but it tasted good (yes, I eat raw biscuit mix).

If you want rustic splats, scoop little piles of the mixture onto the baking tray, allowing enough space for the biscuits to expand.  For a proper biscuit shape, roll the dough into small balls – approximately 2cm in diameter. Place the tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the amaretti biscuits are golden brown.

                                                       

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream – goes brilliantly with brownies

There may be some very random recipes coming up in the next month – I’m moving and trying to use up stuff in my kitchen cupboards so I don’t have to take it with me. I made this in order to use a tin of caramel and a tub of cream (I bought it to make something else but realised I needed a longer expiry date). It’s ridiculously easy, requires just three ingredients and doesn’t need any fancy equipment. Add the salt in small increments, tasting as you go, but bear in mind that the flavours will be somewhat muted once frozen so be bold. Also, whilst a tin of Carnation Caramel (as I used) is 397g, there’s no need to be quite so precise with your measurements if weighing out from a larger jar.

Easy Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Ingredients:

  • 500ml double cream
  • 397g ready made caramel/dulce de leche
  • 1-2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

In  a large bowl, whip the cream until it’s thick and forms soft peaks – it should cling to the whisk but drop off easily when tapped on the side of the bowl. Stir the caramel to make it smooth, then add to the cream and fold in with a large spoon or spatula, trying to get rid of any big lumps ( a few small deposits of pure caramel through your ice cream won’t hurt!).

Sprinkle a little of the salt over the caramel cream – start with about half a teaspoon – and mix well. Try a bit to see if it’s to your taste, adding more salt a little at a time until it’s how you want it. Pour into a freezer-proof box with a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours, or preferably overnight. No need to keep taking it out and churning, it will set soft enough to be able to scoop just a few minutes after it’s taken out of the freezer. Delicious on it’s own, in a cone, or alongside warm apple pie or brownies!