Friday, 26 September 2014

Gluten and Dairy Free Choux pastry.

Watching bake off this week I realised that I had completely forgotten to post my creation from pastry week, oops. To be honest I was dreading pastry week as attempting to make gluten and dairy free pastry is a tricky business. I decided that choux was my way forward and attempted some of my own eclairs. I have had previous successes making regular choux so I was hopefully optimistic that I could make this work.

And it turns out you can make gluten and dairy free choux. It is not quite as smooth and glossy as regular choux and whereas I would normally use a wooden spoon I did have to use a hand held electric whisk to get the choux dough as smooth as possible.
See, not totally smooth and glossy
Once baked however my mini eclairs looked and tasted like the regular deal. I tarted up my eclair by making them banoffee eclairs. I filled them with sliced banana, vanilla whipped non dairy cream and topped with non-dairy toffee sauce. They were declared delicious by all. Below is the recipe to make gluten and dairy free choux, feel free to jazz up you eclair with any topping or filling that you desire.


Choux pastry (gluten and dairy free) 

60g gluten free flour (I used dove farm)
2 tsp caster sugar (optional)
150ml cold water
50g dairy free spread (I used pure, sunflower)
2 large eggs

Weigh the flour then fold a sheet of baking paper to make a crease and then open it up again. Sift the flour on to the paper and add the caster sugar if you are making sweet choux.

Next put the cold water in a saucepan together with the butter, then place the saucepan over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture comes up to the boil, turn off the heat immediately, as too much boiling will evaporate some of the water.

Next tip the flour in, all in one go, with one hand, while you beat the mixture vigorously with the other (using the electric whisk).

Beat until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the saucepan clean, this will probably take less than a minute

Next beat 2 large eggs then beat them into the mixture, a little at a time, mixing each addition in thoroughly before adding the next. Beat until you have a smooth(ish) glossy(ish) paste. At this stage, lightly grease a baking sheet and place a ovenproof dish with a little water in the base of the oven to create a steamy atmosphere.

To make the ├ęclairs place the mixture in to a piping bag fitted with a wide round tip and pipe mixture onto the baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between them. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes. After that, increase the heat to gas mark 7 220C/200CFAN and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the buns are crisp, light and a rich golden colour.

Split the ├ęclairs and return to the oven for a couple of minutes to dry out the insides.


Transfer to a wire rack to cool and fill just before eating to enjoy them at their best. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Blueberry crumble cake

Last week it truly felt like autumn was here, it was colder, dark when I got up, dingy and grey. The only way to combat this was a comforting cake made with cinnamon and fruit, I did not quite veer into the autumn fruit territory (apples, blackberries, pears) but used some Scottish blueberries. a last hopeful cling on to summer. It worked we got a mild reprise to summer this weekend with plenty of sunshine and blue skies!

The cake is from this months good food magazine, I adapted it a little to make it gluten and dairy free and also enough to fit into a brownie tin.

The crumble topping is fantastically crisp and contrasts perfectly with the soft cake and fruit. This cake is best eaten as soon as possible as it contains fresh fruit. Also the sooner it is eaten the crisper the topping will be.

Oh and sorry for the dark photos... that is partly down to me wanting to eat it and partly down to the rubbish autumn weather I mention previously!


Blueberry crumble cake (adapted from bbc good food magazine)

150g dairy free spread (I use pure, sunflower)
225g golden caster sugar
300g GF plain flour (I use Dove farm blend)
1 tsp xantham gum
1 1/2 tsp GF baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 medium eggs, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla paste/extract
180g natural soya yoghurt
1 1/2 tbsp non dairy milk (I used almond milk)

1 tbsp and 1 tsp of ccinnamon
2 tbsp each of golden caster sugar and brown sugar (light or dark). mixed
200g blueberries
6 tbsps GF plain flour
3 tbsps dairy free spread, cut small

Preheat the oven to 180C/160C FAN. GAS MARK 4 and grease and line a brownie tin (or traybake tin) with baking paper.

Beat the DF spread and sugar with an electric whisk until fluffy. Add the flour, xantham gum, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda to the bowl followed by the eggs and vanilla, beat until smooth. Add the yoghurt and DF milk and briefly beat until combined.

Spoon just under half of the mix into the prepared tin. Mix 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of the sugar mix and scatter half of this over the cake followed by half of the berries. Layer over the remaining cake mix, take care when smoothing it out the berries will want to come with you. Sprinkle over the remaining sugar/cinnamon mix followed by the remaining berries.

To make the crumb topping place the remaining sugar mix, flour and DF spread into a bowl and rub together until the mixture resembles chunky breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the cake, squeeze some of the crumble together to make bigger chunks as you do. 

Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, until it is risen all the way till the centre. looks golden and the topping is crisp.

 Cool the cake in the tin for 15 minutes then transfer to a wire rack, using the baking paper to help you lift the cake, to cool completely.


Friday, 12 September 2014

Kugelhopf

So continuing along with the bake off you may have noticed I do not have a post for tarts and pies week. Well I did attempt to make a pie, I was terrified, a gluten and dairy free pastry was not an experiment I was looking forward to. The pastry I made was lovely and delicious, but it was meant to be puff pastry, something I never had problems with in the past,  and it turned out like shortcrust. I will reiterate it was lovely but I am not posting the recipe I used as it did not turn out as it should. I get to do pastry again soon though as next week is pastry week on the bake off! I show a picture of my pie to prove that I tried.


This week was the week of European cakes. The contestants had to make a European cake that was raised with yeast, a Swedish princess cake or a Hungarian dobes torte. I have never made a princess cake but I have eaten cakes consisting of sponge, jam, cream and creme pat and so I decided to go with the more interesting cake raised with yeast as I have never made/eaten one before.

I decided, like some of the contestants, to make a Kugelhopf. This is traditionally a cake raised with yeast, filled with fruit and cooked in a bundt tin. Like many of the contestants I changed my flavours, I went for cardamom, orange and almond. I also had the added challenge of making it gluten and dairy free.

I have also just remembered that this months letter for alpha bakes is K and so I will enter my Kugelhopf!


This is an experiment that worked and I am so so pleased with it, it smelt good baking, looked fantastic and also tasted great. It is very interesting, it is definitely a cross between bread and cake and those with palettes used to very sweet cakes will probably take a while to adjust. It is lovely as a plainer cake and dare I say it could even be eaten as breakfast (which I did). It does not keep so long so I have sliced it and individually wrapped slices and frozen them, I will refresh in the oven when I fancy a snack or breakfast.

Orange, cardamom and almond Kugelhopf 

380g GF flour (I used dove farm plain flour blend)
60g ground almonds
2 tsps xantham gum
Seeds of 15 cardamom pods, crushed in a pestle and mortar
120ml warm water
4 1/2 tsp active dried yeast (not instant yeast)
1/2 tsp sugar
120g DF spread (I used pure sunflower)
75g golden caster sugar
2 tsp salt
3 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
Zest and juice of an orange
2 tbsp caster sugar
a little melted butter to grease
slivered almonds to decorate (optional


Place the warm water, yeast, and ¼ teaspoon sugar together in a small bowl. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Set aside for 10-15 minutes until the yeast is foamy

Place 220g of the gluten-free flour in a freestanding large bowl or the large bowl of a large stand mixer. Add the xanthan gum and cardamom and mix to combine

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until sugar is dissolved, do not let it boil.

In a medium bowl whisk  the eggs together with the almond extract and orange zest. Carefully add the milk mixture in a slow, steady stream to the eggs and whisk well. Be sure to add the milk slowly so it doesn't curdle the eggs. 

Turn the mixer on low, or using a hand held electric whisk add the milk and egg mixture in a slow steady stream to the flour mix. Raise the speed to medium and mix until smooth. Lower the speed and add the remaining flour and ground almonds. The dough should be fairly sticky and smooth, but not too stiff. Turn off mixer and let dough stand for a few minutes.

Grease a bundt pan with melted butter. if desired stick slivered almonds onto the sides of the greased pan.

 Carefully transfer the dough to the pan and smooth it evenly. Brush the top with the melted butter to prevent it drying out. 

Cover with cellophane or place in a bag and let rise for 45-60 minutes in a warm place. The dough won't have doubled, but it will have risen quite a bit.

While the dough is rising preheat the oven to GAS MARK 6 . Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden and baked through.

Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

To make a glaze put the remaining sugar and orange juice in a pan and heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, turn up the heat and reduce until the mixture is syrupy. Brush this over the cooled cake then enjoy.