Archive for August, 2012

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 3

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Technical challenge – week 3. Gluten and dairy free treacle tart with woven lattice top.

Treacle tart – no problem. Woven lattice top with gluten free pastry – yeah, I can do that!

Making a lattice with normal sweet pastry can be a challenge. Luckily I had a lot of practise of this when I worked as a pastry chef. Lattice apple pie was a banquet favourite. Problem – you can lay the strips over an apple filling, not so over a treacle filling. I’ll admit it took me a few attempts, but enjoyable. I do miss being a pastry chef!

So I got there in the end. I did this by heavily flouring a flat baking tray with gluten free flour. I made my lattice top on the very edge of the tray then slid it over the treacle tart.

There is slightly less filling in the tart than there should be as a bit had been scooped out with previous lattice attempts!

You’ll notice I have used gluten and dairy free cake crumbs in my treacle filling. I just prefer the taste, in a wheat based treacle tart too.

The recipe

Sweet pastry
100g dairy free margarine ( I prefer vitalite)
50g caster sugar
1 medium egg
100g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
100g maize flour

Treacle filling
225g golden syrup
225g dairy and gluten free vanilla sponge, blitzed in a food processor into fine crumbs. Here’s my recipe
1teaspoon lemon juice

For the pastry
Place the dairy free margarine, sugar and egg into a food mixer or a large bowl. Mix until all ingredients are combined.

Mix in the gluten free flour and maize flour until it comes together as a dough. When making pastry with wheat flour the pastry needs time to relax before rolling out or the gluten in the flour causes the pastry to shrink when cooking. As this pastry does not contain gluten we do not need to do this but if the pastry feels soft bring together into a ball, flatten slightly. Wrap in cling film and place into the fridge for 20 minutes.

Rub a layer of margarine or butter all over the flan ring or tin. Lightly dust the work top with gluten free flour. Roll the pastry one way, turn the pastry 90° making sure there is gluten free flour underneath and roll again. Continue rolling out the pastry moving the pastry around between rolls to make sure it doesn’t stick to the table.

Roll up the pastry onto the rolling pin and unroll over the flan ring. This pastry is crumblier than wheat pastry so if you find it difficult to roll out, roll out onto a plastic food bag or cling film. Fold the pastry into the corners of the flan ring. Try not to stretch the pastry as it will tear. If you get holes in the pastry push the pastry together and rub the join.

Preheat oven to 190°c / 375°f / gas mark 5.

Depending on your oven you may want to part bake your pastry case before adding your filling. Line the pastry case with baking parchment or tin foil. Fill with baking beans and part bake for 10 minutes.

For more tips on making gluten free pastry.

Warm the golden syrup in a saucepan until runny. Stir in the cake crumbs and the lemon juice. Pour into the pastry case.

Lattice top.
Roll out the leftover pastry and cut into strips. You may want to cover the strips with cling film to prevent the pastry drying.

Heavily flour a flat baking tray with gluten free flour. Lay your lattice strips at the edge of the tray. Slide the lattice over the top of the treacle filling. Trim the pastry around the edge. Brush with beaten egg.

Bake for 30 – 40 minutes until golden.

Just out of the oven.

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 2

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Technical challenge – week 2. Gluten and dairy free 8 strand plaited loaf

Ok I kinda cheated on this one. If you’ve ever made gluten free bread you’ll know that you make a batter and not a dough. So how do I plait a batter? Pipe it of course. Am I still in the contest?

Here’s my recipe

200g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
100g cornflour
100g ground almonds
2tsp xanthan gum
1tsp salt
2tsp caster sugar
4tsp (2 x 7g sachets) dried yeast
30ml sunflower oil
1 egg
360ml lukewarm water – just warm, if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.


Preheat the oven to 200°c / gas mark 6.

Stick a sheet of baking parchment onto a baking tray.

Mix together the gluten free flour, cornflour, ground almonds, xanthan gum, salt, caster sugar and yeast in a large bowl.

Measure the sunflower oil, egg and water together.

Pour the liquid into the flour and beat until smooth. The mixture should just be able to fall from the spoon.

Spoon the batter into a large piping bag fitted with an inch wide round nozzle.

If you look at the 8 strand plaited loaf, it looks like one plait sitting on top of a wider plait. So I piped a wide plait onto the baking tray, then a smaller neat plait on top. Not bad I thought!

leave in a warm place to prove for 45 minutes.

Brush the top with a beaten egg. Leave for a few minutes then repeat to give a good colour to the bread.

Bake for 25 – 35 minutes until brown on all sides. Take the loaf out of the tin and tap the bottom. If it is cooked it will sound hollow.

Cool on a wire rack. This is best eaten on the day of baking.

Just piped gluten and dairy free 8 strand plaited loaf.

Dough proved, brushed with beaten egg and ready for the oven.

The finished loaf.

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 1

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

I mentioned on my Facebook page how good it would be to enter The Great British Bake Off and to make everything gluten and dairy free. Somebody tweeted asking if I would be able to complete the technical challenge. So I thought I would give it a go, I like a challenge!

I was away in the middle of Dartmoor last week with no television or internet so had to wait until now to start.

Technical Challenge – week 1. Gluten and Dairy Free Rum Baba

I’ve never understood the appeal of a rum baba. You make a gorgeously rich dough bun then completely ruin it in my opinion by soaking it in rum syrup which you then serve with too much cream thus ending your meal with indigestion.

A far better idea would be to take your bun and top it with fondant and maybe add dried fruit to the dough to make a luxurious Swiss bun / iced finger – my favourite. How a Swiss bun should be, not just a bread roll with fondant on the top – bakeries you know who you are!

Some people may be horrified of the thought of fondant on top of such a bun, but if you are a Swiss bun fan as I am then this is the ultimate.

I found this challenge quite easy to adapt. I also made a rum baba containing wheat and dairy using Paul Hollywood’s recipe to compare.

Rum Baba has quite a close texture which my gluten and dairy free version matched and the flavour was similar. Once the babas were soaked in the rum syrup I don’t think you could tell the difference.

You can buy dairy free whippable cream but I couldn’t find any locally so I filled my rum baba with whipped coconut cream which I added a drop of vanilla extract and icing sugar to flavour.

The recipe

Serves 4

100g Doves Farm gluten free plain flour
50g cornflour
50g ground almonds
1tsp xanthan gum
½tsp salt
50g caster sugar
4tsp (2 x 7g sachets) dried yeast
½ egg, beaten
80g dairy free margarine, melted
100ml warm water

For the syrup
250g caster sugar
3 – 4 tbsp

1 carton coconut cream, chilled

Grease the rum baba moulds with vegetable oil and sprinkle with caster sugar.

Mix together the gluten free flour, cornflour, ground almonds, xanthan gum, salt, sugar and yeast.

Melt the dairy free margarine and pour into the flour with the beaten egg and water, beat until smooth.

Fill a large piping bag fitted with an inch wide round nozzle with the dough. Pipe the mixture into the rum baba moulds. Leave in a warm place to prove for 30 – 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 200°c / 400°f / gas mark 6.

Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until golden brown. Gently take the buns out of the mould. Tap the bottom of a bun, if it sounds hollow it is cooked.

Leave on a wire rack to cool. The buns can be frozen at this stage if needed for a later date.

Before serving, make the syrup. Place the sugar in a saucepan with the rum and 250ml water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Brush the syrup all over the buns allowing it to completely soak in.

If filling with coconut cream, place the chilled coconut cream in a large bowl with a drop of vanilla extract and enough icing sugar to sweeten. Whisk until light and fluffy.

Coming out of the oven…. my version is on the right.

Paul Hollywood’s recipe is on the left and my version on the right.

A very promising and tasty start (if I do say so myself) – wish me luck with challenge 2.