Archive for September, 2012

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 7

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Technical challenge – week 7. Dairy and gluten free jam doughnut

Can you buy a gluten free doughnut? I don’t think I’ve seen one.

These are best when freshly made. They are so quick to make and no kneading involved.

Remember if you are serving gluten and dairy free doughnuts to somebody who is intolerant or allergic – make sure your oil hasn’t been used to fry foods containing those allergens.

makes 8


200g gluten free plain flour
100g cornflour
100g ground almonds
2tsp xanthan gum
1tsp salt
100g caster sugar
8tsp (4 x 7g sachets) dried yeast
1 egg
60g dairy free margarine, melted
300ml almond milk
caster sugar
sieved jam


Cover a baking tray with cling film. Brush the cling film with sunflower oil.

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

Pour in the melted dairy free margarine.

Beat the egg into the almond milk and pour into the dry ingredients. Beat until smooth.

Scoop the mixture onto the baking tray to make 8 equal sized buns.

Grease your hands with sunflower oil to stop the buns sticking and mould each bun into your required shape.

Brush another piece of cling film with sunflower oil and place on top of the buns.

Leave in a warm place to prove for 30 – 45 minutes.

Heat a deep fat fryer to 180°c / 350°f.

Lift each bun carefully and place into the hot oil. Cook 2 at a time for 4/5 minutes on each side until golden brown.

Lift out of the oil and drain on kitchen paper.

Coat the doughnuts in the sugar while still hot.

Leave to cool. Spoon the jam into a piping bag with a small nozzle.

Make a hole in the side of each doughnut all the way to the centre. Pipe the jam into the hole.

They are best eaten on the day of making.

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 6

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Technical challenge – week 6. Gluten and dairy free Queen of pudding

I haven’t made this pudding since I was at college. When I made it then, we piped a criss cross of meringue so you could see the jam in the spaces. Maybe this is a bit      80’s now? Plus you don’t get enough meringue which to me is the best bit.

You will notice in the recipe that I have used cake crumbs again instead of breadcrumbs. This is my personal taste. You can use breadcrumbs if you prefer.

The Recipe

Serves 4 – 6

100g gluten and dairy free cake crumbs (sponge cake recipe) or 90g gluten and dairy free bread crumbs

570ml / 1 pint almond milk
25g dairy free margarine (only if using breadcrumbs)
3 egg yolks
1 egg
50g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest

6 tablespoons raspberry jam

3 egg whites
150g caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas mark 3 and grease a 1.4 litre/2½ pint shallow ovenproof dish (one that will fit into a roasting tin) with dairy free margarine.

Crumble the cake crumbs into the ovenproof dish.

Warm the almond milk in a small saucepan. Add the dairy free margarine (if using gluten and dairy free breadcrumbs).

Lightly whisk the egg yolks and 1 whole egg in a bowl with the sugar and lemon zest. Whisk the warm milk into the eggs and strain over the cake crumbs. Leave to stand for about 15 minutes, so the cake crumbs absorb the liquid.

Carefully place the dish into a roasting tin and fill the tin halfway with hot water. Bake the custard in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes until the custard has set. Remove from the oven, carefully take the dish out of the roasting tin and set aside to cool for 20 minutes.

Turn the oven up to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4

Place the egg whites into a mixing bowl and whisk until stiff (it is whisked enough when you can turn the bowl upside down and the egg white doesn’t move).

Whisk in 1/3 of the caster sugar until the meringue comes back to peak.

Add another 1/3 of the sugar and do the same.

Add the last 1/3 of sugar and whisk until stiff and shiny. Fill a large piping bag with the meringue.

Spread a layer of raspberry jam over the set custard, then pipe the meringue on top.

Return the dish to the oven for 10 minutes, without the roasting tin until the top of the meringue is golden.

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 5

Saturday, September 15th, 2012

Technical challenge – week 5. Gluten and dairy free hand – raised chicken and bacon pie.

I was slightly nervous about this challenge. I have attempted gluten free hot water pastry before and wasn’t happy with the results. It’s taken me a couple of days as I needed to make a special trip to my butchers – the lovely Martin at Boathouse Organics in Lewes. He makes lovely gluten free free range sausages and you can buy fresh organic suet from him too.

I also couldn’t find a pie dolly. Cook shops must be kicking themselves this week for not stocking them, as am I for not buying one years ago when I ummed and arred in the shop.

So here goes…. I am really happy with my pie. What do you think?

I’ve followed Paul Hollywood’s recipe for the filling. I remembered to take more photos this week too!

I’ve used Vitalite dairy free spread in place of lard. Mainly because I forgot to buy it and I thought the margarine – sorry, ‘dairy free spread’ would give the pastry more flavour. You can use lard if you want to.

The Recipe

Makes 2 pies


125g gluten free plain flour
125g maize flour
¼teaspoon xanthan gum
1teaspoon salt
125g dairy free margarine
125ml water

200g/7oz raw chicken meat
200g/7oz smoked back bacon rashers
2 sprigs fresh thyme
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150g/5oz dried apricots, chopped
2 leaves gelatine
¼ pint hot water
¼ organic Kallo chicken stock cube


1.Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

2.Grease two medium sized pie dollies, approx 13x7cm/5x3in, with some oil. I used two glasses roughly this size, oiled.

3.In a large mixing bowl, combine the gluten free flour and maize flour with the xanthan gum.

4.Mix together the boiling water, salt and dairy free spread in small saucepan. Heat and stir together until the dairy free spread melts.

5.Pour the fat and water mixture on top of the flour mixture, stirring with a spoon until everything comes together.

6.Tip the dough onto a surface dusted with gluten free flour and bring together into a ball.

7.Divide the pastry in two, then remove a quarter from each half for the lids of the pies.

8.Work quickly while pastry is still quite hot. With the remaining three-quarters of the pastry, place on a flat surface and place the dolly/glass on top of the pastry in the middle. Sculpt the still warm pastry around the dolly, try and make sure the pastry is the same thickness. (You can roll out slightly first and wrap around the dollies, but be careful not to have an uneven thickness around the dollies if you do it this way). Make sure the bottom is not very thick.

9.Ensure there are no holes in the pastry.

10.Chill the pastry wrapped around the dollies in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

11.Roll out the reserved quarter of pastry into a circle to match the size of the dolly. Make a hole in the centre of each one and chill in the fridge.

12.Slice the chicken meat, and the bacon. Keep them separate. Season well with salt, pepper and fresh thyme.

13.Take the dollies out of the fridge and carefully coax the chilled pastry off in one piece. I slid a long thin palette knife down the sides of the pastry and I found using the glass made this easy because I could see where the pastry was sticking before pulling the glass away. If it softens from handling you may need to chill again for 10 minutes or so. Trim the top of the pie shells to make sure they are even, and not too tall, otherwise the sides will sag during baking.

14.Brush the inside of each pastry case with beaten egg in hope of sealing any tiny holes. Now pack the filling into the pie, start with bacon, then chicken, then a layer of roughly chopped apricots. Repeat until the filling is all used up.

15.Place on the lid. As this pastry will crack very easily, I trimmed the pastry with scissors in line with the sides of the pie then gently crimped around the sides, sealing thoroughly.

16.Brush the lids and the sides of the pies with egg wash. Place on a baking tray and cook for 50-60 minutes, or until the pastry is nice and crisp all the way around. The pastry will not colour as much as pastry made with wheat.

17.While the pies are baking, dissolve the chicken stock cube in 150ml/5fl oz of hot water.

18.Soak two leaves of gelatine in cold water for five minutes. When soft, squeeze out the excess water and whisk into the warm stock.

19.When the pies are cooked, place them on a cooling rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

20.Carefully pour the stock into the slit on the pie lid, to fill in any spaces inside the pie with (what will be) chicken stock jelly. This must be done when the pie is hot, if done when cold the jelly will just sit on the top and not soak into every nook and cranny.

21.Leave to set overnight before eating.

The Great British Bake Off – gluten and dairy free technical challenge – week 4

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Technical challenge – week 4. Dairy free creme caramel.

I had forgotten how much I like creme caramel. My two boys were very happy with the end product too. They’re enjoying this challenge as much as I am. My oldest is now expecting pudding after every meal.

Creme caramel is naturally gluten free so how to make it dairy free and taste good?

 I have used my favourite almond milk for the custard and I tried using 2 egg yolks in place of one egg to add richness to the custard. I thought this worked really well.


Serves 6 

120g white caster sugar
500ml almond milk
3 eggs and 2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 170°c / 325°f / gas mark 3

Place 6 dariole moulds in a deep ovenproof dish.

Place the first sugar in a small saucepan with enough water to moisten the sugar.

Have a cup of water handy and a pastry brush

Measure 2 tablespoons water into a cup.

Put the saucepan on the heat and stir with a metal spoon until boiling. Once boiling, stop stirring. Dip the pastry brush in the water and brush around the inside of the pan to ensure any grains of sugar are washed into the caramel. If not the caramel can crystalise.

Boil until the sugar changes to a deep caramel colour. Don’t stir, if the caramel is colouring quicker in one spot, swirl the pan gently to mix.

Quickly add 2 tablespoons water, be careful the caramel will spit. Swirl the pan to mix in the water then pour equal amounts into the moulds.

Whisk the eggs, second sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl.

Heat the almond milk until hot but not boiling. Whisk into the eggs and sugar. Strain into a jug and fill the dariole moulds to the top.

Place the ovenproof dish onto a shelf in the oven and pour boiling water into the dish around the dariole mould ¾ way up.

Cook for 30 minutes. To test if cooked, insert the tip of a knife into the centre. The custard should be set.

Take each mould out of the water and leave to cool. Once cold, cover and store in the fridge over night.

To empty out the creme caramel – I find it best to dip each mould into a bowl of boiling water for a few seconds, place a plate on top and turn over onto the plate. The dairy free version is a bit more delicate than with dairy milk so empty out gently.