Archive for July, 2013

Dairy Free and Egg Free Gooseberry Curd

Monday, July 29th, 2013

I’ve picked 18lb gooseberries this year from the bushes we inherited with our new house. They are amazingly overgrown so if anyone can tell me how to prune them I’d be grateful but for now I will enjoy all they have to share.

gooseberry curd

I first discovered gooseberry curd last year and I now think it is the best thing you can make with them.

Traditional recipes state you can only keep it for a month unopened then one week in a fridge once opened. So I tried freezing some in small plastic tubs. My test pot defrosted fine. I recommend putting it into the fridge to defrost and eat within a week.

I’ve experimented with two recipes. I wanted to try and make a curd without using eggs too. This worked well, it has a nice flavour, it doesn’t melt on your hot toast the way traditional curd would do but it’s still worthy of a place at the breakfast table and would be a great filling for a gooseberry tart.

To sterilise your jam jars

Preheat your oven to 140°c/gas mark 1. Wash the jars in hot soapy water and rinse in clean water. Place on a tray in the oven for 30 minutes.

1st recipe – Dairy and Egg Free Gooseberry Curd

Enough to fill 3 small jam jars

I’ve used cornflour to thicken this recipe in place of eggs

450g gooseberries
150ml water
150g caster sugar
50g cornflour
50g dairy free margarine. I used Vitalite

You don’t need to top and tail the gooseberries as they will be passed through a sieve.
This recipe will only keep for 5 days stored in the fridge but it can frozen in plastic tubs.

Place the gooseberries and the water into a saucepan and boil until the gooseberries burst – about 10 mins.
Push through a sieve to get as much of the fruit through as you can.
Measure 500ml gooseberry puree into a saucepan, add the sugar and stir until boiling.
Add a little cold water to the cornflour to blend, whisk this into the boiling liquid until thick. Turn off heat.
Stir in the dairy free margarine and strain into sterilised jam jars or plastic tubs for freezing.

This makes a lovely tart filling as it sets well and the sharpness goes well with sweet pastry.

 2nd recipe – Dairy Free Gooseberry Curd  made the traditional way using eggs as the thickener. Recipe from Marguerite Patten’s Jam, Preserves and Chutneys handbook

Enough to fill 3 small jam jars

450g gooseberries
150ml water
375g caster sugar
85g dairy free margarine
5 egg yolks or 3 whole eggs (I prefer to use whole eggs)

You don’t need to top and tail the gooseberries as they will be passed through a sieve.
Place the gooseberries and the water into a saucepan and boil until the gooseberries burst – about 10 mins.
Push through a sieve to get as much of the fruit through as you can.
Measure 500ml gooseberry puree into a heatproof bowl, add the sugar and dairy free margarine.
Place the bowl on top of a saucepan filled with an inch of water on the stove.
Stir the mixture until melted.
Break the eggs into a bowl and lightly mix together.
Whisk a little of the warmed mixture into the eggs then whisk the eggs back into the gooseberry puree.
Keep stirring the mixture over the heat until thick and the mixture coats the back of your spoon. If you have a thermometer it should read 82°c.
Strain into sterilised jam jars or clean plastic tubs to be frozen.
The curd doesn’t set really thick but does spread nicely. I’m going to try adding an extra egg next time.
You can use egg yolks instead of whole eggs if you prefer a richer curd, use 6 yolks in place of 3 whole eggs. I find this too eggy so prefer whole egg.

SAM_2325My son decorated this jar for his teacher.

Apple Shaped Teachers Gift – Gluten and Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

I can’t believe my sons first year at school will be over in one week. Reception year in his school is three classes but they all mingle and they have lots of teaching assistants so I thought I would make a little present for all of the teaching staff.


I also made his two main teachers a jar of dairy free gooseberry curd – I’ll post this recipe next week.

I cooked the chocolate cake in a 6 x 2 inch wide half sphere silicone mould.

This recipe makes 12 whole spheres or a 6 inch round cake

150g dairy free margarine (I use Vitalite)
200g caster sugar
50g dairy and gluten free plain chocolate (around 60% cocoa solids – I find a higher cocoa solid content gives a drier cake)
4 eggs
75g self raising gluten free flour
30g dairy and gluten free cocoa powder

Dairy free chocolate ganache

75ml almond milk
110g dairy and gluten free plain chocolate

10g dairy free margarine
40g icing sugar

Strawberry jam

I also used

1kg gluten free sugarpaste
gluten free apple green paste food colouring (I used Sugarflair gooseberry with a little mint green)
red dust food colouring
a small amount brown sugarpaste
a small amount of dark green sugarpaste

Apple or rose leaf cutter and mould

For the dairy free ganache

Make the dairy free ganache a few hours before and allow to set at room temperature – heat the almond milk until boiling and mix in the chocolate until melted.
Mix the dairy free margarine and icing sugar together. When the ganache has set, mix this into the ganache and leave to set again. This makes a lighter ganache.

For the chocolate cake

Preheat oven to 190°c/170°c fan oven/ gas mark 5
Melt the chocolate on a low heat in the microwave.
Cream the margarine and sugar together until light in colour
Beat in the melted chocolate, scrape down the sides to ensure all the chocolate is incorporated.
Crack the eggs into a cup, whisk together then mix into the creamed mixture a little at a time.
Sieve the gluten free flour and cocoa powder together then fold into the mixture until combined.
Spoon a little of the mixture into each mould just over ¾ full.
Bake for about 15 minutes until a knife inserted comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the mould for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling wire.
If you need to refill the same mould, wash before using again.

Once all of your half spheres are baked and cooled, place back into the mould and slice the top off level with the mould.

Spread strawberry jam and ganache over half of the half sphere then put another sponge on top. Fill in the gap around the centre with more ganache then spread all over the cakes. Leave to set for a few minutes.


Knead then roll out your green sugarpaste, cut a circle big enough to cover your ball. Place over a cake and mould around.
Cut the excess paste away from the bottom. You can then pick up the cake carefully and mould the sugarpaste underneath to make the ball shape. Place back on the table and smooth the icing into shape.
Indent a cone tool in the top.
Brush with red dust food colouring and rub in with your hands.
Roll a thin sausage of brown sugarpaste and cut into the shape of a stem. Attach inside the cone at the top with edible glue or rose water.
Roll out the dark green sugarpaste and cut out 12 leaves. Mark a leaf pattern with the mould or a knife. You can dust them with dark green and a little red dust colouring. Attach one to each stem with rose water. Leave to dry.
I wrapped each of mine in cellophane with a little thank you tag written by my son.