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

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.

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