Gluten, Dairy and Egg Free Pancakes – Suitable for all, yet still delicious

gluten dairy and egg free pancakes

I’ve had to rush this recipe out in time for pancake day, so there is hardly any time for the usual babbling (which I’m sure most people will be thankful for). Although I usually just cover gluten free stuff on the site, I though gluten free pancakes were so simple that anyone could manage them, and a vegan, gluten free, egg free and dairy free pancake recipe that everyone could enjoy would be more useful on a day which should be about people coming together and enjoying fun food together.

These pancakes are very thin and crispy on the outside, almost like crepes. If you’re not used to cooking with ingredients that sound fairly weird, have faith; avocado and apple are common substitutes for egg, and they help bind the mixture along with the xantham gum. For anyone who wants more of the same, I took a lot of inspiration from Erin Mckenna’s book Babycakes Covers the Classics which offers vegan and gluten free sweet treats along with covering a few other allergies. Continue reading

Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie – One Brownie to Rule Them All

Gluten Free Chocolate BrownieThere’s no reason why a gluten free diet should preclude some of the finer things in life. And this rich, sticky, unctuous gluten free chocolate brownie is certainly one of those things. There can be fewer greater pleasures than biting through a brittle crust to reveal endless rivers of squidgy, chocolatey goo.

But make no mistake, we’re not settling for some half baked (‘scuse the pun) gluten free knock off of the wheatier brownie cousin. Serve this up to your gluteny friends with impunity – it is as fine as any gluten filled brownie they will ever taste. It almost seems like cheating to call this ‘gluten free’, after all flour is such a minor ingredient that you could probably swap it for sand or shredded paper without anyone noticing. Continue reading

Gluten Free Lemon Tart

Lemon Tart
This recipe is based on a combination of sources, but was mainly inspired by Heston Blumenthal’s recent recipe on his recent Channel 4 series.

Despite previous posts where I have been critical of adapting something to be gluten free when the results are never going to match the gluteny equivalent, there are some recipes where it’s worth giving it a go (rather than avoid them entirely).  Gluten Free Lemon tart is one such recipe – zingy lemons, smooth rich filling, biscuity pastry – yes please. It looks like a fiddly affair, but it’s reasonably simple and can be done in stages (e.g. make casing first).  If you’ve got access to a pre-made gluten free shortcrust pastry (e.g. Genius) I’d definitely give that a go. Continue reading

Lemon Polenta Cake with Amaretto Syrup

lemon polenta cake

I never consciously intended to put a lot of gluten free recipes on this blog, but given that my partner is on a gluten free diet, inevitably a lot of them come up.  I’ve mentioned before the awful commercially produced gluten free versions of wheat products, and I think there is something to be said for avoiding these duplicates and just incorporates the best food available that fits within the dietary requirements.  In fact, this could be extended to any diet – why would a vegetarian want to eat a plastic sausage when there are so many fantastic vegetables available all year round? I once ate a nut replica of cheese in a vegan restaurant – at first it was quite a novelty, but when they brought out an entire ‘cheese’ course with three nutty pasty varieties, I was tempted to hide it in a fellow diners handbag…

So this is a recipe that is gluten free, but has not been adapted – it has always been gluten free.  There are a variety of recipes around the web for lemon polenta cake, which is a traditional italian recipe, but all generally involve the same quantities of butter, caster sugar and ground almonds (around 200-250g), half as much polenta (100g), 3 eggs, baking powder and a lemon syrup poured over the cake at the end.  Variations are plentiful – Nigella keeps it simple and includes syrup, River Cafe double the size (with a touch of vanilla and salt) and puts the lemon in the cake instead of as a syrup, Nigel Slater halves the size (emphasis on a light and fluffy texture) and fills with cream, others increase the lemonyness to the bounds of decency and load it with alcohol.  I’ve tried to take a little something from all of them, and include a little twist of my own – Amaretto liquor, which brings out the sweet almond flavour (especially if you are using freshly ground almonds).

Ingredients

200g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
200g ground almonds (if you have the time and inclination, you would benefit from grinding your own using blanched almonds)
100g fine polenta (if you can only get coarse, you could grind it finer in a clean coffee grinder or food processor)
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free, of course)
zest of 2 lemons (also juice for syrup)
3 eggs
a few drops of lemon extract
pinch of salt

Syrup

juice of 2 lemons
4 tbsp Amaretto (I use Lazzaroni Amaretto, which is flavoured by soaking with Amaretti biscotti, also gluten free)
125g icing sugar

  1. Line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin with baking parchment and grease the sides with butter.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 C/gas mark 4.
  3. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and creamy.
  4. Combine the almonds, polenta, lemon zest and baking powder and add gradually alternating with an egg, and beating thoroughly.  If you want a lighter texture, you can separate out the yolks and whites, add the yolks only at this stage, then whip the whites separately until not quite stiff and fold in at the end.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin, then hold the side and tap the underside to level out the mixture.
  6. Bake for around 40 minutes – the cake will shrink away from the edge when it is done.  Cool in the tin on a wire rack.
  7. Make the syrup by warming the icing sugar, lemon juice and amaretto together until clear.
  8. Prick the cake all over with a skewer or cake tester, then pour over the syrup and leave to cool.
  9. Remove the cake from the tin then turn upside down onto a plate (so all the holes are at the bottom and the syrup will start to move back through the cake).
  10. Serve with clotted cream and grated lemon zest.

Tips & Confessions

– I didn’t separate out the yolks and whites – it was still light and fluffy (I did beat everything quite thoroughly though).
– I couldn’t get fine polenta, and I didn’t grind it.  There was no discernible grittiness, and tasted great.
– 4tbsp of Amaretto is a guess, I think I just chugged the bottle into the mix a few times, try more or less to taste.

Mango Pavlova

Mango Pavlova

A couple of posts ago I mentioned a recent trip to Riverford Field Kitchen in Devon, where amongst other delights there was a beautifully light but deeply satisfying Mango Pavlova.  Amidst the chaos of sunday lunch yesterday we decided to give it a go, so here’s our version:

Meringue
6 egg whites
300g caster sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

Topping
500ml double cream
2 mangoes
1 tsp caster sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 180 C (fan oven)
  2. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the sugar gradually, continue beating until shiny and stiff.
  3. Add the balsamic vinegar and gently fold through until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Put onto a large baking sheet or baking tray into a vaguely rectangular shape – don’t smooth over, leave the top fairly rough.
  5. Put in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 150 C.
    Cook for about 1 hour 10 minutes. The meringue will be ready when the edges are crisp but light pressure on top should suggest softness underneath.
  6. While the meringue is cooking, peel and chop 1 mango roughly.  Add 1tsp sugar Puree with a stick blender and set aside in the fridge.
  7. When the meringue is cooked, turn off the oven, open the door and allow to cool (this prevents the meringue from cracking excessively).
  8. Whip the double cream and spoon onto the cooled meringue base evenly.
  9. Chop the other mango into 1cm cubes (or smaller), scatter over the cream and pour the reserved mango coulis over the top. Serve immediately.

Tips

– For beating egg whites use a glass, ceramic or a metal bowl ideally (or best of all, copper) – plastic bowls can harbour tiny droplets of oil which can stop the whites from beating correctly.

– The size and form of the meringue is up to you – ours was a rectangle, you could make a circle if you like. It’s also up to you whether you smooth over the top or leave it rough – the method above gives an ‘undulating landscape’ of meringue which results in thicker and thinner areas of cream and topping, and makes for an interesting contrast.

– Children may appreciate some additional sweetening in the mango coulis, so add another teaspoon of caster sugar to the mix.

– If you don’t allow it to cool in the oven (we didn’t, it was in the midst of cooking sunday lunch), it’s not a disaster, you’ll just get more cracking.

– While we’re being honest, we could also have made our meringue a bit thicker.  The balance of flavours was perfect, but you can always afford more squishy meringue goodness…