28 July 2012

Caramel and Chestnut pie

Still in France, and finding it hard to stay gluten and dairy free. But the way I figure it, it's only the kids who are supposed to be on that diet, so I'm allowed to fall off the wagon for a month. I love the pastry available in the supermarket here - there are many kinds, brisée is a shortcrust pastry, and there are also some labeled as pizza pastry. I bought some gorgeous pre-made french puff pastry known here as feuillete. This utilises several ingredients that are easily found in french supermarkets, and now in many gourmet stores around the world. Even my local sells French feuillete by the roll and tinned chestnuts (marron).

  • 100g butter with salt crystals
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups prepared chestnuts (can be bought like this in tins or vacuum packs)
  • 1 sheet round feuillete pastry
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • more caster sugar for sprinkling

17 July 2012

Cherry Frangipane

A trip to a provincial market is always inspiring, but the recent one I took to Tarascon, in the Bouche du Rhone departement was an eyeful of the grandest degree. I came home with a bundle of goodies, not the least, but the cheapest, being a half kilo of deep purple ripe cherries for the grand total of 1.41Euros. It was hard to look at them and not think of Frangipane. The recipe below sounds a little fiddly, but it's not really - its just a matter of getting the ingredients laid out.

  • 300ml and 100ml almond flour (meal)
  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 120g and 80g butter softened and chopped (or use dairy free margarine)
  • 100ml plus 2 tbsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g cherries, halved and destoned
  • 2 tbsp cassis jelly and a dash of champagne (optional)

04 July 2012

Gluten free, Dairy Free Oreos

Did you know that standard Oreos are dairy free? That means the basic recipe is very easy to adjust to also make it gluten free. My kids discovered Oreos during a minor lapse of dietry judgement on holidays, and to stop the tears at the emd of the trip, I promised I would research it. 

I've adapted a recipe from bakingbites.com, and apart from a tiny tweak in the liquid ratio, it works well. I also added a pinch of salt. Because everything tastes better with salt... 

(Measurements are American - a cup = 200ml and a tablespoon = 15ml)

  • 2 cups gluten free flour (I used Schar Dolci)
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup real cocoa
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (make sure it's gluten free!)
  • 1/2 cup vegetarian shortening or margarine
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch salt 

01 July 2012

Poached Pears

I usually avoid fruit desserts. They are naughty things pretending to be healthy. I'd much rather eat something healthy pretending to be naughty. Hence the drunken pears. They feel so naughty as you glug in the red wine, but we all know what happens to alcohol when you cook it down. Sure, there's a little added sugar, but if you leave the double cream off, then this cheeky little number isn't really that bad at all, especially compared to a fruit flan or pina colada. And as easy as whipping up a cocktail...

  • 4 pears, peeled
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise
  • 250ml rich red wine (eg. Aussie Shiraz)
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup (or brown sugar)

  1. plonk all in a pot with a lid, and bake in a 170℃ (340℉) for an hour, turning once.

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