Thursday, November 26th, 2009 at
The mistletoe might not be hanging on top of the door yet, but surely we have all started to be more indulgent with our food and especially the cakes. Oops!
Around this time you would start the preparation of the Christmas pudding! Even thought I love its all British cute look and the flamboyant if not melodramatic entrance that it performs every year at the Christmas table I can’t put up with the long preparation. The soaking of the fruits in alcohol or juices for days and days….and then the steaming of the cake..sorry, not for me! I have shopping to do!
However, I promised myself a nice rich and aromatic fruit and nut cake. So, I am delighted to be able to give you the recipe of this super easy, super fast, super delicious , no gluten, no dairy and no sugar fruit and nut cake. If you are not familiar with xylitol and agave syrup this is your chance to catch up on natural sweetner that don’t change you blood sugar, don’t destroy your teeth and they don’t create the classic havoc in your digestive system. Let’s get baking!
Agave Syrup, Fruit and Nut Slice
Ingredients for 12/14 serving:
- 150g pecan nuts
- 100g peeled and roasted hazelnuts
- 100g whole blanched almonds
- 200g sultanas
- 300g dried apricots chopped
- 150g halved glace’ cherries
- 100g xylitol
- 100g gluten free flour
- 60ml agave syrup
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp gluten free baking powder
- ¼ tsp xantham gum
- 2 tsp mixed spices
- 4 large free range or organic eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- grated zest of 1 small untreated lemon
- grated zest of 1 small orange
- pinch of salt
- icing sugar to dust
- Preheat the oven to 150°C, 300°F or gas mark2.
- Lightly butter and lined with baking paper a 9-by-5 inch loaf tin.
- In a bowl combine nuts and dried fruits thoroughly.
- Sift over the flour, spices, xantham gum and baking powder. Stir in the xylitol until fully combined.
- Whisks eggs with the vanilla, citrus zests, agave syrup and maple syrup. Add to the dry mixture and stir until well combined.
- Spoon the batter in the baking tin and smooth the surface with the spatula.
- Bake for 1½ hours or until a cake skewer insert into the center comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 5/10 minutes.
- Turn the cake onto a cooling rack and gently peel of the baking paper to cool completely.
- To serve top thickly with icing sugar and cut into thin slices.
- Another way to finish this cake is to brush 125ml of nice quality rum on the top of the cake while is cooling. Then proceed as per above.
- This cake will keep wrapped tightly in foil for up to 2 weeks.
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 at
A warm slice of apple tart can make you forget about the cold weather! But when the apple tart has a crunchy almond topping just browned in the oven over layers of gently saute’ sweet apples, well… who cares about the weather. Just enjoy it!
Apple Nougatine Tart
Ingredients for 8/10 servings:
For the sweet pastry:
- 75g (Â½ cup) fine polenta
- 75g (Â½ cup) rice flour
- 75g (2/3 cup)corn flour
- 1 heaped tsp xanthan gum
- pinch of salt
- 150g (5 oz) butter
- 100g (Â½ cup) xylitol or sugar
- grated zest of 1 untreated lemon
- 1 large organic or free range egg lightly mixed with 1 tbsp runny honey and Â½ tsp vanilla essence
For the filling:
- 1.4kg (3 pounds) thinly sliced organic apples with the skin still on, different variety if possible
- 100g (Â½ cup) xylitol or sugar
- 50g (2 oz)butter
- juice and the zest of 1 small lemon
For the topping:
- 2 large free range or organic eggwhite
- 100g (1 cup) sliced almond preferably with the skin still on
- 75g (1/3 cup) xylitol or sugar
- pinch salt
- Â¼ tsp almond essence
- icing sugar
Start this recipe by preparing the pastry dough.
- Sift the rice flour, fine polenta, cornflour, xanthan gum, xylitol and salt into a bowl and mix well. Add the cubed butter and the lemon zest and rub into the flour mixture until it resemble small peas.
- Make a well in the center and carefully add the egg and honey mixture using a fork. The dough should start to come together, so discard the fork and bring into a ball with your hands. Don’t be tempted to add extra liquid at this stage. Although rather damp pastry is easier to handle and roll out, the resulting crust can be tough and may well shrink out of shape in the oven.
- On a lightly rice or cornflour floured board, gently knead the dough with the heel of your hand for a few minutes to form a disk. Then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour or for up to overnight.
- To line a the tart tin, place the chilled disk of dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out 1/8 inch thick, rolling from the center toward the edge in all directions. Lift and rotate the dough a quarter turn every few strokes to discourage sticking, and work quickly to prevent the dough to become warm. Lightly dust the work surface and the dough with extra flour to prevent sticking.
- Carefully transfer the rolled out pastry in the tart tin 28 inch diameter lightly greased with butter and ease it into the bottom and sides by pressing gently into place. Trim the excess dough with a knife then place the tart in the freezer for 5/10 minutes.
- Remove the pastry from the freezer then line it with baking paper and fill with baking beans. To ensure better results fill the tart with baking beans up to the borders. Place in a preheated oven to 180Â°C, 350Â°F or gas mark4 for 20 minutes. To check how the pastry is cooking lift a corner of the paper.
- Remove the pastry shell from the oven, remove the beans and the paper and return to the oven for a few minutes more to dry the bottom.
- To prepare the apple filling start by using an heavy based saute’ pan, melt the butter on high heat, then add the xylitol and when it starts to caramelise add the apple to the pan. If you are using a smaller saute’ pan you might have to do this in batches.
- Saute’ the apple in a single layer until soft, turning them a few times with the spoon. The timing will depend on how thick you have cut the apple and from the kind of apple you are using.
- When they are softer pour them in a clean bowl then deglaze the pan by increasing the heat to high and by adding a few large tbsp of water. Scrape all the caramel and bits from the bottom, let the juice reduce and pour over the apples.
- Add the lemon juice and zest to the apples and pile them in the pre-baked pastry shell. Shake the tart to ensure an even filling and smooth the top with a spoon.
- To make the topping, combine the almond, xylitol, eggwhite, salt and almond essence in a small bowl. Spread the topping evenly over the apples, extending it to the edges of the tart.
- Bake the tart until the top is browned, about 20/25 minutes.
Remove from the oven, let it cool completely before serving and sprinkle with a generous amount of icing sugar.