Sunday, 26 June 2011

Vegan Custard Tarts

I am being brave and expanding by repertoire and making pastry for the first time, ever! And I have decided its going a lot of practice to get a really good pastry, which  means a lot more tarts - shame.

Preheat oven to 200c / GM6.

Gluten Dairy Sugar Free Short Bread Pastry

I used Orgran's All purpose pastry mix:

2 cups of unsweetened soya milk
3/4 cups of xylitol
2 tbsp arrowroot
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of cinnamon

Some nutmeg
Some honey

The Method:

Follow the instruction of the packet to make the pastry - about half this mixture will make 4 tarts, I used 12cm diameter silicon moulds.

Tip: if you are trying to make pastry, invest in a rolling pin, it really helps! Might sound obvious, but I don't have one yet and using a glass just isn't the same :)

Note: I needed more water than the instructions suggest but this doesn't mean that the instructions are wrong, just that my first time of instruction reading was quiet right.

So once the pastry is rolled out place and shape into the moulds and put on a baking tray and place in them in the oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, get started with the custard.

Mix 1/4 cup of soya milk with the arrowroot (in a measuring jug) and set aside.

Put the rest of the soya milk in a saucepan and bring to boil on a low-medium heat, then remove immediately.

Add the xylitol to the arrowroot mixture and mix well. Once mixed add to the heated soya milk.

Return to the heat and stir on a low heat, add the vanilla and cinnamon, stir until thick.

Take the pastry out of the oven, press down with a spoon on the pastry and then pour some honey on each of the bases before pouring the custard. Then sprinkle the nutmeg on top of the custard and place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

Once they have been baked, remove from oven and allow them to cool and set. This can be done on a kitchen surface or in the fridge, but I would let them cool a while before placing them in the fridge.

You can make these in muffin cases to get a deeper fill of custard, but it may take longer to 


I'm pleased with my first attempt at tarts, its particularly lovely when you bite into the tart and the honey oozes out, mmmm. 

Photo to come soon...

I am looking forward to practicing making pastry, particularly puff pastry... watch this space!

Monday, 20 June 2011

More quick sweet treats

With the weather improving (sort of) and everyone wanting to spend more time outside, of course, that means less time inside baking - I've got to get the balance right and make time for both! 

Quick Treat No. 1
This is the first thing I made after I was told that I needed a sugar free diet, as well as a gluten and diary free diet - which was instantly depressing, but once I knew it was easy to make something that was naturally sweet without refined sugar, I was much happier. 

Simply mix together Plain Soya Yoghurt, Chopped or Flaked Almonds, Dessicated Coconut to make a quick, easy and lovely treat. To make it a little (or a lot) sweeter depending on the size of your sweet-tooth, just add a natural sweetener like Maple Syrup, Agave Syrup or Honey.

Of course, summer also means fresh fruit! And that equals fruit salad. Chopping and mixing a whole bunch of fruit together is easy. It just depends on what fruit you like. From what I understand; berries, cherries and tropical fruit is generally easier to digest. 

Eating fresh fruit is also better than eating dried fruit or fruit juice, as they have a higher sugar content. Fruit is also best eaten on an empty stomach. Cooked fresh fruit is also easier to digest than uncooked fruit.

Quick Treat No. 2
As a warm, creamy alternative to a fruit salad, warm some raspberries (organic if possible) in a saucepan, as they warm the juice will start to come out. After a couple of minutes and some soya cream (which is an alternative to single cream) and continue to warm and mix them together for another minute or two, making a lovely dark pink colour. Once you have transferred this to a bowl add a little more soya cream, which is a nice constant in both temperature and colour. With fresh, in-season, organic raspberries, no other sweeteners are required! Its gorgeous just as it is :-)

Of course the muffins and cookies will be back soon and some new experimentation in tarts! Looking forward to it...

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Quick & Easy Coconut Chocolate Cookies

Two of my favourite ingredients chocolate and coconut! The nice thing about these cookies is the coconut gives a great chewy texture to the spongy cookie, not forgetting the great taste, of course!

The Ingredients
125g unsalted organic butter or soya / olive spread
175g xylitol
1 medium egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g gluten free plain flour
1/2 tsp gluten free baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g xylitol chocolate
Couple of handfuls of shredded coconut

The Equipment
Assortment of forks and knives
Greaseproof paper
Baking tray
Cookie cutter
Large mixing bowl
Measuring jug

The Method
Preheat oven to 180oC. Place greaseproof paper on a baking tray.

Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.

Chop chocolate into small chunks (this can be done in the blender). And then add the chocolate and the coconut in the flour and mix until evenly dispersed.

Put the xylitol, egg and vanilla into a measuring jug and mix well.

Gently melt the butter, once melted completely, add to the xylitol/egg/vanilla mixture and stir thoroughly.

Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well and evenly combined. The result is a pretty runny mixture. 

Pour the cookie mixture all in one 'lump' onto the baking tray. Spread the mixture evenly across the baking tray, to be baked 'tray-bake' style. 

Once ready place into the oven for 15 minutes. 

Once out of the oven and cool enough to handle its to time employ an exciting piece of equipment - the cookie cutter. This is the first time that I have had cookies that are actually round!

The great thing about using a cookie cutter is you get a bunch of presentable cookies but you also get a whole heap of broken bits. 

The broken bits can be easily nibbled at in secret and you can hardly tell the supply has been depleted! :-)  

Sunday, 5 June 2011

ChocChip-JammyDodger Muffins

Perhaps the name of these muffins isn't quite accurate, their nothing like Jammy Dodgers (I don't even like dodger biscuits), but they do have jam in the middle of them, which is a lovely addition. I don't know why I haven't put jam inside cakes before.

The Ingredients
175g Xylitol
2 eggs
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp glycerine
175g gluten free flour
1.5 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
130ml unsweetened soya milk
130ml sunflower oil
75g Xylitol plain chocolate
Sugarless Jam (in this recipe I used St Dalfour Raspberry Jam)

Makes 6 large miffins or 12 cupcakes

The Equipment
The usual spoons and forks
Weighing scales
Large mixing bowl
Measuring jug
Muffin cases
Muffin tray

The Method
Preheat the oven to 180oC (GM4) and the muffin cases in the muffin tray.

To make your own chocolate chips, break up the chocolate into squares a whizz them up in the blender - its a noisy process at first, but infinitely quicker and easier than chopping up a chocolate bar by hand - I say this from experience. 

Combine the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum; sieve and mix together in the large mixing bowl.

In the measuring jug mix together the soya milk and oil.

Next place the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla and glycerine into the blender with the broken up chocolate and whizz again until well mixed.

Then add all mixtures into the large mixing bowl and whisk by hand until well mixed and the large lumps have disappeared.

Half fill muffin cases with the choc-chip cake mixture.

Then add about teaspoons worth of jam into the middle the mixture. A heaped teaspoon is enough if you are making cupcakes, you may need a little more if making muffins.

And then place the rest of the mixture in the muffin case covering the jam.

Once the mixture is evenly distributed in the muffin cases, place the muffin tray in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Once baked and well risen remove from the oven and allow them to cool.

These muffins are good to eat warm or cold :) If eating warm, just leave to cool long enough so you don't burn your tongue on hot jam!