Saturday, 27 August 2011

The 4 C’s - Cherry Choc Chip Cheesecake

There are a lot of components to a completely homemade cheesecake which is gluten, milk and sugar free. There are recipes that use flour for the base but I have chosen to make a biscuit base, just because I wanted to see if I could make gluten free digestives and it turns out you can! Its best to make the cheesecake in advance its good after 24 hours in the fridge but its at least best after 48 hours in the fridge!

Vegan Cream Cheese
The ingredients 
Firm Silken Tofu 
1 tbsp Oil 
2 tsp Lemon Juice 
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar 
1 tsp Vanilla Extract

The method
Crumble the tofu and add this and all the other cream cheese ingredients into a large bowl and whisk on a slow speed if using an electric whisk and blend until smooth. Its easy to make more depending on how big your cheesecake is going to be. If you make too much you can keep it in an air tight container for 5 days in the fridge.

Homemade Digestives
For 18 Biscuits or a thick base for a 22 inch cheesecake

The ingredients
100g buckwheat flour
100g gluten free oats
1 tablespoon of glycerine
1 tsp baking powder
50g xylitol
100g salted softened butter
2 tablespoons of non-diary milk

The method
Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Place greaseproof paper on a large baking tray.

Grind the oats in a blender until a powdery texture.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

Add the butter and mix until crumbly consistency.

Add the milk and mix into a smooth smooth.

Place in the fridge for 15 minutes (any longer and the dough will become too hard).

Spread the dough out evenly over the greaseproof paper on the baking tray.

Bake for 15 minutes.

And now... finally... the cheesecake!

More ingredients!...
- 4-8 heaped tablespoons (depending on the consistency and taste you want) Powdered erythritol is a healthier alternative to icing sugar:
- 4-8 heaped tablespoons sugar and diary free chop chips (basically made of pure cocoa, which means they aren't sweet like milk chocolate and you will have to decide how much to put in depending on taste): I used Naturya Cocoa Nibs (which I got in Holland and Barrett)
- About 3/4 of a jar of St Dalfour Black Cheery Jam
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

The Equipment
The usual forks and spoons
Large mixing bowl
22inch cake tin
Cling film

The Method
Mix the vanilla, powdered erythritol and choc chips with the cream cheese into everything is well incorporated and it has a smooth creamy consistency in a large bowl.

Line the bottom of the cake tin with the digestives (they can be all broken up and then squashed back down), making the cheesecake base.

Spread the jam over the digestive base, try to make an as even layer as possible.

Then spread the cream cheese mix over the top again in an even layer.

Wrap the top of the cake tin in cling film and place in the fridge to chill. If you can make it 48 hours in advance of when you want to eat it, thats definitely when its texture its at its best, as the cheesecake will be nice and firm (and very tasty too)!

Unfortunately it was eaten before I remembered to take a photo.

A word on gluten free porridge oats

I had always assumed that oats weren't gluten free and I would have to avoid them, but its turns out pure wholegrain oats are gluten free! Oat products that aren't gluten free have been contaminated by other gluten grains. For example, if the oats aren't grown separate but with other grains or if they aren't milled separately to other grains. This is great stuff to know and I helpfully found this info on the back of a packet of Nairn's gluten free porridge oats, I had wondered when I first seen gluten free porridge oats I wondered if they were genetically modified :)

The good news is that the number of companies producing gluten free oats is increasing, I have found that both Tesco's and Sainsbury's have their own brands both sold in the free-form sections. Nairn's gluten free porridge oats which can be found in health food shops.

So I have been taking advantage and making lots of delicious things with oats - expect several oat filled recipes!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Slightly Spicy Double Choc Cupcakes

These cupcakes are so moist and yummy even if I do say so myself :) best eaten still warm when the chocolate is still gooey (satisfied sigh). A pinch of mixed spice give the cupcakes a slightly different twist on the well loved chocolate tradition.

The Ingredients
100g gluten free flour - in this case I used 50g buckwheat flour and 50g rice flour
25g cocoa powder (must be sugar free, always best to check the label its a good habit to get into, you can't assume what food does/doesn't contain, especially in the case of sugar)
140g Xylitol
2 medium eggs at room temperature
130ml sunflower oil
130ml milk (lacto-free or unsweetened soya)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon glycerine
2 tablespoons milled or ground flaxseed 
100g Plain Xylitol Chocolate broken up into squares

Makes 12 cupcakes

The Equipment
Muffin cases
Muffin tray
Large mixing bowl
Medium mixing bowl
Measuring jug
Handheld electric whisk
Weighing scales
Many spoons
Cooling rack

The Method
Pre heat the oven to 175C add muffin cases to the muffin tray.

Sift and mix together the dry ingredients: Flaxseed, cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, mixed spice, xanthan gum, salt (but don't include the Xylitol in this mix).

In a measuring jug with the electric whisk (on medium-high speed) mix together the Xylitol, eggs, vanilla extract and glycerine.

In another mixing bowl with the electric whisk mix together the oil and milk until it is nice a thick.

Pour in the Xylitol mixture in the oil/milk mixture and whizz together with the electric whisk.

Then add this mixture of the dry ingredients, again using the electric whisk, on a low speed at first and getting faster as all the ingredients begin to combine - you will end up with a fairly thick cake mixture.

Half fill the muffin cases with the cake mixture and then add a square of the Xylitol chocolate.

And then add the rest of the cake mixture evenly to all the muffin cases.

Once all the mixture as been used up add another square of the Xylitol chocolate on top of the mixture.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until well risen.

Once baked remove from the muffin tray and allow to cool slightly on a cooling rack, make sure they chocolate is cool enough not to burn your mouth before devouring! (But can also be keep for up to a week in a air tight container).