Thursday, October 18, 2018

Strawberry Tart (Gluten Free)

When looking in the window of pastry shops, one delicacy that always catches my eye is the fruit tarts.  Traditionally, the fruit tart is a heavenly combination  of shortcrust pastry, crème patisserie and glazed sliced fruit.

The jewel of fruit tarts is the ruby red strawberry tart.  How could anyone resist its luscious beauty?  Accordingly, for a recent work team lunch, I wanted to make a strawberry tart.  The challenge lay in the fact that one of my team members is a coeliac, so the tart had to be gluten free.

The biggest challenge from my point of view would be making the pastry.  After conducting some research, I chose this recipe from Hungry and Fussy for a gluten free shortcrust pastry. It contains almond meal, maize flour, rice flour and sorghum flour.  I substituted the sorghum flour for buckwheat flour, which with a high protein content, I figured would have similar properties to the sorghum flour.  This was my resulting blind baked tart shell:

The pastry tasted reminiscent of Arnotts Shredded Wheatmeal Biscuits.  Whether you think that is good or bad is entirely a matter of personal opinion.

For the filling, I used this recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly.   The crème patisserie is thickened with wheaten cornflour, so I substituted rice flour on a one for one basis.  I was not a huge fan of the resulting crème patisserie, which seemed a little too thick and a little eggy.  My usual crème patisserie recipe, from Dorie Greenspan, only uses four egg yolks - did the extra yolk make a difference?  Also, should I have used less rice flour than cornflour?  Who knows, as I was locked into using the crème patisserie I had made (not wanting to waste all of those egg yolks).

I also layered the strawberries a little differently to the Women's Weekly recipe to make the tart look a little fancier, borrowing from this arrangement from The Great British Bakeoff:

Although not everything went to plan with this tart, I think that the tart looked great and it tasted quite acceptable.

If you would like to make this tart, you will need:


¾ cup corn (maize) flour¾ cup sweet rice flour⅓ cup buckwheat flour½ cup pure icing sugar
⅓ cup almond meal
1 egg
125g cold butter, cubed

Place the dry ingredients into a food processor and blitz to combine.  Add the butter and egg and blitz again until a dough forms.

Turn out the dough onto the bench, press into a flat disc and wrap in plastic wrap.  Leave the dough to rest in the fridge for an hour before use.

Spray the inside of a 23cm loose bottomed tart pan with spray oil.

Remove the dough from the fridge and allow to soften on the bench for 10 minutes or so.  Once the dough is able to be rolled without cracking, place the disc of dough between two pieces of baking paper and roll out to fit the tart pan.  Line the tart pan with the dough and allow the tart shell to rest in the fridge for an hour.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.  Remove the tart shell from the fridge.  Spray a piece of alfoil on the shiny side with spray oil and place it oiled side down in the tart shell.  Pour uncooked rice or baking beans into the tart shell, and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove the tart shell from the oven, take out the rice and alfoil, then return the tart shell to the oven to bake for another 10 minutes or til completely cooked.  Remove the tart shell from the oven and place on a wire rack in the tine to cool.


400ml milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup rice flour

Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until it almost boils. Remove from the heat and stir through the vanilla extract.

While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl until  thick and pale. Whisk in the rice flour.

While continuing to whisk the yolks, pour in  quarter of the hot milk.  Add the remainder of the milk to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking all the while.  

Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat, while continuously stirring, until the mixture almost boils and it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove the mixture from the heat and strain to remove lumps, if necessary.


Gently heat 1/4 cup strawberry jam in the microwave and strain to remove the seeds.  Spread the base of the tart shell with jam.

Scrape the crème patisserie into the tart shell and spread out evenly.

Wash, hull and slice a 250g punnet of strawberries.  Arrange the halved strawberries over the top of the tart.  Heat a few tablespoons of quince jelly in the microwave and brush over the top of the strawberries to glaze them.

Place the tart in the fridge for an hour or so to set before serving.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

TWD - Spiced Pumpkin Jammers

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I made Spiced Pumpkin Jammers.  These are a spiced dough, topped with a mixture of mashed pumpkin and cream cheese, then topped with a layer of streusel laced with pumpkin seeds.

These are not cookies that you make one night after work.  These cookies demand a lazy afternoon at home, as there are numerous steps involved, with waiting time in between while you chill the dough and chill the streusel, rolling of a sticky dough, and fiddly toppings arranged in a muffin tin. I got 48 cookies out of the recipe - you can understand why I was over them by the time I finished making them.

Undoubtedly, the finished result is delicious.  However, these cookies are very fiddly and time consuming to make, which makes it unlikely that they will be popping up very often at my place.

To see what everyone else made this week and what they thought of it, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Helen Goh's Moroccan Spiced Tea Loaf

Every weekend, I look forward to seeing the new Helen Goh recipe in the Good Weekend supplement in the newspaper.  I don't make all of them, or even want to, but many of Helen's recipes are very tempting.  For the uninitiated, Helen co-wrote Sweet with Yottam Ottolenghi.

Quite some time ago, she published a recipe for Moroccan Spiced Tea Loaf.  I really enjoy this type of cake, with lots of dried fruit that is juicy from being soaked in tea.  I have a similar recipe from years ago in one of mum's magazines.  A slice of this loaf slathered with butter is just the ticket with a hot mug of coffee for afternoon tea.  This cake is also a little different in that it is spiced with ras el hanout.

If this cake sounds like your kind of thing and you want to make it, you will need:

75g each of currants, raising, dried apricots, prunes and dried figs
250ml hot black tea
225g self raising flour
2 teaspoons ras el hanout
1/4 teaspoon salt
150g brown sugar
1 lightly beaten egg

The dried fruit into a heat proof bowl and pour over the tea.  Cover the bowl, and leave overnight to soak.

The next day, preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Grease and line a one litre loaf tin.

Sift the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then stir in the brown sugar.  Add the egg and dried fruit (including any liquid) and fold through the mixture.  If the mixture is thicker than dropping consistency, add a little milk to the mixture.

Spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove the loaf from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before unmoulding onto a cooling rack to cool completely before slicing and serving, spread with butter.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Pink Persian Cake - Red Tractor October

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so the Red Tractor Recipe for October is pink - Pink Persian Cake.

The quote for the month comes from an unusual source - a former Liberal opposition leader:

This month's Pink Persian Cake would do very well on a cake stall, because it is absolutely devine.  It is nutty, moist (yeah, that's a good thing for cakes), pudding-like and all round just good to eat.

The cake also looks pretty because it is topped with pink, rose flavoured icing (in the recipe, it was also supposed to be decorated with a real pink rose, but I did not have one):

To make this pearl of a cake, you will need:


3 cups almond meal
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup raw sugar (I just used panela sugar)
125g butter
2 lightly beaten eggs
1 cup Greek style yoghurt
2 teaspoons grated nutmeg


120g butter
2 teaspoons rosewater
3 drops rose colouring
1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius, and line and grease a 23cm springform pan.

Put the almond meal, sugars and butter in a food processor and blitz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Divide the mixture in half, and put one half into the prepared cake tin, pressing down so that it covers the base evenly.

To the other half of the mixture, add the eggs, yoghurt and nutmeg, and mix well.  Pour this mixture over the base in the springform pan, and bake in the preheated oven for an hour or until cooked through.

Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.  (This is important - I tried to remove the ring when the cake was still warm and it cracked open in a few places.)

For the icing, beat the butter in a stand mixer until pale and creamy.  Add the rosewater, rose colouring and 1 tablespoon of the icing sugar, then beat until combined.  Add the remaining icing sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time (or not!) and beat in until smooth.  

Spread the icing over the top of the cake and decorate as desired.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Italian Sausage and Barley Soup

I enjoy looking through the free supermarket magazines for recipe ideas, and often come up with great new dishes to try.  One of my favourites this last year has been the Italian Sausage and Barley Soup from the Coles magazine.

This soup takes sausages that have been removed from their casings, and adds them to a flavourful soup of carrot, celery, pearl barley and tomatoes.  It is both tasty and hearty.  It is also very simple to make.

To make this soup, you will need:

4 cups water
4 sausages removed from their casing
1 chopped carrot
3 chopped celery sticks
1 x 400g can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup pearl barley

Heat a large non-stick saucepan, and add the sausage. Cook the sausage, breaking it up into pieces as you go, until golden brown.

Add the carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the vegetables are softened.

Add the pearl barley to the pan, then add the tomatoes and stir to combine.

Add the water to the pan and bring to the boil.  Reduce the heat to medium to low, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until the soup thickens slightly.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then serve with crusty bread.

This is a perfect meal for a cold day, warming you on the inside.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

TWD - Bettelman

For Tuesday with Dorie this week, I made a pudding that was invented by the Alsatians to use up stale bread called Bettelman or "beggar".  This is anything but a beggar's pudding though, as you need stale brioche to make it.  At $5.50 a loaf, I don't consider brioche to be cheap.

The brioche is soaked in milk, and eggs, apple, spices and calvados are added to the mix, then baked to produce a bread pudding.

I was not much keen on this on day one served warm, as it seemed a little dry to me.  However, after a day in the fridge, the Bettelman was a different beast, and had come together to be quite moist in the middle.  I recommend eating the Bettelman cold after it has had a day or two in the fridge.

To see what the other Dorie bakers made this week, visit the LYL section of the TWD website.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Maggie Cooper's Christmas Cake

It will soon be Stir It Up Sunday, the day when people traditionally make their Christmas cakes and puddings so that they have time to mature for Christmas.  I decided to take a jump on them by making my Christmas cake this weekend.

Every year, I try to make a different Christmas cake recipe.  The results are mixed, but the unknown is part of the fun.  This year, I chose a recipe from Maggie Cooper that I found in The Toowoomba Chronicle, but which is also reproduced here.

To make this Christmas cake, you first make a fruit mince, two cups of which is reserved for mince pies:

My fruit mince had been happily soaking in brandy for around three weeks, so I was confident that it was time to make the cake.

The recipe says to use a 20cm round cake tin, but that is not anywhere near big enough.  I used a 25cm round cake tin, and as you can see I still ended up with an enormous cake that filled the tin:

The other key change that I made to the recipe is to use a commercial gluten free flour mix in place of the plain flour, as some of my recipients are eating gluten-free.  I am a little nervous as to whether this will make the cake crumbly when sliced, but I won't find out for a few weeks yet.  The cake seemed to hold together well once it had cooled and was unmoulded, so I am hopeful that it will be just fine.

If you are planning on making your Christmas cake soon and that this one might fit the bill, you will need:

Fruit mince

425g raisins
250g pitted dates

250g pitted prunes 

250g glacé cherries

115g glacé pineapple

125g dried apricots

50g glacé ginger

850g sultanas

375g dried currants

200g mixed peel (I left this out)

3 medium Granny Smith apples 

1 x 250g jar marmalade

2 tbsp finely grated orange zest

60ml lemon juice

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 tbsp mixed spice

350ml brandy 
Peel, core and grate the apples.  Chop the larger fruit finely.  Put everything into a big plastic mixing bowl with a lid, and shake well to combine.  Keep the container in a dark place and shake every few days for at least four weeks (or three, in my case).

Christmas Cake

250g unsalted butter, at room temperature

120g brown sugar

5 large eggs

60g melted dark chocolate

1 tsp vanilla essence

1 tsp almond essence

2 tsp glycerine (I used glucose instead)

2 tbsp raspberry jam

Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon

250g plain flour 

1 tsp mixed spice

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

1 quantity fruit mince (above) minus 2 cups 

1/2 cup brandy

Grease and line the base and sides of a 25cm round cake tin with baking paper and preheat your oven to 150°C. 
In a stand mixer, beat the butter until pale and creamy, then beat in the brown sugar until well combined.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the the chocolate, essences, glucose, jam, lemon zest and lemon juice.

In a separate bowl, sift the flour, mixed spice, ground ginger and salt together. 
Add 1/3 fruit mince to the cake batter, then 1/3 of the dry ingredients, and fold in gently with a wooden spoon. Repeat twice more until all of the dry ingredients and fruit mince have been incorporated into the batter.

Scrape the cake batter into the prepared cake tin, and tap on the bench a few times to remove any air pockets. Tie a triple thickness strip of newspaper around the tin with string (this will help to prevent the outside of the cake burning).

Bake the cake in the centre of the oven for 3 to 3 and 1/2 hours or until cooked through.

Take the cake out of the oven and prick the top of it  all over with a fine skewer.  Pour the additional half a cup of brandy over the top of the cake. Take the newspaper off the cake tin and allow the cake to cool completely in the tin.  Once cooled, take the cake out of the tin, but leave the baking paper on (I disobeyed this so I could photograph my cake). 
Wrap the cake in a double layer of alfoil and store in an airtight container in a dark cool place for at least a month before Christmas.
You can ice the cake with royal icing or marzipan and fondant before serving, if desired.