26 April 2011

Gluten-free Anzac Biscuits

I like the addition of quinoa flakes here - it makes them slightly more nutritious! If you're a coeliac and can tolerate certified gluten-free oats, try asking at your local health food store. Bob's Red Mill is now being imported from the US and their range of gluten-free oats and flour mixes is excellent.

(If you're watching your weight, my healthier version is available at www.weighitup.com.au)

1 cup dessicated coconut
1/2 cup gluten-free cornflakes
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
1 cup gluten-free plain flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 dairy-free margarine (Nuttelex)
1/4 cup golden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
2 tablespoons hot water

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Place flour, cornflakes, quinoa flakes and sugar in a bowl, mixing well.

Melt margarine and golden syrup in a saucepan over low heat. Mix water and bicarb then add to saucepan.

Add liquid to dry ingredients and combine very well, with hands if you have to. Place tablespoons of mixture onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. If you like your Anzacs chewy, reduce baking time by a few minutes.

Cool on a wire rack.

21 April 2011

Hot Cross Buns

dairy free egg free nut free vegan

About this time last year, I made at least two attempts at hot cross buns. I tried a version where the butter is melted, and another where it is rubbed into the flour. One made for a very dense bun, almost scone-like. Did I say scones? More like bricks. The other was a vast improvement though the recipe required four proving times. Four! 
I only let the dough rise twice because I figured I'd mastered enough yeast cookery to know when to cut corners.

All was going pretty well until I left them in the oven 3 minutes too long. Wahhh. 
very hot, very cross buns
Later, I wondered why I didn't just make buns out of the Stollen recipe I had tried at Christmas. After sitting in my hall of shame for a full year, I'm ready to tackle them again this Easter weekend (despite the calamity that was the gluten-free experiment a few weeks ago, but I'll spare you the horror for now.)

So here's the adapted Stollen recipe for perfect hot cross buns, just in time for Good Friday.

3 cups plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
7g sachet dried yeast
1 1/2 cup dried mixed fruit
grated zest of 1 orange
150ml soy or rice milk, warmed
100gm dairy-free margarine (Nuttelex), melted
1 egg replacer

50g plain flour
1/4 cup water

2 tablespoons apricot jam

Place flour, sugar, spices, yeast, dried fruits, citrus zest and a pinch of salt in a large bowl, stirring well to combine. Whisk milk, Nuttelex and egg replacer together, then stir into flour mixture to form a soft dough. Knead dough on a floured surface for 5 minutes until smooth, dusting with more flour if too sticky.

Place dough in lightly oiled bowl, turning to grease on all sides. Cover and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 200 C and grease a baking tray or line with baking paper.

Punch down dough, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth. Divide the dough into approximately 12 pieces and knead each piece into even-sized balls. Place in rows on the tray, cover with a tea towel and stand in a warm place for about half an hour until risen slightly. 

Combine flour and water for the crosses and stir to a smooth paste. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle (or a plastic bag with corner snipped off). Pipe lines down each row to form crosses. Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until golden.

Cool on tray for a few minutes while you dilute the jam with a teaspoon of boiling water, then brush over warm buns.

02 April 2011

Nut-free Baklava

dairy free egg free nut free vegan gluten free

This recipe makes an enormous slab of baklava. It's a special event dish, so you'll need more than a few friends to help eat it. Toasting the sunflower kernels brings out their nutty flavour making them an ideal nut substitute.

If you are gluten-free, you could try layering with just a few sheets of Pastry Pantry's Rough Puff Pastry which is also vegan, preservative-free and trans-fat free.

750g fillo pastry (Antoniou)
2 cups sunflower kernels, lightly toasted in oven
300g dairy-free margarine (Nuttelex)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1tsp cloves

2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup honey or golden syrup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon

TIP: When using fillo pastry, ensure you bring the unopened packets to room temperature for a couple of hours prior to using. Use fresh (refrigerated) fillo rather than frozen. Always keep the unused pastry covered while you're layering or it will dry out and crack, making it difficult to handle.

Preheat oven to 180C.

Melt margarine and lightly grease 25 x 43cm baking tray. Trim pastry to size of tray and keep trimmings. Layer one packet of pastry, brushing with margarine after every second or third sheet of pastry.

Roughly process toasted sunflower kernels in a food processor, then combine with sugar, cinnamon and cloves in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over top layer. Place the trimmed pieces of pastry from both packets on top of the nut mixture before continuing to layer the remaining pastry.

Cut into diamond or square shapes, making sure to cut right through to the base. You may want to refrigerate for half an hour as it makes cutting the fine pastry a little easier.

Pour remaining margarine (if any left) over the baklava and it will be absorbed by the pastry. 

Bake for about 1 hour or until golden brown. Make the syrup while it's cooling - combine all the ingredients, bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.

Pour hot syrup over baklava and sprinkle with kernels.