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Christmas

Christmas Pudding

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Following my recent post for my Gluten Free Christmas Cake, many of you have been asking me about making Christmas Puddings.  Last year I posted my recipe for an amazing Christmas Pudding recipe and here is the link to that posting.  This makes a really dark, rich pudding that is absolutely deliciously.

Please note this recipe requires overnight soaking of some ingredients and 8 hours of steaming followed by a further 6 hours steaming on Christmas Day before serving.

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I made so many puddings last year that I had a couple left so that saves me making them this year!

PS – if you have already made your Christmas Cake don’t forget to feed it a little tipple of brandy each week.

Christmas Cake

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I have been making this rich fruit Christmas cake for the last four years and it is so good that even our non gluten free family and friends love it. It is adapted from a recipe in BBC Good Food Magazine, December 2010.

I like to make it about 6 weeks before Christmas Day allowing me at least 4 weeks to keep “feeding” it with brandy and then a week before I decorate it.

Before starting please note that the dried fruit is best soaked overnight.

Ingredients

75g currants
75g sultanas
350g raisins
50g mixed peel
150ml brandy – I keep a bottle of cheap supermarket brandy in my larder
zest and juice of 1 lemon
vegetable oil for the tin
140g gluten free plain flour
1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon ground allspice
140g unsalted butter softened
140g soft dark brown sugar
3 medium eggs at room temperature
50g ground almonds
2 tablespoons semi-skimmed milk
100g natural coloured glace cherries, washed and halved
1 tablespoon black treacle
1 tablespoon clear honey

Instructions

Place the fruit and mixed peel in a pan, add the brandy,lemon zest and lemon juice and bring to the boil. Take the pan off theunnamed (9) heat, cover with cling film and leave to soak overnight

 

 

Heat the oven to 150C non fan or 130C fan oven. Oil the sides and base of a 18cm cake tin and place a double layer of baking parchment on the base and on the sides making a tall collar of paper above the top of the tin.

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Sift the flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and spices. In a separate bowl beat the butter and sugar until fluffy and light. Gradually and alternately add the eggs and flour mix to the butter and sugar mix, then add the ground almonds. Stir in the milk, soaked dried fruit and cherries. Stir in the treacle and honey and give the mixture a good stir.

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Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for between 2 and 3 hours until a skewer is inserted and comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin. Once cold remove from the tin and baking parchment.  Wrap in several layers of foil and store in a airtight container.

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Each week take out and feed with a teaspoon of brandy. Turn upside down and piece with a skewer in a few places and drop the brandy into the cake.  Wrap and store

Decorate with marzipan and icing the week before Christmas Day

Mincemeat Streusel Tray Bake

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If you find that after Christmas you have had enough mince pies but still have a jar of mincemeat in the cupboard why not try my delicious Mincemeat Streusel Tray Bake, it’s so easy and quick to make. It is my own recipe from an idea seen on a Mary Berry programme.

Ingredients:

1 portion of my sweet pasty
200g gluten free plain flour
100g soft brown sugar
100g butter plus extra to grease the pan
50g chopped nuts (I used pecans)
1 jar mincemeat (mine was Robertsons Classic Mincemeat 411g)

Instructions:

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Take the chilled sweet pastry and roll out to the size of the base of your tray bake pan. My pan was 20cm x 30cm. lightly grease the pan with a small knob of butter.

 

 

 


Carefully lay the pastry in the base of the pan, it should just cover the bottom and not go up the sides. You can always use small pieces that are spare to fill in any gaps.

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To make the steusel topping; into a large bowl add the flour and sugar. Add the butter cut into small chunks and rub with your finger tips until like fine breadcrumbs. Add the chopped nuts and mix together.

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Spread the mincemeat on the pastry base and spread over until all the base is covered.

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Sprinkle over the steusel topping and gently press down with a palette knife or the back of a spoon.

2013-12-30 14.21.27Bake for 25 minutes in an oven at 170C.  Once out of the oven and leave in the pan to cool, after about 10 minutes cut into squares or rectangles (size to suit you) but leave in the pan until cooler.  Once cooled remove from the tin and serve.

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Carrot and Clementine Soup

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This soup is full of festive spice flavours and we love it at Christmas time however it is delicious any time of the year. We had it as our starter on Christmas Day this year in Cyprus where the locally picked clementines  are plentiful in the winter months.

Adapted from an advertisement feature in BBC Good Food Magazine many years ago where it was the winner of a competition by New Covent Garden Soup.

Ingredients:

25g butter
6 large carrots, thinly sliced
1 large onion, finely chopped
25g knob of fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
300 ml vegetable stock
6 large clementines, juiced
chopped parsley and cream to garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a pan and add the carrot, onion,ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg and sweat for 15 mins or until the carrots are tender.

Remove the cinnamon stick and add the clementine juice and stir. Using and electric blender, blend until smooth and add seasoning and adjust the consistency.

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Serve hot garnished with chopped parsley and a drizzle of cream (both optional)

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Mini Christmas Pies

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My wife loves my gluten free mince pies and as soon as it starts to feel festive I start making mince pies. For years when I ran my business I used to make over 500 mince pies each year (not GF though!) for my clients.  These days we make a few dozen gluten free ones for ourselves and our gluten free family.

These mini mince pies are made in a special tin sold in Lakelands. It is called “My Kitchen Cook and Bake Mini Morsel Set” and although it is not cheap it is a heavy duty pan that will last for forever.
www.lakeland.co.uk/12514/My-Kitchen-Cook-and-Bake-Mini-Morsel-Set

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Ingredients:

1 mix of my sweet pastry – see previous posting
1 450g jar of gluten free mincemeat
1 tablespoon of oil for greasing the pan
gluten free flour for dusting the dough presser
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of milk as egg wash
granulated sugar to sprinkle
icing sugar for dusting
ground cinnamon (optional)

Instructions:

Taking one mix of my sweet pastry chilled from the fridge, cut in half, leaving one half in the fridge.
Very lightly oil the pie tin. Divide the mixture into small balls about 13g each and place each ball into a section of the pan.

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The dough presser supplied with the pan needs to be dusted with gluten free flour between each press to ensure the pastry does not stick.  Using the dough presser, push downwards gently on each pastry ball until the pastry rises up the sides to the top of the tin. carefully remove the dough presser and continue to make each pie.
Fill each pie with a teaspoon of mincemeat.

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Using the remaining chilled pastry, roll out between 2 sheets of clingfilm until thin. Using a small round or star shape cutter cut the tops for the pies.  Using the egg wash brush the tops of the pies and place the top edges of the pies pushing the edges gently to seal. Brush the tops with egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar.

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Bake in an oven at 170C for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown.

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Carefully remove from the tin and cool on a wire cooling rack and dust with icing sugar. For a seasonal taste I add some ground cinnamon to the icing sugar

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English Madeleines

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These classic tea party cakes are not particularly a traditional Christmas item however with the cherry jam glaze and the coconut they look very seasonal and make a lovely cake for an afternoon tea.
This recipe has been adapted from a recipe in BBC Good Food Magazine and although a little messy to make they are well worth the effort.

Ingredients:

100g butter softened and extra butter for greasing
200g desiccated coconut
140g caster sugar
140g gluten free plain flour plus a little extra for dusting the cherries.
1 large egg
140g full fat coconut yogurt
1 tablespoon milk
85g glace cherries finely chopped and washed plus 5- 6 extra cherries halved for decoration
140g cherry jam

Instructions:

Heat the oven to 140C.
Grease 8 – 10 mini dariole moulds / madeleine tins (larger tins can be used and cooked for a little longer).
Put 50g of the coconut into a food processor with the sugar and whizz until the coconut is as fine as the sugar.
Tip into a mixing bowl with the butter, flour, egg , yogurt and milk and beat with an electric whisk until smooth.
Tip a little extra flour onto a plate and toss the washed and dried chopped cherries in the flour so they are lightly coated and then gently stir into the mixture.
Divide the mixture among the moulds. Do not fill more than two thirds full.
Sit the moulds on a baking sheet and bake for approx 30 minutes or until a skewer poked in comes out clean
Cool for 10 minutes  and then turn out from the tins to cool completely
Heat the jam in a pan and then sieve to remove the cherry lumps
Tip the remaining coconut onto a plate
Trim and wonky bottoms from each madeleine so they sit flat and the same size
One at a time brush the top and sides of each madeleine with the jam and then using a fork stuck in the bottom of each madeline roll the sides and top in the desiccated coconut to cover evenly.
Decorate with half a glace cherry on the top

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Christmas Pudding

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There are only 44 days until Christmas so its time to start making the Christmas Pudding so that they soak and mature by the big day. I have been making this recipe for the past 3 years and we think they are so good that I no longer make the non gluten free version.  This year I have made double the recipe to make enough for all our gluten free family.

The recipe is taken from the Genius website and I make 3 x one litre puddings from it.

Please note this recipe requires overnight soaking of some ingredients and 8 hours of steaming followed by a further 6 hours steaming on Christmas Day before serving.

Ingredients:

250g raisins
225g sultanas
450g currants
85g mixed peel
zest of 1 orange finely grated
juice of 2 oranges
zest of 1 lemon finely grated
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
half teaspoon ground cinnamon
half teaspoon grated nutmeg
150ml cold Earl Grey tea (I use 4 tea bags and left to make a strong brew)
6 tablespoons brandy or rum
1 large cooking apple, peeled, cored and grated
85g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
340g dark soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons black treacle
225g frozen unsalted butter
225g brown or white Genius Gluten Free Bread made into fine breadcrumbs in a food processor
55g rice flour
55g corn flour
2 teaspoons gluten free baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 eggs beaten

Instructions:

In a large bowl mix all the dried fruit, mixed peel, orange and lemon zest and spices in the orange and lemon juice, cold tea and brandy or rum. Leave to soak overnight.

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The next day mix into the soaked fruit the grated apple, chopped almonds, brown sugar and black treacle
In another large bowl, mix the grated butter, breadcrumbs, rice flour. corn flour, baking powder and salt together.

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Then gradually beat in the eggs until the mixture is smooth. Stir into the soaked fruit mixture.

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Spoon the mixture into 3 x one litre pudding basins. The basins should be greased with butter and filled to two thirds full. Cover with a circle of greaseproof paper and either secure the lid or cover with foil and secure around the edge of the bowl with string.
Steam for 8 hours, checking regularly and topping up the water when necessary

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Remove the pudding basisn from the pan and leave to cool.
To store cover the puddings with fresh greasproof, foil and then cling film and store somewhere cool and dry.
On Christmas Day steam the puddings for a further 6 hours before serving.

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