BOverall, reing feels like alchemy – the magic that happens when eggs, sugar, butter, and flour are brought together and heat is applied. So if anything, baking gluten-free feels even more magical. It is not, of course; in fact, it can be trickier, because gluten is often what holds things together and keeps them elastic. To prevent gluten-free bakes from being on the short or brittle side, we need to dig deeper into our box of baking tricks. I love to cook within the so-called restrictions: it makes me discover new ingredients or new uses for ingredients that I already know. Adding powdered fruit pectin to scones (not just the jam that covers them), for example, is a revelation and helps to bond the crumb and hold in moisture. Cookies, Buns, and Cakes Everyone Can Eat – Now what it really feels like alchemy.
Caramelized White Chocolate Macadamia Cookies (pictured above)
Caramelized white chocolate is exactly that: white chocolate that has been caramelised until it tastes like fudge, toast, brown butter, and malt all rolled into one. Darling. It is expensive, but it is readily available online. Don’t worry if you can’t get any though – any white cooking chocolate will work here too. Raw cookie dough can be made up to three days in advance, rolled into balls, and stored in an airtight container in the fridge, ready to bake whenever you feel like it.
Homework 20 minutes
Cook 15 minutes
300 g unsalted softened butter, cut into 2cm cubes
300g soft brown sugar
75 g caster sugar
20 g vanilla paste
1 whole egg plus 2 egg yolks
175 g cassava flour
150 g of giant oats, bombarded into a very fine dust
¾ teaspoon of baking soda
¾ teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
100g macadamia nuts, roasted and chopped
200g caramelized “blond” white chocolate (we use Valrhona Dulcey 32%), or regular white cooking chocolate, chopped
Weigh half of the butter into a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking frequently, for about five minutes, until the butter turns amber and smells nutty.
Meanwhile, place the remaining butter, both sugars, and vanilla paste in a large bowl, then pour in the hot butter, stir to combine, then let it sit for about five minutes, until the rest of the butter is completely melted. Add the egg and egg yolks and mix for about 30 seconds, until well combined and emulsified. Add all the remaining ingredients and mix until all the remaining flour is gone. Cover the surface with cling film or similar and refrigerate for about an hour and a half, until firm.
Heat the oven to 190C (180C fan) / 390F / gas 6 and line two or three large baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop out a 50-55g piece of cookie dough, roll it into a ball and place on a lined tray. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls well; You should be able to fit about eight cookies on each tray.
Bake for seven minutes, then turn the pan over and bake for three more minutes, until the cookies are lightly golden around the edges and the centers are puffy and pale. Remove and cool on the tray for eight to 10 minutes before eating, assuming you can wait that long.
Crumbled buns with za’atar and feta cheese
These are perfect as-is, or divide while still warm, butter, and serve with soup or as part of a breakfast or brunch. They are best eaten during the day, but if you have any left over, they are shiny and fried in butter to accompany them with scrambled eggs.
Homework 20 minutes
To rest 30 minutes
Cook 1 hour
80g whipping cream, plus extra to brush
115 g fat-free Greek yogurt
250 g of all-purpose gluten-free flour, plus an extra for stamping out: we use Pigeon farm
2½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon powdered pectin
1 tablespoon za’atar, more extra to spray
1 tablespoon caster sugar
100 g cold unsalted butter, cut into 2cm cubes
3 tablespoons (15 g) finely chopped chives
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
125g of feta cheese, crumbled
60g cheddar cheese, finely grated
1½ teaspoon sesame seeds, to end
Line the bottom and sides of an 18cm x 4cm deep square baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, yogurt, and egg, then put in the refrigerator to chill.
Place all dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter, chives, and lemon zest, and pulse seven to eight times, until the butter is about the size of small peas. Pour in the cream mixture and pulse again until the “crumbs” are moist but not quite all together, then place on a clean work surface and use your hands gently to flatten the mixture into a rough rectangle 15 cm long. without compressing it too much. Sprinkle the feta and most of the cheddar evenly over the top and gently fold the sides to bring the batter together in a round; don’t overwork it, because you want some of the feta to stay intact.
Now switch to a roller. Gently roll the dough into a circle of about 15cm about 3cm thick, turning the dough as you go. If it starts to crack around the edges, use the flat of one hand gently to push it back together to smooth out the cracks. Have a bowl of flour ready to dip the cutter between each stamp, which will ensure a clean cut. Using a 6cm smooth round cutter, cut about four buns, then gather scraps together, roll out and repeat (you should end up with nine buns in total and about 80g of leftover puff pastry), bake this separately for a chef’s delight . Arrange the buns in three rows of three in the lined tin and refrigerate for 30 minutes, so they rest and firm.
Ten minutes before you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 210C (200C fan) / 425F / gas 7. Brush the tops of the buns with the additional whipped cream, sprinkle over the reserved cheddar cheese and top that with the za’atar and sesame seeds. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the pan, lower the oven to 190C (180C fan) / 390F / gas 6 and bake for another 10 minutes, until the buns are well browned and the media springs back when lightly touched. Remove, cool in can for five minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.
Coconut cream and lime caramel tartlet with lime sugar
The lime sugar in this dish reminds me of a margarita on a sunny day. If you want to get ahead, you can bake the base and prepare both the caramel and the lime sugar the day before.
Homework 15 minutes
Infuse 30 min +
Cook 50 min
Cool 30 minutes
It serves 8
For the base
1 egg white, lightly beaten
150g desiccated coconut, lightly toasted
50 g caster sugar
1 tablespoon of coconut oil, Melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
For the custard
1 400 ml can of coconut milk (at least 80% coconut extract)
1 400 ml can of coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
7 makrut lime leaves (5g net weight)
50g coconut oil
80g of powdered custard
2 whole eggs plus 2 egg yolks
For the caramel and lime sugar
160ml coconut cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
2 lemons, grated and squeezed
2½ teaspoons caster sugar
Heat oven to 170 ° C (160 ° C fan) / 350 ° F / gas 4. Line a 23 cm x 23 cm square cake pan with a removable base with wax paper. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients for the base with one-eighth teaspoon flake salt. Press this mixture evenly into the base of the pan, bake for 23 minutes, until completely golden brown, then remove and cool.
While the base is baking, put all the custard ingredients except the eggs and powdered custard in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, then remove from heat and let infuse for at least 30 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered pastry cream, eggs, and one-eighth teaspoon of salt until well combined, then set aside. Bring the milk mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, then lift and discard the lime leaves. Pour a quarter of the milk into the custard mixture, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Return the remaining milk to medium-low heat, then sift the custard mixture directly into the milk pan (discard any solids trapped in the sieve). Cook for 10 minutes, whisking frequently to prevent lumps from forming on the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens and begins to fall off the whisk in thick strips.
Pour the pastry cream over the chilled base, then refrigerate for 30 minutes, to chill.
For the caramel, put 160g of sugar and an eighth teaspoon of salt in a large skillet, put it over medium heat and cook for about eight minutes: resist the temptation to stir it, and instead turn the pan until all the sugar it has melted. Continue stirring slowly until the sugar turns a dark amber color, then add the coconut cream and vanilla, and mix well: careful, because it can splatter. Add a teaspoon and a half of lemon juice, then pour into a pitcher or small bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, rub powdered sugar, lime zest, and 1/2 teaspoon flake salt with your fingers.
Unmold the cold, curd cake and transfer to a source. Drizzle on some caramel and lime sugar, then cut into squares and serve with the remaining lime juice on top.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism