Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free Puff Pastry – Attempt No. 1

I had been delaying an attempt at fructose friendly puff pastry for a while. A long while.

It took enough courage to attempt normal gluten free pastry – I grew up using good old freezer aisle puff pastry in Australia and until I had to cut wheat out of my diet, I didn’t have a problem with using it. Mum had told me that Gran had always made top notch pastry but she never had the knack of it, so Pampas it was. Gran made top notch everything that she cooked until she started to get forgetful, which was before I really became interested in baking more than just cornflakes cookies, so I never learnt to make pastry from her; aside from that, the fact that it was always a taboo in my own house probably has something to do with my fear of pastry – even the basic sour cream pastry that I know I can make. I’m still scared of it being a complete flop every time I go to make it. I get butterflies – it’s ridiculous.

To add to this, last year my friend Mia was taking a pastry class and she asked her instructor a few sneaky questions for me about gluten free baking, one of which being, could she give her any pointers on a gluten free puff pastry. To our disappointment, Mia was told that gluten free puff pastry was impossible. I wasn’t too sad, because as far as pastry goes, the sour cream pastry that I use is very versatile and it hasn’t failed me yet – even the time I accidentally used normal cream when making pecan pies for Dad back home – those damn Bulla double cream and sour cream containers are too similar! Having a professional pastry chef tell me that something is impossible, though, meant that I never looked into it any further.

However, a month or so ago my friend Chath and I were talking – about food, what’s new? – and one of us mentioned vol au vents. From there the conversation moved onto puff pastry. Neither of us had made a gluten free version. A few days later, Chath came to the rescue with a link to a “rough” gluten free puff pastry. If you haven’t heard of “rough” puff pastry, it is essentially puff pastry that begins its journey to layered puffiness as a messy heap of barely combined butter and flour. It’s like the Picnic Bar of pastry. Deliciously ugly. But the point was, gluten free puff pastry is possible!

I spent the next few days looking over recipes in my spare time and realised that rough puff pastry, while everyone raves how easy it is, looked a little too messy for my obsessive compulsive self to be comfortable making it – at least to begin with. After looking at normal puff pastry recipes as well, and combining what I have already learnt about gluten free pastries, I decided to give it a go.

I won’t say that it’s perfect, it might have had a little too much water in it and it only puffed a little – but it is a pretty good start. I’m also open to suggestions for improvements, so comment below if you have any ideas.

For the puff pastry purists, no, I did not start with a giant block of butter. I’m far too lazy for that. Maybe I should have called this recipe “semi-rough” puff pastry instead. It is what it is, and what it is kind of works, for a first attempt.

Puff pastry is all about producing pastry that has layers separated by air after baking. Ev made wheat puff pastry a few years ago and it was successfully airy and layered. Keeping the butter and pastry cool is important in this process. The butter is frozen initially and the pastry is chilled in between “turns” to ensure that the butter does not integrate fully with the granules of flour – this is what causes a tender pastry, when the butter completely and evenly surrounds the flour granules. Flaky pastry is produced when there are chunks of butter in between layers of flour granules – this is what you aim for with puff pastry.

Notes:

  1. Make sure you use a gluten free plain flour that doesn’t have brown rice flour included, if you are sensitive to it.
  2. The King Arthur GF plain flour mix that I use includes rice, tapioca and potato flours, listed in that order.
  3. I used normal butter in this recipe, which contains a little lactose. I am not sure how this recipe would work with a lactose free alternative like coconut butter but if you are brave enough to try it, let me know.

Puff Pastry

Makes enough for three or four large tart shells or one, maybe two, enclosed pies – depending on how thin you roll it.

  • 750 g GF plain flour
  • 3 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar – optional for sweet pastry
  • 300 ml water – only use what is necessary

Dice the butter into small chunks and freeze for at least an hour, or until solid.

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In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine and aerate the sifted GF plain flour, xanthan gum and kosher salt for 1-2 minutes. Add in the butter and combine until it looks like bread crumbs before adding in the water; you might not need all of the water, depending on your flour blend. The dough should become a semi cohesive ball quite easily as you remove it from the mixing bowl.

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Divide the pastry into two balls. The following image demonstrates the progression of the pastry from roughly put together to a smooth, coherent dough over the first four “turns.”

Turn 1 – Place your semi-cohesive dough ball on a lightly floured surface (a pastry mat makes life very easy). Roll it out to just over the size of an A4 sheet and then use the pastry mat (if you have one) to lift the top and bottom thirds and fold it like a letter. The pastry is angled to that its length runs parallel to the front of your body. Turn the pastry brick clockwise.

Turn 2 – The pastry brick is now angled so that it’s longest length is coming from your front at a perpendicular (90 degree) angle – the photos below might not reflect this, sorry. Repeat step one by rolling the pastry so that it is just larger than the size of an A4 sheet of paper. You will notice that it has come together more than it was at this stage of the last turn. Use the pastry mat once more to fold the sheet of dough in thirds and rotate the brick clockwise. You have completed your second turn.

At this point, I like to refrigerate the dough to prevent the butter from melting too much, for the reasons mentioned above. I refrigerated this dough every two turns for 30 minutes, however next time I will see if refrigerating it every turn improves the flakiness.

Turn 3 – Angle the pastry so that it is protruding in a perpendicular manner form your chest. Complete the rolling and folding as outlined above and turn clockwise once more. The beauty about gluten free flour is that you can’t overwork it like you can glutinous flour, so it shouldn’t get too tough.

Turn 4 – Angle the pastry so that it is protruding in a perpendicular manner form your chest. Complete the rolling and folding as outlined above and turn clockwise once more. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

I completed eight turns but I’m not going to type it all out for you! Please use your brains to extrapolate. 🙂

Semi Rough Puff Pastry - Turns 1 through 4

After the eighth turn, it should very much resemble a smooth, pliable dough. It is not as strong as glutinous pastry but it is definitely manageable and not quite as flimsy as the GF sour cream pastry that I also have on this blog.

This should function as required in existing recipes. To blind bake it, roll it out so that it is 5 mm thick and line the dish you want to use; freeze it (so that it shrinks less) while you pre-heat the oven to 190 C/375 F and then use baking paper and pie weights for the first 10 minutes of baking to prevent bubbling, followed by 10-15 minutes further baking without pie weights until it is golden brown and completely cooked.

I will post a miniature pie recipe next which works well with this pastry.

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The proof is in the puff. It’s there, so hopefully with improved technique and practice I can get this puff pastry down!

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Sausage Rolls – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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Sometimes, more than others, having a food allergy or intolerance can really suck. One of those times is when you want to have a food that reminds you of your childhood, especially if you didn’t have the intolerance while you were a kid.

So when I had sausage roll cravings a little while ago – before we went completely vegetarian for two months – I went into a little sulk. This lasted all of 2 minutes, before I realised that hey, I can make pastry and sausages. What on earth am I whinging about? Mostly the fact that I can’t just go down to Coles and pick up a Patties party pack of sausage roles and party pies to satisfy said cravings. I suppose I had to earn my treats but they were worth it!

Notes:

  1. The pastry contains sour cream, so won’t be suitable for those avoiding lactose/all FODMAPs. If you have a FODMAPs safe pastry that you prefer, go ahead and use it.
  2. If you have no GF soy sauce, you can use kosher salt to get a similar taste. Ev’s mum taught us how to make sausage rolls years ago and she used soy sauce rather than salt because it enhances the flavour but it isn’t a necessity.
  3. Make sure you get real mayonnaise, with as little added ingredients as possible. As much as I loved it as a kid, Kraft’s mayonnaise is too sweet for this type of recipe and really isn’t proper mayonnaise at all. My 12 year old self would hate me right now – cheese, lettuce and Kraft mayo was my favourite school sandwich.

Sausage Rolls

Will yield enough to be an appetiser for approx. 10-15 people.

  • One batch GF sour cream pastry or a half batch of my GF/FF puff pastry recipe
  • 800 g minced meat (beef and/or pork, as lean as you’d like)
  • 1/3 cup REAL mayonnaise
  • 3 tbsp. GF soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. minced fresh oregano – optional
  • 2 egg whites and 1/4 cup water to make egg wash, thoroughly mixed – or cheat and use milk
  • Dried rosemary or sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Make the pastry according to the linked instructions and then place it in the fridge, well wrapped so it doesn’t dry out.

Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F.

Mix the mince meat, mayonnaise and soy sauce together thoroughly; this may mean using your hands, which can be unpleasant when the ingredients are so cold. Set it aside in the bowl.

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Ready a baking tray by lining it with baking paper and put it somewhere within reach of your mini production line.

Separate the pastry into quarters. On a lightly floured surface, and with a floured rolling pin to prevent sticking, roll the pastry out into as neat a rectangle as you can make with about 3-5 mm thickness and 30 cm wide. The length doesn’t matter but it will be greater than the width.

Half way across the 30 cm width – i.e. at 15 cm – slice down lengthwise along the pastry. In the centre of the now two pastry strips, create a log of the mince mixture that travels down each length from end to end. This mince log shouldn’t be so thick that it takes up more than the centre third of the pastry strip, or the sausage rolls will be too full and won’t roll properly in the next step.

Now – and this is where the floured surface will come in handy to stop your good work being ruined by sticking to the bench – lift up one side of the pastry and roll it onto the mince log. Next, continue the movement by rolling the pastry covered mince over and onto the uncovered pastry. Easy! Just remember that GF pastry can be really finicky, so handle it as little as possible and be as gentle as you can.

Sausage Rolls How To

Now you can decide how long you want the sausage rolls to be, and slice them accordingly. For serving as an appetiser/entree, we like to make them about 5 cm/2 inches long. But if you’re making these for dinner or to take for lunches, then go ahead and leave them about 10 cm long or even longer. Repeat until your sausage mix and pastry is used up.

Place the sausage rolls – gently – onto the prepared baking tray with the seam side down, to keep it sealed. Once you have a tray full, create two or three shallow, angled slices on each – see photos – and then brush the tops with the egg wash – I’ve used milk when I’m out of eggs/lazy – and sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or dried rosemary.

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Bake at 180 C/350 F for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve while still hot with fructose friendly tomato sauce, BBQ sauce or this spiced capsicum dip.

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Most importantly, enjoy, and listen to the praise you get from guests for making your own sausage rolls. You can enjoy that bit, too.

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Vegetable Quiche – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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I have been having quiche cravings for a week now and I finally decided that today was the day, considering I was stuck at home waiting for the maintenance guys to come and fix something (they didn’t, it’s been 4 days now… grrr). I needed all that time because I had to make my own pastry and I was planning on doing it properly this time and attempting puff pastry… which didn’t actually happen but the pastry I made was pretty good nonetheless.

Notes:

  1. Tomatoes, zucchini, spinach and green chives are low in FODMAPs.
  2. The butter I used in the pastry contains lactose, so use a different pastry recipe if you are sensitive. On the other hand, this would make a delicious fritata if you wanted to omit the pastry altogether, for a low FODMAP and low carbohydrate option.

Vegetable Quiche

Pastry

Filling

Makes enough filling for one large quiche, serves 4 adults as part of a main.

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or water if lactose intolerant)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 6 fresh oregano leaves, minced
  • 1/2 a large zucchini, diced
  • 1 vine tomato, diced
  • 3 tbsp. green chives, diced
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, roughly shredded
  • 1/2 cup Feta cheese, diced

Prepare the Feta cheese and vegetables. If you don’t want to use any of the above veggies, just swap in anything you would rather and make sure you have 2 cups of vegetables, for volume reasons.

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Beat the eggs until combined and slightly fluffy, before adding in the milk, salt and pepper. Add in the veggies and mix thoroughly.

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Pour the mixture into a semi-blind bakes pastry (blind-baked according to pastry recipe instructions).

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After the pastry has been semi-blind baked (for approximately 10 minutes), remove the quiche shell from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350 F/180 C. Pour in the quiche filling and return the dish to the oven; bake for a further 40-45 minutes, until the quiche is firmly set (i.e. doesn’t look wet or wobbly when the dish is nudged).

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Let it cool for 5 minutes (this allows the pastry to harden a little) before cutting and serving it. Enjoy!

This quiche is great for a couple of reasons: you can easily use up veggies that need to go and, if you have the pastry already, it’s quick to throw together. Besides, both those pastry recipes are simple and the only time consuming parts are the required refrigeration time.

The vegetables and oregano give it a really fresh, farmy feel and the Feta cheese gives it some depth. No onion or garlic required for flavour here!

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Even the Cone-head wanted a slice… but what’s new? Apart from his ridiculous looks at the moment – if only he’d leave his wound alone, it would be gone by now!

He got some – both the dogs did. Who can resist those eyes?

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Pie Crust Pastry – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

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The following recipe began as an attempt to create gluten free puff pastry. However, due to time constraints I couldn’t let it sit for an hour between each turn and I definitely couldn’t let it sit over night before using it as a crust. Thus, I will repeat my attempt with the left over pastry tomorrow (this recipe makes enough for two pies) but tonight this turned into a tasty and tender pie crust, with a little flake to it.

There’s nothing wrong with a mistake (well, not quite a mistake but a need for speed) turning out to be something that is equally as tasty and useful as the intended result. I will alter the instructions a little so that this does reflect a quick pie crust recipe, because there is no need to use frozen butter and attempt any “turns” in this recipe if you aren’t willing to be serious about making puff pastry. I have learnt from experience now that it requires patience and dedication!

FODMAP Notes

  1. Make sure you use a gluten free plain flour that doesn’t have any high FODMAP ingredients.
  2. The GF?FF plain flour blend that I make requires extra brown rice or quinoa flour to be added in pastry recipes. Your store bought brand might not.
  3. I used normal butter in this recipe, which contains very small amounts of lactose. If you are super sensitive to lactose, use a dairy or lactose free alternative, like coconut oil (refrigerated) or margarine that is FF.

Pie Crust Pastry

Makes approx. 1400 g of pastry, which is enough for three or four large tart shells or one, maybe two, enclosed pies – depending on how thin you roll it.

  • 600 g GF/FF plain flour
  • 150 g brown rice or quinoa flour
  • 3 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of unsalted butter
  • 300 ml water – only use what is necessary
  • 1 tbsp. icing sugar – optional for sweet pastry.

Take the butter out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for half an hour.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, use the paddle attachment to combine and aerate the GF plain flour, xanthan gum and kosher salt for 1-2 minutes. If you are making sweet pastry, add in the optional sugar at this point.

Next, add the butter and combine thoroughly before adding the water slowly; you might not need to add in all of the water.

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The dough should come together into a coherent ball. Play around with adding in a little extra flour or liquid if need be – GF flour blends are each slightly different, so will require slightly different treatments.

Split the dough into two balls and wrap them securely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate them for 30 minutes before rolling them out. Alternatively, pop one in the fridge and one in the freezer to store for up to one month.

Once you are ready to roll, lightly flour your work surface – I have a pastry mat, it makes the next step a lot easier – and your rolling pin. For added non-stick insurance, I like to use a sheet of wax paper between my rolling pin and the pastry I’m working on.

Roll the dough out until it is approximately 5-7 mm thick and is wide enough to cover your pie dish. Make sure your intended pie dish is well greased to prevent a disaster later on. The benefits of a pastry mat come in here: if you lightly floured the pastry mat before rolling out the dough, you should be able to pick up the mat, up-end it over the greased pie dish and watch the pastry just slip into place. You will still need to gently push it into the corners of the dish and trim the edges but it makes life so much easier.

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Once you have done that, pierce the base of the pastry a few times with a fork or a knife and then bake according to whichever recipe you choose.

Blind baking

Some recipes might call for blind baked pastry, if so:

  • Partially blind bake for 10 minutes at 200 C/400 F before using in a large pie that requires less than 45 minutes to bake.
  • Completely blind bake it at 200 C for 10 minutes with pie weights, and at least a further 10 minutes without, until the pastry is golden brown.

This pastry works very well in quiches, like the vegetable quiche we had for dinner tonight.

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Miniature Savoury Quiches – Low Fructose

What do you do when you have leftover pastry and eggs that need to be used?

Quiches!

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You can make these without the pastry as well, for a low-carbohydrate alternative. Just fill the patty pans a little more but be careful, they do rise!

These are great to make as entrees (appetisers) for dinners or make them on the weekend and have delicious, homemade lunches at work (or school or home!) during the week. Just make a salad to eat with it and people will be giving you filthy looks of jealousy. Or, as in our case last night, the dogs.

I also have a new vegetarian quiche recipe up that uses a different pastry recipe. Try them out!

Savoury Quiches

The following will make 24 miniature quiches.

  • One full batch of GF sour cream pastry
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk or water (cow, unsweetened almond, soy milk)
  • 1/8 tspn. asafoetida
  • 1/2 tbsp. salt
  • 1 tspn. black pepper
  • 1 cup grated cheese (cheddar, Parmesan it’s up to you)
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 6-8 rashers GF bacon, diced
  • 1 cup diced vegetables of your choice (spinach, tomato, capsicum, zucchini, mushrooms etc)

Dice bacon and vegetables of your choice. Seal your skillet and then fry the bacon and vegetables until the bacon has just turned crispy. Meanwhile, beat the eggs, milk, asafoetida, oregano, salt and pepper together. Drain the bacon and veggies from the oil and add into the egg mixture. Mix thoroughly.

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Cook the bacon and vegetables

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Mix the bacon and vegetables into the egg mixture

Make the pastry ahead of time according to the instructions on the linked page. It should produce 24 miniature quiches that are about 4-5 cm in diameter. Blind bake them for 15 minutes at 350 F/180 C before removing pie weights and filling the shells with the egg mixture and topping with cheese.

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Continue baking at the same temperature for a further 15 or so minutes, until the tops of the quiche filling has browned nicely and they no longer look runny.

Remove from the oven and let them cool for 10-15 minutes so the pastry can firm up before transferring them to a serving dish.

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Quiches with pastry and blanched greens – ignore the asparagus, I can eat a few stalks without reacting

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Pastry-less quiches for lunch the next day. Left-overs rock.

Enjoy!

Sour Cream Pastry – gluten free & fructose friendly

The following is a good all round gluten free (GF) pastry, the best I have come across so far. I would be happy to know of anyone else’s favourite wheat free pastry recipes.

GF Sour Cream Pastry:

This recipe is adapted from Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry recipe to make it fructose friendly/GF and a little sweeter. From the following I was able to get six smaller tarts and one large tart base. To make it with wheat flour, just substitute normal plain flour for the GF plain flour and omit the xantham gum.

Preheat the oven to 200 C or 390 F

  • 120 ml sour cream (do not use all of it if unnecessary)
  • 250 g GF plain flour
  • 1 tspn. xantham gum
  • 3 tbsp. icing sugar (for sweet pastry)
  • 200 g unsalted butter, chilled

Sift the flour and xantham gum (and the optional sugar) into the bowl of a stand mixer. Dice the butter into small cubes and add to flour mix. Blend until the butter has combined with the flour and the mixture resembles bread crumbs. I like to use the paddle attachment of my stand mixer rather than the whisk/beater attachment.

While mixing, add the sour cream gradually until the dough leaves the sides of the bowl and forms a ball. It should be tacky but not sticking to your fingers. I’m sorry but I forgot to take photos of this step. Wrap the dough tightly in glad wrap and refrigerate it for approx. 20 minutes before working with it. Try and keep handling of the dough to a minimum, or the butter will begin to melt. If this happens, re-wrap the dough and place it in the fridge for another 5 minutes to chill it and begin again. When the pastry warms up it becomes increasingly fragile and harder to work with. 

Place the unwrapped ball onto a GF floured bench and knead for 30 seconds. Half of this recipe will be enough for one large 9″ tart pan/pie dish and the other half can be divided into six smaller 5-6″ tart pans or frozen for later use – just make sure that it is well wrapped and you may need to add a little extra sour cream when you thaw it out to add more moisture. 

Cut off enough pastry for one pan. Roll the pastry between two layers of wax paper (to prevent sticking) until it is about 3mm thick. GF pastry can be temperamental and fragile. Peel off one side of the wax paper, then replace it loosely; flip the dough over and remove the other sheet of wax paper and place the dough side down on your lightly floured hands. The remaining sheet of wax paper should just lift off and then you can carefully transfer the pastry into the awaiting pan. Spray your dishes with olive oil to assist with pastry removal later on.

At this point, I like to freeze the pastry for about 10 minutes before blind baking it. Then, I add baking paper and ceramic baking balls (a brand new purchase, before this I used rice grains) to prevent bubbling while baking and bake it at 200 C for 10 minutes. Set a timer. Remove the baking paper and whichever pie weights you chose to use and return the pastry to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. When it is golden brown, it is time to remove it. If I was making a pecan pie, I would only return the pastry to the oven for 5 minutes the second time but because the filling does not need to be baked, the pastry must be fully cooked before it is filled.

You could also use this pastry for sausage rolls or hand pies.

Pre-baking

After 10 minutes of blind baking – if you are baking your filling, add it at this point

After 20 minutes of blind baking the crusts are golden and fully cooked