FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Fruit Mince Pies

Fruit Mince Pies for Christmas - Low FODMAP & Gluten Free - by Not From A Packet Mix

I’m so excited to share these pies with all of you, they have been a long time coming.

Mince pies (or mince tarts, whatever name you know then by) are a Christmas staple in many Aussie households – as well as many other places that were colonised by the British, I suppose. Every year, Mum would stock up with Bakers’ Delight mince pies as soon as they were available and we’d freeze a bunch so that we’d have them well past Christmas, we loved them so much. Unfortunately, though, I had to cut them out long ago due to the extreme amounts of dried fruits, and often apple, that were lurking inside their delicious pastry shells.

Well, not any more! These fruit mince pies are low FODMAP (according to Monash University ratings) in servings of two pies – you can read the FODMAP information for each ingredient in the FODMAP Notes section below. They are moist, sweet enough, with buttery pastry and just the right amount of spice to finish off your Christmas meal. Enjoy them with a cup of tea, some freshly made custard or FODMAP friendly vanilla ice cream.

Don’t be scared that there are vegetables in here (yes, I know, choko is actually a fruit); the carrot is a naturally sweet vegetable, especially when small and young and the chokos, while typically used as a vegetable and not very sweet themselves, are the perfect apple substitute in a lot of recipes. Combine them with low FODMAP amounts of nut meals, dried fruit (optional) and traditional spices and we have a Christmas classic made low FODMAP.

Merry Christmas guys! Enjoy your time with family and friends, whatever you celebrate and I’ll see you in the new year for more delicious low FODMAP cooking. Don’t forget to sign up to receive each new post by email.

Natty xoxo

FODMAP Notes

  1. Choko, aka chayote squash, is low FODMAP in 1/2 cup (84 g) serves and a perfect replacement for apples in cooking. When young, they are juicy and crisp. The amount per serving of these mince tarts is well below the top recommended safe serve.
  2. A note about the fruit content: if you look online, many blogs and websites warn you to stay completely away from dried fruits. However, if you check Monash University’s Low FODMAP App, this depends on the fruit. Also, if you find that you cannot have any dried fruit (even low FODMAP serves) in the beginning, you may find that, as you progress and your gut settles, you might be able to introduce them back into your diet in small quantities. The amount of dried fruit in this recipe, spread over many small mince pies, should be well tolerated according to Monash. If you can’t handle dried fruit yet, obviously either substitute in raspberries as instructed, or don’t eat them.
    • Dried cranberries are low FODMAP in 13 g/1 tbsp. serves – much less than this is in each serving of mince pie.
    • Sultanas are listed as containing high levels of excess fructose and fructans in 13 g/1 tbsp. serves. Monash University informed me, however, that 1 tsp. of sultanas should be tolerated by most, which means that the 1.3 g of sultanas in each pie (so 2.6 g/ approx. 1/2 tsp. per two pie serve) should be tolerated as well.
    • Raspberries are low FODMAP in 45 g serves, so will be okay in the amount per serve of pie.
    • Common bananas are still low FODMAP when ripe in servings of 100 g (approx. one medium fruit). Only 50 g is required for the entire recipe, so a serving of these pies will stay well under the maximum low FODMAP serving. Make sure you get the common variety, rather than sugar/lady finger bananas, which become high in excess fructose when ripe.
    • If you are on elimination, please discuss these options with your dietitian, as they might wish you to use the extra low FODMAP method, which is to substitute in raspberries, instead of sultanas. 
    • If you are more sensitive to dried fruit than Monash University recommendations, please substitute in raspberries (fresh or frozen) for the dried cranberries and banana for the sultanas/raisins.
  3. Carrots are low FODMAP in 61 g serves, which is about one medium carrot. Much less than this is in each serving.
  4. Almond meal is low FODMAP in 24 g serves – the 50 g called for in this recipe is divided between 18 serves (36 pies), so is well within safe limits.
  5. Desiccated coconut is low FODMAP in 18 g serves – much less than this is used per pie.
  6. Maple and golden syrup are sucrose based, thus have a fructose ratio of 1.0 and are safe low FODMAP sugars in the amounts called for per serving.
  7. Whisky and vodka are each low FODMAP in 30 ml serves. Traditionally, rum would be used but, as it contains excess fructose, these are both safer options. If you know you can tolerate tiny amounts of rum, feel free to sub it back in. This is not advised while you are on elimination.
  8. Lemon/orange juice and zest are low FODMAP in the amounts consumed per serve.
  9. The spices and vanilla extract included are all low FODMAP in the amount consumed per serve.
  10. Butter is very low in lactose and Monash University has listed the typical serve (19 g/1 tbsp.) to be low FODMAP. If you include both the pastry and filling in each two-pie serve, you will have approx. 1.5 tbsp. of butter. If you are very sensitive to lactose, simply substitute the butter in the pastry and/or filling for your favourite lactose free option, such as refrigerated coconut oil or a dairy free “butter” spread.
  11. Dextrose is a form of glucose and is the most fructose/FODMAP friendly sugar out there, with a fructose ratio of 0.0. By using it in this recipe, it will help to balance out any fructose present in the rest of the pies as well as in whatever meal you ate just beforehand (as long as they go through the stomach and small intestine together).

Fruit Mince Pies

Makes approx. 36 small pies | 18 low FODMAP serves

Pastry

Fruit Mince Filling

  • 160 g choko (approx. 1, aka chayote squash) or zucchini, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely grated
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) sultanas or very ripe mashed banana
  • 50 g (1/3 cup) dried cranberries or fresh/frozen raspberries
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) almond meal
  • 50 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened desiccated coconut shreds
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) pure maple syrup
  • 75 g (1/3 cup) dextrose powder
  • 1 tbsp. whisky or vodka
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Zest of 1/2 a lemon or 1 tsp. dried peel
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange or 1 tsp. dried peel
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 30 g melted unsalted butter
  • 1 pinch salt

To Serve

The day before baking, make the fruit mince filling by mixing all the ingredients together in a container, then put the lid on and store it in the fridge overnight. This allows the dried fruit to soak up the juices from the carrots and choko and lets the flavours meld together. It makes a huge difference in terms of flavour, so don’t skimp.

The pastry can also be made one day ahead, if you wish. If you are using my pie crust pastry, don’t store it in the fridge – instead, keep it wrapped in plastic wrap in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. If you put it in the fridge for more than 30 minutes, it will turn into a solid brick, as most gluten free pastries do, and will need to be re-hydrated once more with a little ice water and your stand mixer.

Pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease two small (24 hole) muffin pans.

On a pastry mat or a lightly floured bench, roll out your pastry until it is approx. 2-3 mm thick, then slice it into rectangles measuring 5 x 10 cm. Gently pick up each rectangle and line the muffin holes, trimming off the excess pastry as you go. Once all the muffin holes are lined and the pastry trimmed, re-roll the excess pastry and cut out little stars or leaves to top the pies.

Place the completed muffin trays into the freezer for 10-15 minutes, in the meantime clean your work space and get the fruit mincemeat filling out of the fridge.

Place approx. 1 1/2 tsp. of the fruit mince filling in each pie crust – they should be only slightly heaped, not overly full. Next, place a star or leaves on each pie and brush with your milk of choice.

Bake at 180 C for 15 minutes, until the stars toppers are slightly golden brown. Do not wait for them to turn a true golden brown as this often doesn’t happen with gluten free pastry and you’ll just end up over-cooking your pies.

Remove them from the oven and let them cool completely before you remove them from the muffin pans. If you are storing them, place them in an airtight container in the pantry for up to a week but they taste best if eaten in the first couple of days.

Lightly dust the pies with icing sugar or icing dextrose just before you serve them, then enjoy with your favourite vanilla bean custard or ice cream and a cup of tea or coffee.

IMG_9730IMG_9773

Advertisements

Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Shortbread Pastry - Gluten Free and FODMAP, Fructose Friendly

If you’re after a pastry that is quick and easy to whip up and not *too* fiddly (compared to typical gluten free pastry), then look no further. This slightly sweet, buttery and delightfully crumbly pastry will do the trick.

These tart shells will keep (once baked) in an airtight container in the pantry for about five days, before they start to go stale, so they are great to make ahead and then fill on the day you are planning to serve them.

I highly recommend this lemon curd or this passion fruit cream cheese as a filling. This pastry would also suit any Christmas style baking, as shortbread is definitely seasonally appropriate! I am working on a fructose friendly fruit mince pie recipe as we speak, so stay tuned…

Notes:

  1. Be sure that you use BOTH a gluten free flour blend (or spelt flour, if you can tolerate it) and white rice flour – both their properties are required in this recipe, so using 100% white rice flour wouldn’t give the best results.
  2. Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free biscuit.

Low FODMAP and Gluten Free Shortbread

Makes approx. 60 mini tartlet shells, or two 23 cm/9 in shells.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup white rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum or 1 tbsp. ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup gluten free flour blend and 1/2 cup white rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of gluten free flour blend and white rice flour, the xanthan gum (or ground chia seeds), baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes. Wrap the mixture tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before you want to bake them.

When you’re ready to bake, pre-heat your oven to 190 C/375 F and then generously flour your work area. Break the dough into 6 and sandwich it between two layers of wax paper. Roll it out to about 4 mm thick (for small tarts) or 6 mm thick (for full-sized tarts) and gently transfer it to your chosen tart pan/pie dish.

Baking:

  • To blind bake these miniature shells, cook at 190 C until lightly golden – this should take about 10-12 minutes; I normally set the timer for 10 minutes and then watch it for the next two. Cook larger shells for approx. 15 minutes, but keep an eye on them.
  • To bake with a filling in, blind bake for 3 minutes, then use the pastry according to the recipe you are following.

Gluten Free Shortbread Pastry Collage

If you baked your pastry with the filling inside, the tarts will be done when they are removed from the oven. Serve them as instructed.

If your pastry was blind baked until completely cooked, let them cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for up to five days and fill them with the topping of your choice when required.

WP_20140606_01_09_51_Pro

From left to right: lemon curd, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit cream cheese – all are delicious, though the lemon curd is my favourite. Enjoy!

WP_20140606_21_31_47_Pro

Peach Crumble – Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

Peach Crumble - Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly, Gluten Free & Vegan

I thank my lucky stars quite often that polyols don’t seem to affect me. Avocados, blackberries, peaches… I can still eat them all in reasonable amounts without making myself sick. I think I’ve had to give up enough, without resorting to cutting out those, as well. Of course, I realise that others have had to cut out much more than I – one of the reasons that I am so thankful. No matter how bad you or I may have it, someone else is always worse off.

This peach crumble came about because it’s summer, peaches are in season, I needed a dessert that I could make ahead of time and forget about, and peaches are delicious! A little prep work the day before you need this dessert and you can keep it in the fridge until 45 minutes before you need to bake it (your baking dish, if glass or ceramic, will need time to get back to room temperature before baking or you’ll most likely have a shattered crumble on your hands).

Also, I apologise for the grainy photos, I was using my phone camera.

Notes:

  1. All peaches contain sorbitol in large enough amounts to be considered high FODMAP (according to Monash University) but Clingstone and Yellow peaches are low in FOS, GOS and fructose in servings of one peach. White peaches, on the other hand, contain enough FOS to get a high rating for that FODMAP, as well as sorbitol, in servings of one peach. So, if you only have issues fructans, Clingstone and Yellow peaches are safe; if you have issues with sorbitol, peaches are not advised. I would stick to one slice of this crumble, so as not to over-do the fruit portion of your FODMAP bucket.
  2. Almonds are considered low FODMAP in servings of 10 nuts and high in GOS in servings of 20 nuts. The crumble topping in a single serve of pie doesn’t contain that many almonds, so should be safe – unless of course you have separate issues to almonds.
  3. Desiccated coconut is considered low FODMAP in servings of 1/4 cup and a moderate rating (overall) in servings of 1/2 cup; any more than that and sorbitol becomes an issue.
  4. Pure maple syrup is low FODMAP, watch out for any added ingredients that may cause digestive issues, such as polyols.
  5. This crumble is low in excess fructose, fructans/FOS, GOS, mannitol and lactose. It is not low in sorbitol.

Peach Crumble

Serves 10.

Fruit Filling

  • 6 large ripe peaches (yellow or cling)
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar or 1/3 cup dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. potato or corn starch
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves

Crumble Topping

  • 1 1/4 cups almond meal
  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour (or gluten free alternative)
  • 1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger

To peel the peaches, score four evenly spaced lines from top to bottom and place them in boiling water for 60 seconds, then strain them and dunk them into an ice bath for a further 60 seconds; the skins should peel right off. If all else fails, use a peeler.

Dice the peaches into bite-sized chunks (approx. 1.5-2 cm) and mix through the rest of the fruit filling ingredients, until well combined; dump the lot into a pie dish.

IMG_5863

To make the crumble topping, mix all the ingredients together, either by hand or in your food processor, until they begin to clump together. Easy! Cover the fruit evenly with the crumble mix and you’re ready to bake or store the pie before baking.

IMG_5865 IMG_5866

When you are ready to bake it, pre-heat your oven to 180 C/350 F and bake the crumble for 55-60 minutes, when the peaches should have cooked until soft and the topping browned nicely. If you notice that the crumble is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a sheet of foil to prevent further browning.

If I am serving this as a hot dessert at a dinner party, I put it in the oven as dinner is served, so we have an hour to eat dinner and digest/chat before the crumble is ready to eat. Serve with vanilla ice cream (vegan or lactose free if required), vanilla bean custard, coconut yoghurt (vegan) or plain Greek yoghurt. Enjoy!

IMG_5907

Spelt Shortbread Pastry – FODMAP & Fructose Friendly

WP_20131231_21_32_22_Pro

After discovering that I could tolerate spelt pasta, I looked into buying the flour to use in recipes in place of gluten free flours, for both price and performance reasons – although I have figured out my own gluten free flour blend, because I don’t want to push myself too much with spelt and rye flour in case I go too far. At approximately $3/lb the white spelt flour (Vita Spelt) from Amazon is much cheaper than pre-made gluten free flours, although the average of the flours that I bought to try out my own gluten free flour blend was about $2.50/lb, much better than King Arthur gluten free flour’s price of $7/lb!

After researching online, it appears that spelt tends to perform the same as wheat in most circumstances (breads might be a little tricky as spelt has different gluten than modern wheat) but a shortbread pastry shouldn’t pose a problem so I fructose friendlied up a shortbread pastry recipe from my Beechworth Bakery cookbook, Secrets of the Beechworth Bakery. My book is about ten years old, so I’m not sure what recipes are in the current edition. But if you can have spelt or are proficient at making normal recipes gluten free, I highly recommend it. If nothing else, it is an enjoyable read as the recipes are mixed up with some humorous stories.

Notes:

  1. Spelt is an ancient form of wheat, called Triticum aestivum subsp. spelta. It contains gluten, although the ratio of gliadin:glutenin is higher than that in normal wheat. It behaves in much the same way as modern wheat does in baking.
  2. Spelt contains gluten, so it is not suitable for those with coeliacs disease.
  3. Spelt does contain fructans, although less than modern wheat. It isn’t tolerated by every fructose malabsorber but there are quite a few out there, myself included luckily, who can eat it without issue in varying amounts. Unfortunately it is something you will have to test for yourself.
  4. I increased the ratio of rice flour to spelt in this recipe to lower the fructan content even more.
  5. If you can’t find white spelt flour, just buy whole spelt flour and sift out the whole grain bits.

Shortbread Pastry

Makes 80 mini tart shells that are approx. 4-5 cm in diameter.

  • 1 cup dextrose or 3/4 cup castor sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups/300 g softened unsalted butter/coconut butter
  • 3/4 cup white spelt flour
  • 1/2 cup rice flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup spelt flour
  • 1 cup rice flour
  • 1/2 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Sieve the sugar, 3/4 cup spelt flour and 1/2 cup rice flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and add in the butter, then beat on a low to medium speed until smooth.

Meanwhile, sieve the second cup each of spelt and rice flour, the xanthan gum, baking powder and salt into a separate bowl.

When the wet mixture is smooth, scrape down the edges and add in the egg. Beat on medium until it is smooth once more, before adding in the rest of the dry ingredients and mixing thoroughly for 5 minutes.

WP_20131230_00_53_58_Pro

Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour before rolling it out for use.

Preheat your oven to 190 C/375 F. Roll out the pastry dough; the thickness that you roll it out to will be determined by the diameter of your pie dish. For these mini tarts I kept it at about 3 mm thick but for a bigger tart I would probably go up to 5 mm thick. Grease your tart dish of choice and then carefully lay the pastry down.

IMG_4234 IMG_4235 IMG_4237

Blind bake the pastry (with baking paper and pie weights/uncooked rice). These small tart shells were perfect after 9 minutes in the oven but a larger tart shell might need a minute or two longer. As this is a biscuit pastry, you don’t want the shells to be completely firm when they come out of the oven or they will be like rocks when they have cooled. If they are slightly soft to the touch then they will cool down to be deliciously crumbly.

IMG_4240

Fill your tart shells with some delicious fillings. The photo below includes my fruit and custard, chocolate hazelnut and passion fruit blueberry fillings. The passion fruit filling is my personal favourite.

WP_20131231_21_32_53_Pro

Baked Peach in Puff Pastry – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Baked Peach in Puff Pastry

While looking through the masses of photos I have taken of meals that we’ve cooked, doing a bit of a sort out to see if I’d missed posting anything – I had, quite a few things actually – I came across this peach dessert. While I love autumn/winter weather, I do miss the cheap and plentiful fruit that is available over spring and summer and looking at this just made me sigh. During the winter I have to survive on bananas and oranges, which get very boring after a while. Seeing all of those beautiful, shiny apples just rubs it in even more!

Towards the end of summer, I had a couple of peaches that needed to go. I was about to slice them into wedges and whip some cream when I remembered that I had some puff pastry left over in the fridge, which reminded me of this post on ‘The Orgasmic Chef’ that I had seen a few weeks earlier. After quickly informing Ev that dessert would be in about 30 minutes, rather than straight away, I whipped out the pastry and began rolling.

Notes:

  1. The pastry contains butter, thus a little bit of lactose.
  2. Peaches contain polyols, so if you malabsorb those then this won’t be suitable. If you are like me and only have to worry about fructose/fructans then go right ahead.

Baked Peach in Puff Pastry

  • About a 1/3 cup sized lump of gluten free puff pastry – sorry for the dodgy measurement!
  • 2 whole, fresh peaches – I prefer yellow
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. dextrose/castor sugar
  • 1 tsp. groung nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 190 C/375 F.

Roll the pastry out until it’s about 5 mm thick and slice it into four quarters. Slice the peaches in half and remove the stone; if you would like to, you can peel the peach but I was in a hurry to eat dessert!

Place each peach half flat side down on a chopping board and cover it with the puff pastry. Smoosh the joins together so that the peach’s curved part is completely enveloped and trim the excess from the edges. Repeat for all for peach halves.

WP_20131010_011 WP_20131010_012

Sprinkle the spice/sugar mix on a plate and gently pick up the covered peach half and place it on the plate to coat the bottom in the spices before carefully placing it on a lined baking tray. Do this for all four peach halves before sprinkling the left over spice mix on top of the pastry.

WP_20131010_014 WP_20131010_015

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is completely cooked and a light golden brown. Let the peaches cool for about 10 minutes before moving them to the serving dishes with a spatula – to prevent them from slipping out of the pastry shells. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or vanilla bean custard… and enjoy! I think the simplicity of this dessert adds to its deliciousness and value. They also taste just as good reheated the next day.

WP_20131010_021 WP_20131010_025

Miniature Raspberry and Rhubarb Pies – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Miniature Raspberry and Rhubarb Pies

think you might have gathered by now that I am a fan of raspberry and rhubarb. It has replaced my pre-fruct mal love of apple and rhubarb and – this could just be a change in taste buds talking – I think I like it even more.

I especially like that these pies intentionally looks “rustic,” so if you mess them up a little it doesn’t matter. Perfect! The downside is that if you are like me and have no choice but to make your own pastry, it isn’t such a quick dessert, it requires planning. The pastry should really be made the day before, as well as the filling.The upside of this is that just before they need to be baked (or an hour or two before) you can just throw the ingredients together – the assembly is dead simple.

Notes:

  1. Raspberries and rhubarb are both low FODMAP fruits.
  2. If you cannot tolerate lactose, this pastry might not be suitable for you. Butter is lower in lactose than the cream from which it’s made, as lactose is water soluble and butter is mostly lipids; however, lactose is still present.
  3. If you cannot tolerate maple syrup, you could substitute it for rice syrup etc.

Miniature Raspberry and Rhubarb Pies

Makes approx. 24 pies, depending on the size of your muffin tins and how thinly you roll your pastry.

Pastry

Filling

  • 3 large stalks of rhubarb, diced finely
  • 2 1/2 cups raspberries – fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup dextrose
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Assembly

  • 12 hole muffin tin x 2
  • 1/4 cup icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk or egg wash

Follow the linked instructions for the GF puff pastry preparation and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it. Follow the instructions for my Gran’s stewed raspberry and rhubarb in cooking the filling, just adding maple syrup instead of water. The longer it simmers for on a low heat, the thicker and more flavourful the filling will be. An hour is a good amount of time, at least; rhubarb takes a while to soften properly.

Once you are ready to make the pies, let the pastry sit at room temperature for 15 minutes to make it easier to work with. Preheat the oven to 180 C/350 F.

Roll the pastry out in as square a shape as possible, to just under 5 mm thick. Too think and the pastry takes too long to cook, not thick enough and it tears more easily, leading to the pies sticking in the muffin pans. Oh yes, before I forget, go ahead and grease those muffin pans well, in case of seepage. Back to the pastry. Slice your big square into 12 x 12 cm squares, and gently press those down into the muffin tins, leaving space between the pies as required by the pan you have.

WP_20131006_019

Fill the pastry with 2-3 heaped tbsp. of raspberry/rhubarb mix – this may differ, again depending on the size of your muffin tins. Fold the flaps together and pinch them shut as neatly as possibly. Brush with an egg wash or milk to help with browning.

WP_20131006_020 WP_20131006_022

Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is a nice golden brown colour. Let them sit in the muffin tins for 10 minutes before removing and placing them on a cooling rack, although they are best served warm.

Just before you are ready to serve, dust with icing sugar and whip some cream to serve alongside. Vanilla ice cream or vanilla bean custard would also work well. Most importantly, enjoy!

IMG_3929 IMG_3931 WP_20131007_005

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.

IMG_3845

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.

IMG_3848 IMG_3849

IMG_3853

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.

IMG_3867

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

WP_20131007_005