Huckleberry Slice – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

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Huckleberries are pretty exclusive to the Pacific Northwest and few months back I was lucky enough to inherit a bag of frozen huckleberries that a friend had picked last summer but couldn’t take with her when she moved back to Georgia. I say lucky, because they grow in mountainous regions and are usually handpicked. They look like mini blueberries and (to me) taste like blueberries with a citrus twist.

They had been sitting in the freezer since March and they were really beginning to bug me. Why wasn’t I proactive enough to thaw them out and actually do something with them? We have a tiny freezer, well in proportion with our “closet kitchen” and space is precious with a capital P.

Finally I decided what I would do: when we were back in Australia this Easter, my little sister made me a raspberry slice that she very kindly altered to be fructose friendly. It was delicious, and I especially liked the almond meal base.

I figured that huckleberries, with their slight citrus tang, would go nicely with the maple syrup in the almond meal slice. Not knowing the recipe that Lisa used, I altered my almond meal pastry recipe slightly to suit.

Almond Slice Base

  • 2 cups almond meal
  • 4 tbsp. coconut butter/unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 egg

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F. Hand or stand mix all of the above ingredients until they are thoroughly combined. Adjust the mixture with more almond meal if it’s too runny or more maple syrup or butter if it’s too dry. It should be tacky and easily moldable – not dry/crumbly or too sloppy.

Line a 9″ square cake pan/casserole dish with baking paper and press the mixture evenly across the dish and into the corners.

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until it is slightly firm to the touch.

Huckleberry Topping

  • 2 cups huckleberries (or other berries of your choice, fresh or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup shredded desiccated coconut – swap for slivered nuts of your choice if coconut is problematic for you

Simmer the berries and maple syrup for 20-30 minutes, until the berries have burst, let their juices out and the mixture has begun to thicken. You could cheat a little here and add some corn starch dissolved in a tsp. of water but we don’t want starchy flavours in this.

Pour the mixture on top of the semi-baked slice base and top with the shredded coconut/slivered nuts. Return to the oven and continue baking for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven when topping is slightly firmed and then allow it to cool. The slice will continue to firm up with cooling and is best eaten after at least 3-4 hours. You could eat it straight away, of course – but you’ll probably require a spoon.

Here is the slice post baking.

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Serving it is as easy as letting it cool then slicing it into 2.5 x 5 cm sections and plating them up.

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The edge pieces were nearly all stained dark blue but the inner pieces had a clear definition between slice base and topping.

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Enjoy with freshly whipped cream, ice cream, vanilla bean custard, tea or coffee. Once sliced, these would also make a handy and nutritious snack on the go or a morning tea to have at work/school.

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Mixed Berry Crumble – Low Fructose & Gluten Free

Berries are still in season and cheap! Woohoo!

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I’m enjoying the on again, off again summer weather we are having. At least the on again part. It reminds me of Melbourne so much it’s creepy.

I always make the most of summer, when I am not just restricted to bananas, kiwi fruits and oranges. Does anybody else get annoyed with seasonal changes in foods that mean we have cop both the exorbitant fees for the fruits we can eat as well as the tempting aromas of apple pies and pear tarts over winter? It’s so unfair!

*End rant.*

Growing up, one of my favourite desserts was apple and raspberry crumble. I’m sure I still would love it, if it wasn’t for all the fructose lurking within. I’ve been thinking about making a blackberry crumble for a week or so now and after I stocked up on blackberries, I really didn’t have an excuse anymore. So…

Let’s get ready to CRUMBLE!!!!!

I’m sorry for that.

Mixed Berry Crumble

  • 1/2 cup/120 g butter/coconut butter
  • 1 cup GF oats
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup dextrose
  • 2-3 tspn. cinnamon (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. desiccated coconut
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 tspn. vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the berries (4 cups in total, you can choose your mix) and the vanilla extract and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes. Mash them until they are 50% pureed and let the mixture reduce for the rest of the half hour.

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Lightly butter a 10 inch pie dish and if you have an uber cute pie bird, pop it in there. They are supposed to let out steam as the pie cooks, thus ensuring you don’t have a runny filling. They’re more for proper pies that are sealed in pastry – preventing steam from escaping – but I couldn’t wait to use mine, so I did.

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Pour in the berry filling and let it cool a little while you are preparing the crumble topping.

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Put the butter, oats, almond meal, cinnamon and dextrose in a food processor and mix until combined. Or you could mix by hand if you wanted to, it would just take a lot longer. If you choose the latter method, make sure you combine all the ingredients thoroughly by pinching/smooshing them together.

Tear the crumble mix apart and spread it over the top of the slightly cooled berries. Sprinkle with desiccated coconut. If you have a massive sweet tooth, the 1/4 cup dextrose might not be enough. You can always add more dextrose/sugar to your own taste.

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Bake for 30 minutes at 180 C/350 F.

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Serve with whipped cream, cream, ice cream or a vanilla bean custard. Garnish with mint leaves or some more fresh berries and enjoy.

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A note on the ingredients:

  • Blackberries have sorbitol in them. If you are sensitive to polyols (the P in FODMAPS) then it would be best to sub in a different berry type.
  • Oats are naturally gluten free but are often contaminated with gluten from the equipment they are processed on. Some Coeliacs are able to cope with GF oats but some are so sensitive that they will still react. If you are also avoiding gluten, just take that into account and maybe substitute oats for a GF rice porridge mix or a different GF cereal.

Peanut Banana Blueberry Smoothie – Low Fructose

The sun we have been having lately (that has disappeared again since Saturday but should be back on Wednesday!) put me in a summery frame of mind, which means one thing. Smoothies for breakfast.

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I just hope our downstairs neighbour forgives me for having the blender on in the morning… but considering the noise her family makes, she really shouldn’t complain. Anyone who has stayed with us can attest to that!

Pre-FM, I would have added honey to any smoothie I made but now that I have to watch my fructose load that isn’t the case.

I like the nutty flavour that peanut butter gives to this smoothie but you have to be careful to watch for added sugars in things like peanut butter, especially in America. Also, if you are conscious about where your food comes from, look out for Palm Oil, which is typically from an unsustainable source.

My peanut butter just contains peanuts and a little salt. The fewer ingredients, the better. I should really try and make it one day. Peanuts are great for your health in moderation – because they are quite calorie dense – yet full of vitamins, minerals, proteins and even oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) which has been shown to reduce your LDL (bad) cholesterol.

Purple Smoothie

  • 1/3 medium banana
  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 3/4 cup milk/almond milk if you can’t have lactose/dairy
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Blend all the ingredients til the ice is smooth and the fruits are combined. Maybe 45 seconds. Pour into your favourite glass. This makes either one very generous serving or two normal servings.

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If you like your smoothies thicker, add more ice or less milk. If you like them runnier, add more milk or less ice.

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I love our new blender for this; our old blender couldn’t handle ice and would leave chunks, so our smoothies would be gritty… yuck. But that’s what you get for buying an $8 blender.

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Mixed Berry Clafoutis – Fructose Friendly

I love French pastries. LOVE them. And when I heard about a French pastry that requires basically no effort, I had to try it. I looked at a few recipes but decided to just go with the basic one to begin with. Next time I will definitely try adding some lemon zest or substituting almond meal and possibly research a few other alterations but this one was pretty delicious as is. And, even better, it is basically fool-proof.

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Just a word of warning, the pictures will show cherries in there. I am currently testing them to see how I react to sorbitol. When I was diagnosed seven (!!!) years ago, I was only told about fructose and fructans, so I am now beginning to test myself out on polyols. I already know that too much lactose can make me symptomatic but that requires a lot (like a huge milkshake) and doesn’t happen often, if ever. I mostly drink almond milk now, anyway.

Mixed Berry Clafoutis

  • Butter to grease your cake pan/pie dish
  • 1 tbsp. castor sugar (or glucose powder)
  • 300 g/10 oz mixed berries/fruits you can eat
  • 1/3 cup GF plain flour
  • 1/3 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp. bicarb soda
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup icing sugar (and a little extra to dust before serving if you wish)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup double/heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest (to try next time)

Preheat oven to 160 C/325 F. Grease a 9″ round baking dish and sprinkle it with the castor sugar and mixed berries – the berries will rise to the top when the clafoutis is baked.

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In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and put aside – if you want to try the lemon zest, add it here. In a small bowl, combine the eggs, cream and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Make a well in the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet, while beating. Continue to mix until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the mixture over the fruit and then make sure the fruit is evenly spread around the dish.

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Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes; turn the oven off and let it cool down in the oven to prevent it from sinking.

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Serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream.

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See, I told you it was easy.

It tastes like a warm, custardy tart minus the shell. Essentially the flour you mix through allows the otherwise custard mix to form a a base as it cooks. Be careful when you flip it out. A spring form cake tin would really be best, or a ceramic tart dish that you intend to serve it in.

Have fun!

Passion Fruit & Blueberry Tartlets – Fructose Friendly

Passion fruit & blueberry tartlets - delicious!

I think you might have gathered by now that I love passion fruit and I’m shattered that it’s so hard to find up here in the Pacific Northwest. But thanks to my Australian connections, I have a small stash of the canned pulp at my disposal. I’m not joking; it’s very small. I have three cans left that are about 4 oz each. I made one can last a month by using it sparingly in and on desserts – a little goes a long way.

Ev and I had some friends over for dinner on Friday night, and I wanted to make something new for dessert. Chocolate eclairs had to be on the list but I have made so many Pavlovas recently (I can see some people nodding) that I felt the need for a change.

I wanted whatever I would make to be small and pretty; small because we already had eclairs on the menu and pretty because I like looking at what I’m about to eat 😛

I had a few tablespoons of passion fruit pulp left over that needed to be used before we go home to visit for two weeks and an 8 oz pack of cream cheese. So I knew whatever it would be would have passion fruit cream cheese icing either in or on it… which is my favourite icing ever.

Eventually I decided on passion fruit cream cheese fruit tartlets with blueberries on top. That’s a pretty good mix of fruit to me. Here are the recipes for the different components used in making them.

GF Sour Cream Pastry:

This recipe is shown in more detail here. 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. Makes 24 mini tart shells/tartlets.

  • 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.

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. 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.

Cut pastry ball in quarters. 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 slice it into six roughly even pieces. Peel each piece off the wax paper gently and then 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 to prevent bubbling while baking and bake it at 200 C for 10 minutes. Set a timer. Remove the baking paper and pie weights and return the pastry to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. When it is golden brown, it is completely cooked.

Place them in their pans on a cooling rack for 15 minutes and them remove from the pans and cool completely.

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The cooked tartlet shells – unfortunately my oven developed a hot spot at the back left corner. As you can see, the not-so-pretty shells are hidden in the middle. They still tasted fine.

Passion Fruit Cream Cheese Filling:

  • 300 g/10 oz full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 4 tbsp. passion fruit pulp
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups icing sugar

Beat the cream cheese, butter, passion fruit pulp and vanilla extract together until they are light and fluffy.

Gradually add the icing sugar, beating each portion til it is well combined. The amount listed is a guideline only, you might have a sweet tooth and want to put in the full 2 cups.

As one of our guests pointed out, the “tartness” that passion fruit can sometimes bring to a meal wasn’t present here. I think that it’s due to a combination of using canned passion pulp as well as the generous amount of icing sugar involved.

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Assembly:

It couldn’t be more simple. Dollop a generous amount of the cream cheese mixture into the tartlet shells and decorate with blueberries.

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I decided after a little while that they needed a little extra something, so I picked some mint leaves from our herb garden and used it as a garnish. It made the blueberries look a little like a flower, which was nice.

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Dust with icing sugar closer to when you serve, or it will absorb moisture over time and you will lose some of the “powdered” look.

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Served with gluten free/fructose friendly chocolate eclairs for dessert.

Finally, eat and enjoy!

Banana Cake – Low FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Please view this recipe, “Banana Cake – Low FODMAP & Gluten Free,” at it’s new location on The Friendly Gourmand.

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