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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.
- 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.
- Spelt contains gluten, so it is not suitable for those with coeliacs disease.
- 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.
- I increased the ratio of rice flour to spelt in this recipe to lower the fructan content even more.
- If you can’t find white spelt flour, just buy whole spelt flour and sift out the whole grain bits.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As I mentioned in my last post, I received a pretty amazeballs Christmas present this year… an ice cream maker!
I couldn’t wait to try it but we were so busy between Chrissy and New Years that I didn’t get a chance until a couple of days ago. So on the 2nd of January – after we’d spent New Year’s day recovering – I busted out the egg yolks and quickly realised I didn’t have nearly enough milk or cream, so off to the supermarket I popped. I also came back with a selection of gluten free flours to experiment with making my own flour blend but more on that later!
I am so stoked to be able to make my own ice creams and sorbets; firstly because I love knowing exactly what is in the food I’m eating without spending an eternity reading labels – which I have to do each time because there is no such thing as a FODMAP label in the USA and ingredients change – and secondly because I won’t have to pay for expensive “quality” ice cream.
This ice cream tasted like custard the first day (churning day), although there’s nothing wrong with that and then settled into a nice vanilla flavour by the second night. Ev’s brother approves – he was on his third bowl (at least) by the end of the second night but it was him who bought it for me… now I know why!
- I used normal milk and cream in this recipe but you can sub in lactose free cow’s milk and cream (milk with lactase added – I don’t know how other milk alternatives would perform, sorry).
- You can either use half and half in the first part of this recipe or equal proportions of milk and cream that add up to the same volume of half and half called for.
- Apparently 100% vanilla extract works better than vanilla essence or natural vanilla flavourings in ice cream recipes, as it doesn’t affect the freezing process.
- It is normal for the mixture to resemble soft serve post churning and an hour or two in the freezer should firm it up to normal ice cream texture.
- Ambient room temperature can affect your ice cream – wrapping a foil funnel over the top of the maker (if, like mine, it doesn’t come with a lid) can help to insulate the freeze bowl contents against the warm air.
- If you have a freeze bowl like mine, it needs to be frozen solid (this takes 24 hours) between batches.
- Apparently – and I haven’t tried this, only read it – a tsp. or two of vodka in the mix will prevent it from becoming too solid in the freezer after it has been churned. I know vodka doesn’t freeze, so this makes sense – but I wouldn’t do it the first time I made something in case it didn’t need it.
Vanilla Ice Cream
- 300 ml double cream
- 300 ml milk – or 600 ml half and half to replace milk and cream
- 8 egg yolks – the fresher the better, old egg taste can come through in custards and ice creams
- 1 cup dextrose – or castor sugar
- 600 ml double cream
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- Optional – 1/2 a vanilla bean, split
- Optional – 3/4 cup finely chopped frozen berries or choc chips.
Combine the 300 ml each of milk and double cream (or 600 ml half and half) in a medium saucepan and heat over a medium flame until it is just about to boil. Don’t actually boil it and remove it from the heat once it is done. For a more intense flavour, add in the split half vanilla bean at this stage.
While that is heating, keep an eye on it as you separate 8 egg yolks and whites. Save the eggs whites to make an omelette, fritatta or a Pavlova and place the eggs in the normal mixing bowl of your stand mixer; add in the dextrose and mix on a low speed until the egg yolks and sugar have combined into a smooth, slightly fluffy yellow mixture.
At this point, slowly pour the milk/cream mixture (minus the vanilla bean) into the egg/sugar mixture and continue mixing on a low speed to prevent the hot liquid from cooking a portion of the eggs. Once it is combined, return the mixture and vanilla bean to the medium saucepan and heat it until little bubbles begin to form at the edges – this means that it is just beginning to boil. You don’t want it to fully boil or the egg yolks in the mixture will scramble and you’ll get lumpy ice cream.
Once the bubbles have formed, remove it form the heat and add in the second lot of cream, the vanilla and salt. Mix well to combine. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it over night (or equivalent) so that the mixture is completely chilled before you begin to churn it. Freezing the mixture for an hour before churning is supposed to increase the efficacy of bowl ice cream makers but I haven’t tried it – maybe next time. If you leave the vanilla bean in all this time and remove it before churning, the ice cream should have a really intense vanilla flavour. Of course, you can remove it at any stage prior to churning that you like.
Set up your ice cream maker according to its instruction manual and begin churning on a “stir” speed or equivalent low speed on your model. Pour in the ice cream batter and make the foil funnel (described in the notes section above) if required. Churn the mixture for 20-30 minutes, at which point it should resemble a soft serve consistency; if you want to add in frozen berries or choc chips, pour them in during the last 5 minutes of churning – the colder the better.
Now pour the ice cream into a freezer safe container with an air tight lid – I use a large loaf tin with plastic wrap and a rubber band – and freeze for 1-2 hours, until the ice cream has firmed up to a normal consistency.
I needed to let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 5 minutes on the second night before I scooped it as it was quite firm – this might just be our freezer being overly cold, though. Or maybe the plastic wrap/elastic band combo wasn’t the best method to keep the loaf tin air tight but it was all I had at the time – all of our snap ware was still in the dishwasher from the New Year’s eve left overs.
Serve with toppings of your choice. I couldn’t say no to the last few fresh berries that we had left over from the trio of tartlets that I made on New Year’s Eve.
Enjoy! Next up I’m planning a coconut cream based recipe for those who malabsorb lactose… and myself. Who am I kidding? I love coconut.
Berries are still in season and cheap! Woohoo!
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!
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.
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.
Pour in the berry filling and let it cool a little while you are preparing the crumble topping.
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.
Bake for 30 minutes at 180 C/350 F.
Serve with whipped cream, cream, ice cream or a vanilla bean custard. Garnish with mint leaves or some more fresh berries and enjoy.
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.