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.

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FODMAP Friendly Christmas Recipe – Spiced Gingerbread Cake (also Gluten Free & Dairy Free)

Spiced Gingerbread Cake - FODMAP friendly, gluten free and dairy free - Copy (2)

Christmas is fast approaching – the last time I checked, it was the start of November and I was still comfortably in my mid-twenties. I’m now what most people would call “mid to late” twenties and it’s scaring the hell out of me! Where does the time go – and can I rewind it please? While I sit here and panic not-so-silently, I’ll take the opportunity to share a new recipe for a cake that is a combination of my two favourite Christmas desserts: gingerbread and plum pudding. I don’t think you could get a more Christmas appropriate low FODMAP recipe, if you tried.

But first of all, merry Christmas! Or rather the all encompassing term I heard a couple of years ago: Happy Chrismakwanzakah!

Secondly, I am a HUGE fan of fruit cakes and puddings – I absolutely love them. If there were Beliebers for fruit cakes, I’d be right at the front, wearing a t-shirt and screaming my heart out… but, by some cruel twist of fate (damn you, GLUT-5 fructose transporters), if I was to have a slice now, I’d probably have to down a glass of glucose syrup afterwards to ward off any reactions – which is not a healthy thing to do.

As for gingerbread, it’s quite easily made gluten free and low FODMAP, the instructions for which can be found here.

For me, Christmas is all about food and family. It’s just a pity that so many traditional Christmas desserts aren’t easily adaptable to a low FODMAP diet, as they rely so heavily on fruits higher in fermentable carbohydrates. It’s also especially hard being literally half way around the world from the rest of my family at this time of year but it’s alright… I never cook alone. Or eat alone. Or unwrap my presents without an audience, because every dog knows that the rustling of paper and plastic equals treats.

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Obviously, a proper plum pudding/Christmas pudding/cake would not be FODMAP friendly. In fact, I don’t know if even the best chef in the world could turn a recipe that asked for ONE KILOGRAM of dried fruit per cake into a low FODMAP recipe. Seriously – challenge issued to anyone out there. Jamie Oliver? Stephanie Alexander? Helloooooooooo?

I made this spiced gingerbread cake for Christmas 2014 at a friend’s house. After the flop that was the gingerbread house I had made the year earlier (apparently nobody else liked gingerbread), I decided to tone down the ginger and amp up the other spices, to give it a more well-rounded Christmas taste. In all seriousness, I also wanted to challenge myself a little last year, knowing that my Friendsmas hosts were going all out to make the meal Nat-friendly (thanks Kendal and Raymond, much appreciated), so I decided to add in just a little dried fruit to this cake, in the spirit of festiveness and, really, because whiskey and sultanas need no explanation.

FODMAP Notes

  1. Whiskey is low FODMAP in 30 ml servings.
  2. Sultanas (aka raisins for those in the USA) are tricky. Grapes are low FODMAP in quite generous servings but the drying process means that the amount of sugar per volume of the grape (now sultana) increases. Monash University lists sultanas (very similar to raisins) as high FODMAP even in 1 tbsp. serves. The 1/4 cup of sultanas called for in this recipe, when divided by 12 (the number of servings it makes), means you will get 1 tsp. of sultanas per slice. As a safety measure, the added dextrose should help to balance out the concentrated sucrose but you can always leave them out if you are on elimination or know you react/for peace of mind.
  3. Dried cranberries are a low FODMAP alternative to sultanas, they are safe in 1 tbsp. serves and contain moderate amounts of fructans in 2 tbsp. serves.
  4. Coconut oil contains no carbohydrates, so is low FODMAP.
  5. All the sweeteners used are FODMAP friendly, the dextrose should balance out the extra fructose from the brown sugar (minute amounts) and the extra sucrose from the sultanas.
  6. Make sure your vanilla extract contains no high FODMAP additives.
  7. Use your favourite gluten free plain flour blend, or a self raising blend and omit the baking powder. Spelt flour is low FODMAP enough for some fructose malabsorbers but not for all – it is also NOT gluten free, as it is an ancient variety of wheat. Use what you feel comfortable with, as this cake batter performs equally well with either flour.
  8. Chia seeds are low FODMAP but still a great source of fibre and other nutrients. They work well as a xanthan gum replacement, for those sensitive to gums. If you only have xanthan gum, feel free to use that.
  9. The spices are all low FODMAP.
  10. Coconut milk (watered down coconut cream) is low FODMAP in 1/4 cup servings, which would be adhered to unless you ate 1/5 of this cake in a sitting.
  11. If you are still in the elimination phase of the low FODMAP diet, don’t include the optional sultanas/raisins or whiskey.

Spiced Gingerbread Cake

Serves 12-14.

Cake

  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, softened
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or rice malt syrup
  • 1/4 cup castor sugar
  • 2 tbsp. dextrose
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 500 g gluten free plain flour or spelt flour (not gluten free, omit chia or xanthan gum)
  • 1 tbsp. chia meal or 3/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 3 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Zest of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • Optional: 1/4 cup sultanas or up to 1/2 cup of dried cranberries soaked in 1/8 cup whiskey for 4 hours

Royal Icing

  • 1 egg white
  • 1-1 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Decorations

  • Nonpareils (the edible silver balls)
  • Strawberries or fruit of choice

At least four hours before you plan to make the cake, start soaking the sultanas or dried cranberries in whiskey. This is an optional step, you can omit the sultanas if they trigger your IBS, or swap in the dried cranberries.

Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F and grease your bundt pan, grease and line your 20 cm/9 in cake tin, or line your 12-hole muffin tin with patty pans.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add in the coconut oil, maple syrup, castor sugar, dextrose and brown sugar and beat for 1 minute at a low speed, followed by 2 minutes on high. Stop, add in the eggs and vanilla extract, then continue to mix for another minute at a medium speed. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sieve the flour of your choice, chia meal (if using gluten free flour), ground spices and salt and roughly mix them together.

Get the coconut milk ready and then alternate adding thirds of the dry mix and the milk and mixing, until everything is used. If you feel the batter is too runny, don’t use all the milk – coconut milks don’t have a uniform consistency, unfortunately, so yours may be different than mine.

Mix the freshly squeezed orange juice, white wine vinegar and baking powder together and quickly pour it into the cake batter, then mix on high for 30 seconds. Next, add in orange zest and the optional sultanas/dried cranberries and whiskey and mix through until combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared cake tin and bake according to the instructions below.

Baking instructions:

  • Bundt pan – bake at 180 C/350 F for 45-50 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Round tin – bake at 180 C/350 F for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.
  • Muffin tin – makes 12, bake at 180 C/350 F for 15-18 minutes, or until a centre muffin tests clean with a skewer. Remove from the oven and let come to room temperature.

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Once the cake has cooled, flip it out onto your serving dish of choice and make the royal icing.

Beat the egg white until it forms a soft peak (it will look like sea-foam), then slowly add in the sieved icing sugar, until the batter just begins to form stiff peaks. If you add in too much, the icing will be quite stiff and harder to spread – this quality is great when you want to pipe fine details, like on gingerbread biscuits but not when you want to spread the icing easily over an entire cake.

When your icing is ready, immediately ice your cake and sprinkle with the nonpareils, or decorations of your choice. Royal icing dries very quickly when exposed to air, so it becomes rough, harder to spread and less sticky for your decorations. It will keep well for up to one week in an airtight container in the fridge.

This cake can be made a day or two in advance, just ice it no earlier than the night before you want to serve it. Enjoy this cake with freshly made warm vanilla bean custard, vanilla ice cream, lactose free yoghurt or fresh FODMAP friendly fruit. Merry Christmas!

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Miniature Pavlovas – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Miniature Pavlovas - FODMAP, Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Ignore the dietary guidelines that these Pavs suit in the title… these are not  a health food.

I didn’t think it was possible to love a dessert more than I love a good Pav but I found one. I suppose it might not really count, as these are still Pavlovas… but they’re mini, cute and you don’t feel like such a guts after eating one, as I find it easier to have just one of these than to cut a small slice from a big Pav.

Sweet, with a crispy outside and a perfect marshmallowy inside… what more could you want? Whipped cream and fruit on top? Of course you can.

These are perfect for a dinner party or a high tea (I really want to host one of those!), as you can bake them a day ahead and store them (once cooled) in an airtight container in a cool, dark place (aka. the pantry). They will turn a little soft in the fridge (though they still taste amazing) but once the whipped cream has gone on, that’s where they need to be stored.

Notes:

  1. Sucrose (castor sugar) is 1:1 fructose/glucose but if eaten in excess can overwhelm the co-transport method of fructose absorption, so for this reason I would recommend stopping yourself at one mini Pav per day. Which even normal people should do, really.
  2. Normal double cream can be swapped out for lactose free double cream or full fat coconut cream (both of which can be whipped) or lactose free yoghurt.
  3. Two raspberries and 1-2 tbsp. of strawberry sauce would fall within the label of a “single serving” of fruit.

Miniature Pavlovas

Makes approx. 16

  • 4 eggs whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn or potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 300 ml double cream – lactose free if required
  • Fruit of your choice to top

Pre-heat the oven to 150 C/300 F.

In a cool, airy kitchen (no dishwasher running!) beat together the egg whites and salt on a medium speed for 2 minutes, then a high speed for a further 3 minutes, or until satiny peaks form.

Then add in the sugar (in thirds) and beat on a high speed until stiff peaks form. This is important, as you need the batter to hold its shape or it will just pool once you’ve piped it onto the baking tray.

Finally, add in the potato starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and stir on a slow speed for a minute to combine everything.

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Transfer the mixture to a piping bag (or a large zip lock bag with a 1 cm snip off the corner) and pipe about 1/3 cup batter in a swirl onto the baking tray. As Ev said, they will look like Pavlova dog poo – have a laugh and keep going. I spaced mine evenly and had eight mini Pavs per baking tray.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 150 C/300 F, swapping the bottom/top trays half way through to ensure equal cooking.

Once they have cooled, top with whipped cream and berries and serve with this strawberry sundae sauce or passion fruit pulp drizzled over the top.

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Summer has officially hit Seattle! Here are 25 Summer-approved low FODMAP recipes.

Whether you’re soaking up the sun like Bailey, or you’re more of a Nellie and prefer to relax in the shade, I hope you’re enjoying this amazing Pacific Northwest weather! We’re experiencing crazy hot temperatures – for Seattle – this year and some of us are loving it…. some, not so much.

Unfortunately for Nellie, we think the heat might be a trigger for her epilepsy. At the very least, she doesn’t cope well above 25 C/80 F, the poor thing; she’s a lot like Evgeny (cue fur joke). Bailey and I, on the other hand, don’t really consider this as “hot” weather, it still seems more like late Spring weather to us, than high Summer. Yes, I realise I just put words in my dog’s mouth. Also, check out our Facebook page for a cute little video of Nellie Belly getting her den just so. It’s been so hot that she had to dig down to find the cool/damp soil.

Baily, rolling in the sun

Nellie, shade

In honour of this hot weather – and also to make my Mum jealous, as she suffers through Melbourne’s “freezing” temperatures (her words, not mine) – here are some good looking, low FODMAP recipes that are also appropriate for summer.

Salads, Snacks & Meals

  1. Ceviche – Not From A Packet Mix
  2. Grilled tofu salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Seared rainbow trout in white wine – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Strawberry salad, with a maple lemon vinaigrette – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Sushi, Gunkan, Maki rolls, Nigiri – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Toasted almond and cranberry salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Warm salmon salad – Not From A Packet Mix
  8. Balsamic chicken salad with strawberries –  – from Delicious As It Looks
  9. Carrot and coriander soup – from She Can’t Eat What?
  10. Greek pasta salad – from Thrifty Kitchen
  11. Grilled Rosemary Salmon – from Delicious As It Looks
  12. Rainbow salad – from Fructopia

Sweets

  1. Baked peach in puff pastryNot From A Packet Mix
  2. Banana “ice cream” – Not From A Packet Mix
  3. Chia seed puddings, chocolate, coconut and strawberry (coming soon) – Not From A Packet Mix
  4. Classic vanilla ice cream – Not From A Packet Mix
  5. Dark chocolate tofu mousse – Not From A Packet Mix
  6. Pavlova – Not From A Packet Mix
  7. Blueberry ice cream – from Savory Lotus
  8. Chocolate Frosty – from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth
  9. Coconut melon ice cream lollies – from Squashablanca
  10. Frozen yoghurt trail mix bars – from The Lean Green Bean
  11. Lemon mousse – from No Sugarless Gum
  12. No-bake cheesecakes in jars – from Amelia (use Google translate)
  13. Rhubarb pie ice cream – from No Sugarless Gum

Stay cool, everyone!

What does an Aussie take to a 4th of July BBQ?

Fourth of July Pavlova

When I was asked to bring dessert to an Independence Day barbeque, I got really excited, because I haven’t made a red, white and blue dessert before. Finally, now was my chance! I searched Pinterest boards and blogs but there were a few things stopping me from whipping up some of those spectacular examples:

  • There’s nothing more American than apple pie, so guess what was popular… apples – yeah, no thanks. I’d like to be functional this weekend.
  • A flag cake – I don’t have a rectangular cake tin and a round flag would look silly.
  • A bundt cake, covered with white icing and filled with strawberries and raspberries – one of my rules is to never experiment when you’re serving it to someone else.

What could I make that was tried and tested, as well as red, white and blue? A Pavlova, of course. I hope Americans forgive me for using an Aussie dessert.

Using my never-fail (famous last words?) Pavlova recipe, I covered it with whipped coconut cream and berries for an Aussie-fied 4th of July dessert offering.

Notes:

  1. Castor sugar is 1:1 fructose and glucose, so is low FODMAP. However, too much of any sugar can set some people off, so watch your portion sizes. If you have SIBO, I would steer clear of this dessert.
  2. I have attempted a glucose/dextrose Pav before and it was a complete flop. I guess the way dextrose crystallises differs too much from sucrose.
  3. Egg whites are low FODMAP; I use 50 g (large) eggs.
  4. You can use either potato starch or corn starch, both are low FODMAP. Corn is a grain, so if you use corn starch it will no longer be grain free.
  5. Vanilla extract is low FODMAP, just beware additives that might change this.
  6. White wine vinegar is low FODMAP in 1 tsp. servings.
  7. Coconut cream is low FODMAP in half cup serving sizes. Refrigeration causes the fat and water content to separate, giving you an even richer, creamier and more whippable topping.
  8. Strawberries and blueberries are low FODMAP fruits.

Pavlova

Pavlova

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 pinch table salt
  • 250 g castor sugar
  • 2 tsp. corn starch or 1 tsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. white or white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Toppings

  • 400 ml of full cream coconut, refrigerated
  • Red and blue berries, to top. I used strawberries and blueberries.

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Let your eggs sit for 30 minutes at room temp to take the chill off, unless you’re working in a warmer environment, in which case I find colder eggs hold stiff peaks better. Separate the egg whites and yolks, store the yolks for use at another time. Preheat your oven to 180 C/350 F.

Beat the egg whites and pinch of salt on a low-medium speed for 1 minute, then on a high speed for 3-4 minutes, until they are fluffy. While maintaining a med-high speed, slowly add in the castor sugar until it’s combined, then turn the speed up to maximum for a further minute.

Lift the beaters out of the batter – does the peak formed retain its shape? If yes, add in the starch, white wine vinegar and vanilla extract and mix through on a medium speed for 30 seconds.

Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet covered with baking paper, so that it forms a circle with a 20 cm diameter.

Place it into the oven on the bottom tray and turn the heat down to 150 C/300 F. Bake for 30 minutes, before turning the heat down to 120 C/250 F and baking for a further 45 minutes. Alternatively, if you don’t want to play around with temperatures, you could bake it at 120 C/250 F for 2 hours. When the time is up, let it cool for 15 minutes with the oven door cracked open, before removing it to the bench. I was in a hurry and took mine out too soon, so it cracked and collapsed a little. No worries, though, as we’re covering it with whipped coconut cream, so no one will be the wiser… unless they read this.

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I used Oh She Glows’ instructions on whipping coconut cream. I’ll let you head over there to view her step-by-step photo tutorial but I have to tell you that you need to refrigerate the tin overnight (this is important, as I have done this with a tin refrigerated for only 4 hours and it hadn’t separated enough).

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Smother the Pav with whipped coconut cream (or normal whipped cream) and top with blueberries and strawberries (or other blue and red berries) for a patriotic looking 4th of July dessert that is crispy on the outside and marshmallowy soft on the inside.

Now to wait until after dinner to devour it. *Twiddles thumbs.*

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Homemade Strawberry Sundae Sauce – FODMAP/Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Strawberry Sundae Sauce

I made this sauce for the first time to serve with dessert at a friend’s house a few months ago. My friend isn’t a fan of baked goods, so she decided we’d have sundaes for dessert instead. I bought the ice cream – I didn’t have time to make it, toasted and diced the almonds and got a chocolate sauce for everyone else to have (I couldn’t find a Nat-friendly option at the last minute) but I decided I’d make the strawberry sauce. Not only did I know – from previous experience – that the only suitable options would be ridiculously expensive, “artisan” style sauces that I could just as easily make at home, we also had a tonne of frozen strawbs in the freezer.

This sauce takes only about 15 minutes of attention, as it just needs to simmer for the rest of the time. The result is a rich and flavourful strawberry sauce that can be served with ice cream, Pavlovasbanana cake or even pancakes and crepes.

Notes:

  1. Strawberries are a low FODMAP fruit.
  2. Make sure you use pure vanilla extract, to rule out any additives that might irritate your gut.
  3. Dextrose is less sweet per gram than sucrose, as it only contains glucose, whereas sucrose is 50% fructose, which gives it added sweetness. This is why the amounts required differ. However, you can make this to your own taste by adding more or less of either sugar, as you see fit.

Strawberry Sundae Sauce

Makes approx. 750 ml of sauce

  • 750 g strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Up to 1/3 cup castor sugar dextrose or 1/2 cup dextrose (I prefer less, you could also combine it with Stevia)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Weigh, hull and dice (if fresh) the strawberries, before putting them in your saucepan with all the other ingredients. Turn the heat up to medium and simmer until the strawberries have softened enough to smoosh them with the wooden spoon – about 5 minutes. At this point, take the pot off the heat either use your blender or immersion blender to puree the mixture, before returning the mixture to the medium heat and bring to a gentle boil.

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Strawberry before and after

Watch it like a hawk, as it can boil over easily… been there, done that; the clean up isn’t fun.

As the sauce comes to the boil, you will need to spoon off the foam that develops, as this will add a bitter taste to the mixture that you want to avoid. After boiling gently for 5 minutes, finish spooning off the foam and drop the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for at least an hour, an hour and a half is best to really thicken. You may need to spoon off a little more foam at the end.

Either pour this sauce (piping hot) straight into a sterilised canning jar and use your choice of canning techniques to preserve it or let it cool and serve warm (for that awesome semi-melted ice cream effect).

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Baked Ricotta Cheesecake, with Variations – Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Baked Ricotta Cheesecake - Fructose Friendly & Gluten Free

Does everyone from Australia remember the Cheesecake Shop? Apparently it’s still around. My parents always used to buy cakes from them – they made way more than just cheesecakes and everything was delicious. As you can see, my sweet tooth developed early and it’s tough to keep it in check!

My favourite cheesecake was easily their ricotta cheesecake stuffed with sultanas. I’m not sure whether it was the ricotta or the sultanas that drew me to this cake – or the combination of both. Sadly, the Mordialloc shop stopped making ricotta cheesecake at some point in my early teens and I was devastated… but I eventually put aside my grief and moved on to my custard tart obsession.

A couple of months ago, my friend Chath made a batch of miniature cheesecakes and they got me thinking about the ricotta cheesecakes I’d loved so much growing up. Of course, since I would be hard put to find a gluten free/fructose friendly ricotta cheesecake in the supermarket – not to mention the fact that I like baking – I decided I would make my own.

I got my inspiration from a few sources; Chath’s cheesecakes linked above (they are delicious), this classic baked cheesecake from Donna Hay and Alton Brown’s method of water-bath baking cheesecakes from his show, Good Eats. A couple of trials and errors later, I give you my ricotta cheesecake with variations. It is lightly sweetened and combines the best of both the ricotta and cream cheeses for a rich cheesecake that is the perfect balance of fluffy and creamy.

Notes:

  1. Ricotta and cream cheese are not low in lactose, so this recipe isn’t suitable for those who malabsorb lactose.
  2. The eggs I used were 50 g each.
  3. Pure maple syrup does not have additives in it that may increase the level of FODMAPs present, thus should be safe.
  4. Fresh lemon juice is generally better tolerated than lemon juice concentrate. If you use the concentrate, only use 20 ml.
  5. Pure vanilla extract is low FODMAP.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Makes 1 x 9″ cake or 2 x 6″ cakes. You may not need all the base mixture for the single 9″ cake.

Crust

  • 110 g almond flour/meal (or nut of choice)
  • 135 g gluten free plain flour
  • 30 g brown sugar
  • 20 g dextrose or castor sugar
  • 120 g butter, chilled and chopped
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 tsp. cold water

Filling

  • 275 g ricotta cheese
  • 115 g cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dextrose or castor sugar
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 30 ml fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Variations

  • Layer the blind baked crust with stewed fruits and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.
  • Sprinkle fresh or frozen berries on the blind baked crust and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.
  • Stir a tolerable amount of dried fruit through the filling before pouring it into the crust then bake it and dust the top with icing sugar afterward.
  • Bake the mixture plain and pour passion fruit pulp or a mixed berry sauce over the top.
  • Bake the mixture plain and dust the top with icing sugar after it has baked.

Pre-heat your oven to 150 C/300 F.

Grease and line either one 9″ cake tin (normal or spring form) or two 6″ tins completely. Using baking paper, line the sides first and then press the circle for the base in gently, sealing up the gaps.

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In a food processor or by hand, thoroughly combine the ingredients for the crust. It should be a smooth, malleable mixture and not dry and crumbly. Press it evenly over the lined cake tin base and up the sides as high as possible, as it will slide down a little when baking. Cover the crust mix with baking paper and pie weights (to help even and quick cooking) and blind bake for 15 minutes or until it becomes lightly golden. Let the crust come back to room temperature.

Pre blind baking

Pre blind baking

Post blind baking

Post blind baking – the cracks are my fault, I forgot to set the oven timer and it cooked for 5 minutes too long

By hand or in a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, blend the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, eggs, maple syrup, dextrose, lemon zest and vanilla extract together. A stand mixer will give a smoother end product and makes life a lot easier.

Meanwhile, mix the potato starch and lemon juice together to create a smooth paste. This step is important, because if you mix the potato starch into the mixture as a powder it may cause your baked cheesecakes to become gritty, which is not a texture we want to associate with this dessert.

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This is where the variations come in – choose your variation and then fill the cooled crust to about 5 mm shy of the top with the cheese batter, covering any fruits you decided to add in. In the photos below, I filled the crusts to 5 mm below the cracks caused by me overcooking them.

Variation - baked plain

Variation – baked plain

Variation - baked with fruit on the crust

Variation – baked with fruit on the crust

Place the cake tin in a large baking dish and place that dish in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish so that it surrounds the cake tin up to 3/4 height – this water bath technique allows the cheesecakes to bake slowly and evenly while providing steam to prevent them from drying out, thus eliminating those unsightly cracks from the surfaces that can form as they cool. If you have used a spring form tin, this will not work as the water will leak in. Instead of a water bath, place an oven safe bowl full of boiling water on the shelf under the baking cheesecake to help steam it. 

Baking:

  • 6″ cake – 45 minutes at 150 C/300 F and then turn the oven off. Open the oven door for 60 seconds before closing it again and set the timer for 45 minutes more, after which you can remove the baking tray with cake tins from the oven and then take the tins out of the water bath.
  • 9″ cake – 60 minutes at 150 C/300 F and then turn the oven off. Open the oven door for 60 seconds before closing it again and set the timer for 60 minutes more, after which you can remove the baking tray with cake tins from the oven and then take the tins out of the water bath.

Let the baked cheesecake cool completely before refrigerating it in an airtight container for at least 4 hours to finish the setting process. Do NOT remove it from the tin before it has cooled completely, or this will happen:

Cheesecake. Nailed it.

Store in the fridge for 3-4 days, max. If you do not store it in an airtight container, your fridge may dry out the surface and a skin will develop.

Serve your variation of choice with extra fresh fruit, vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream to cut the richness if necessary.

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