Gluten free Raspberry and Coconut loaf.

A few weeks ago my boyfriend took me to Kipling Gardens in Brighton for a picnic. He asked me what food I wanted for our picnic and although I had many requests, my main one was meringue baskets. I had been seeing these all over the supermarkets and wanted to try them out. I know I like meringue, so I wasn’t trying anything new, but I’d never eaten it in this style before. We got some blueberries, raspberries and cream to go with our meringues, and all together it was delicious. I will also have to give eton mess a try now. Being on the low fodmap diet has opened me up to trying lots of new foods, the meringue baskets were one, and eton mess will be the next. However, this post isn’t about my new found love of meringue, and the many different ways it can be eaten, it’s about the delicious raspberries I ate with that meringue, and how I was inspired to bake with them.

 
I headed to where I usually steal inspiration from, Pinterest. But I couldn’t find anything on Pinterest that made me want to bake with raspberries. Then I remembered that I had also wanted to bake something with coconut in it and A Volia! Inspiration had struck. A raspberry and coconut loaf with raspberry jam on top sprinkled with coconut made me instantly pulling out my mixing bowl and hand whisk. I searched Pinterest again and found this recipe which isn’t gluten free but I decided to swap the flour in it for gluten free flour.

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Ingredients
225g Self Raising Flour
175g Unsalted Butter
175g Caster Sugar
3 Large Eggs
200g Fresh Raspberries
4tbsp raspberry jam (you can decide if you want more or less)
75g coconut (roughly, you can have as much or as little as you want

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees/gas mark 3 and line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix all the ingredients (apart from the raspberries) together in a large bowl until fully combined, about two minutes with a handheld mixer. Mix in the raspberries very gently as you don’t want them to break. Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for an hour. You can tell if the mixture is done by sticking a skewer into the middle, if it comes out unclean, cover with foil and bake for another 15 minutes.
  3. Allow the loaf to cool completely before removing from the tin and spreading the jam on the top. Sprinkle with coconut. If your jam is coming out the fridge, spoon 4 tbsp into a bowl and keep mixing it around until it becomes more spreadable. I did this so that the loaf wouldn’t break when spreading the jam.

Kept in an airtight container the loaf should last three days, if it lasts that long.

Although this was delicious, and I discovered that Raspberry and coconut make a lovely summery combination, the loaf was very crumbly. I had this problem a few weeks ago when I made a lemon sponge cake, the cake worked, but once you cut a slice it was too crumbly to eat unless you had a fork.

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Does anyone have any tips for gluten free baking when following a recipe that isn’t designed to be gluten free? Should I use Xantham Gum? I did try using it in the loaf, but it didn’t really help. Does anyone know how much you should use so that it acts as the elasticity gluten normally provides to keep cakes or loafs together? Does anyone have any other tips to help me with my problem? Like how to keep a cake moist when using gluten free flour? I really want to learn more about baking gluten free so any help anyone can pass on would be fantastic.

 
Yes, I know I should probably just use gluten free recipes. But I have some great cake recipes that I want to make gluten free, I just don’t know how.

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Gluten Free Pancakes Recipe

I have to admit that when I knew I was giving up gluten and wheat, pancakes was not the first thing that I was gutted about missing out on. All I could think about was how would I live without pizza?!?! But, since going gluten free, I have discovered another round shaped food that I can still enjoy and fills me with happiness.

If I am honest I can’t really tell the difference between the gluten and non-gluten pre-made pancakes you pick up in the supermarket. My favourite pre-made gluten free pancakes are the golden syrup ones from Tesco (blog post to follow). The genius ones are also good, but I find them to be drier than the Tesco own version. These have been a great quick and easy breakfast for me. I’ll heat them up in the oven if I have more time, or pop them in the toaster. Once I’ve warmed them up I’ll drizzle some maple syrup on and chow down.

However, last Sunday morning, whilst feeling particularly low, I really wanted a full and comforting breakfast, but I had no pancakes. In fact I had nothing for breakfast and knew I was going to have to make something from scratch. I had eggs, milk and gluten-free flour – Pancake Power! (please let me know if you get the reference), and searched the internet for a gluten-free recipe.  I used this recipe from the Tesco website, and I swear these are the best pancakes I have ever had. You have to make these even if you can tolerate gluten, and they probably can be made with regular flour. They were so full of flavour and fluffy, whilst being light and moist. They were everything I had ever wanted and more. I’ve already told my best friend that I will make these for her one morning, because I feel everyone should experience these.

The man who discovered this recipe is honestly a genius, I will be making these again and again. I’ll still use the pre-made ones for my quick breakfasts before my commute to work, but these will be the weekend treat that I’ll make with time and care.

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Ingredients

150g Gluten-free Self-Raising Flour (I used Dove’s Farm)

1 level tsp Bicarbonate of Soda

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 small ripe Banana, mashed

1 Egg

175ml Semi-skimmed Milk (you could use almond milk)

Method

  1. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda and sugar in a bowl. Add the banana and egg (this will get very sticky but keep trying to mix it all), then gradually whisk in the milk, to make a smooth batter.
  2. Melt butter (or coconut oil) in a non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add individual tablespoons of batter; they should spread to about 7cm in diameter so you’ll need to work in batches. Cook until small bubbles start to appear on the top, then flip and cook until both sides are golden. Warning these cooked quite quickly so watch them whilst they are cooking.
  3. Transfer to a warm serving plate and repeat with the remaining batter. I tend to put my oven on the lowest setting, and then place the pancakes on a baking tray under some foil to keep them warm.
  4. Serve stacked and with your favourite toppings.

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Normally I add sliced banana, blueberries and maple syrup to top my pancakes. However, these already have a slight banana flavour to them as they are included in the recipe, but you could still have bananas if you wanted. I found I could enjoy these with just some maple syrup drizzled generously over the top. As I said earlier, they aren’t dry at all, so adding maple syrup is really just for more flavour. Having said this, I feel that these are sweet pancakes, I’m not sure how they would taste if you had savoury toppings.

Please give this recipe a go. I know I can’t wait to make these again. They are the real deal American fluffy style pancakes, and I didn’t have to whisk egg whites until my arm was sore to get thick pancakes. They were easy to make, so there really is no excuse.

If you do make these, let me know how you get on, I would love to know if anyone else enjoyed these as much as I did.

Pip x

Macaroons

I love macaroons! I had my first Macaroon on my 21st birthday after I saw Zoella talking about them. I have a feeling that almonds are not allowed on the Low FODMAP diet, but this diet is all about reintroducing foods and finding out what works for you, and Macaroons defiantly work for me.

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I had been trying to find something to bake for ages because I just hadn’t been feeling inspired to bake anything. Then one morning whilst drying my hair it hit me, why not make my favourite sweet treat that is impossible to buy where I live (the ones from M&S and Waitrose have gluten in them FYI). Plus, my brother had gifted me a macaroon making set that I hadn’t got round to using. So, I dusted off the kit (by dusted I mean washed) and looked for a recipe that seemed simple and easy.

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I used this recipe from Lorraine Pascale, and it worked really well.

Ingredients

For the Macaroons

125g Icing Sugar

125g Ground Almonds

90g Egg Whites

2 tbsp Water

110g Caster Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

For the Whipped Cream filling

150ml Double or Whipped Cream

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170/C/325F/Gas 3 and line a large baking tray with baking paper. I used a silicon Macaroon baking sheet that I brother gave me.
  2. Put the icing sugar, ground almonds and 40g of egg whites together in a large bowl and mix to a paste.
  3. Put the water and caster sugar in a small pan and heat gently to melt the sugar. Then turn the heat up until the mixture boils. The mixture should go syrupy and thicken.
  4. Whisk the remaining 50g of egg whites in a small bowl until medium-stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed from the bowl, then pour in the syrup, whisking until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny. Add vanilla extract, or a flavouring of your choice. If you want coloured macaroons, add a few drops of food colouring.
  5. Tip the meringue mixture into the almond paste mixture and stir gently until the mixture becomes stiff and shiny again.
  6. Spoon into a piping bag, I used the little gadget from the macaroon set. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding if using. Pipe a little mixture under each corner of the baking paper to stop it sliding around. With the bag held vertically pipe 4cm flat circles. Leave about a 2cm gap in between the circles. The mixture should be quite loose to give it a smooth finish. Once they are all piped, give the tray 2-3 slams on a flat surface to flatten them and remove any air bubbles.
  7. Leave to stand for 30 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes with the door slightly ajar until firm. Mine took a little longer than 15 minutes. To see if they were done I looked at the bottom of the macaroons on the sheet to see if they were cooked or not (do not try and lift them off the paper to see if they are cooked), I tried to guess how baked they were from what I could see on the side of the macaroon.
  8. Remove from the oven, then lift the paper of the baking tray and leave the macaroons to cool on the paper. I didn’t do this as I had the silicon mat.
  9. Whip the cream and add 2 tsp of the vanilla flavouring (or flavouring of your choice). I used 1 tsp and it wasn’t enough to flavour the cream, so I would recommend two.
  10. When cooled, sandwich the macaroons together by size with the whipped cream. If refrigerated, these can keep for a couple of days; I found that after three days they went soft.

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These Macaroons weren’t that difficult to make and I definitely impressed my colleagues with these delicious treats. These would make a great treat for someone’s birthday, or a special occasion, and saying you made them yourself will definitely wow those who are enjoying them.

I have now discovered that macaroons are best enjoyed when freshly made at home.