Sunday, 10 April 2011

Baking for Friends and adapting recipes

Although I love baking just for ourselves, it is really nice to have friends round for tea. This time seven knitters or rather on this occasion, ladies crocheting some squares...came round. There was loads of chatting, and some crocheting, and a little knitting....then being a glorious day it was also out into the garden.

I wanted to bake at least two of three items gluten free. The biscuits pictures above, I adapted from Popina's Book of Baking. It is based on her Pineapple, coconut and lemon biscuits. If they were made with butter and normal flour, and slightly different other ingredients as per her recipe, then I think they would be different, but equally nice. They are light, tasty, with chewy pineapple bits. The quantity makes 36 good sized biscuits, so I was able to take some round for Julian.

When there were just three left, and we had been pudding less for about two days, I was inspired to make a quick dessert, which was so good, that it would be worth making these biscuits again just for this. I would freeze some biscuits just to have some put buy to make it up again.

Firstly Dessert using the biscuits:

For two people: Crumble three biscuits using fingers. Share about two of them between two pretty stemmed glasses, splosh over a little calvados. In a separate bowl whip up a small tub of double cream, I used goats cream, due to cow product intolerance, you could use normal cream. Then stir in the remainder of the biscuit into the cream. Put about two tablespoons of cooled poached apple on top of the biscuit mixture in the glasses, top with the whipped cream mixture, then decorated with some pretty pieces of poached apple.

This desert is 'assembled', all you need is cream, biscuits, cool poached apples, pears, maybe mangoes, peaches, apricots, and some liqueur. Malibu or a pineapple liqueur would go well. You could use Pineapple instead of the apple, but then I think it would overwhelm the subtle pineapple flavour in the biscuits.

Gluten Free Pineapple, Coconut and lemon biscuits

See Popina for her ingredients, and method for making preserved pineapple.

I used the following for my Mauritian Sunshine Biscuits

100g Pure Sunflower Spread

2 Eggs

100g white caster sugar

70g Demerara sugar, (we have a few acres where sugar is grown near to Moka)

180g crystallised pineapple rings which I bought from the Thursday Market in Kenilworth (the above soaked overnight in 1tbs rum, the last of my Mauritian Rum, and 1tbs lemon juice to plump it up)

Finely grated rind from 1 organic unwaxed lemon

120g Dessicated coconut

250g Doves Farm Gluten and Wheat Free Self-raising flour

Cream Pure and sugars, till fluffy. Add Eggs bit by bit, mixing well in between. Stir in Lemon zest, coconut and pineapple. Sift the flour high to add lots of air, then fold half into the mixture, then the rest.

Place generous teaspoonfuls onto baking trays, lined with parchment, leaving room to spread.

Take a wetted dessertspoon and flatten them slightly.

Bake in a pre heated oven, Gas Mark 3 for 25 mins until golden. Cool on a baking rack, and store in a sealed container for up to a week....I think three days.

Since I used my Mauritian Rum, and the main flavours say Mauritius: Pineapple and Coconut, I call these my Mauritian Sunshine Biscuits.

The second Gluten Free cake I made was on the pack of Gluten and Wheat Free Self-Raising flour blend from Doves Farm. I am sure that it would be equally good, and maybe even better when using butter, and normal flour.

Lemon & Poppy Seed Sponge, slightly adapted

125g self raising flour

100g Pure Sunflower

125g caster sugar


3 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

Rind finely grated from an organic wax free lemon

1 Tablespoon Poppy Seeds

Lemon juice and icing sugar mixed, for the topping

Place everything in a bowl, and beat really well, pour into a greased lined 500g baking tin. Bake at Gas Mark 5 for 45 mins.

Turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

When cool, spread thick icing mixture on the top, allowing it to drizzle down the sides.

I also bakes some scones, and must try my hand of making some with gluten free flour.

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