Monday

DIY Baking Band

Try using a Baking Band to wrap around the outer sides of the tin when baking any cake, but especially rich fruit cakes!
 This helps to bake a flat-topped cake instead of the 'dome-shaped' ones I used to end up with!  

This shows a baking band or strip, made from greaseproof paper and damp kitchen towel folded and encased within it.

The band is secured around the cake tin with string.  This method helps to create a level top, for slow-baked cakes, like very rich fruit cakes.
  
The outsides of the cake do not bake too quickly, giving the cake mixture time to bake evenly all the way through, without the classic 'dome' top.  

You can buy fabric baking bands, but this is so easy to make!

Friday

Rich Custard Tartlets




100g gluten-free shortcrust pastry, already made

for the rich custard filling:
2 large eggs
300ml dairy-free soya cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
ground nutmeg, to sprinkle tops with



Preheat oven to 190'C / 375'F / Gas 5.

Have ready a muffin tin (or patty tin).

Beat the eggs and sugar together.

On a floured surface, roll out the gluten-free pastry and cut into rounds large enough to line the muffin or patty tins. 

Slowly heat the dairy-free soya cream, but do not boil.

Pour over the beaten eggs and sugar, stirring well.

Allow to cool, then strain through a sieve into a jug.

Now pour the custard into the tartlet cases.

Lightly sprinkle each one with ground nutmeg, and bake on the middle shelf for about 15-20 minutes.

Best served chilled.

Egg Custard Tart


100g gluten-free shortcrust pastry, premade and baked blind

2 eggs

250ml dairy-free milk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
ground nutmeg, to decorate



Preheat oven to 180'C / 350'F / Gas 4.

Line an 18cm flan dish with the pastry and bake blind.  Make sure there are no cracks in the pastry where the custard can seep through.  You can mend any cracks with any trimmings of pastry you have left.

Whisk the eggs.

Then, in a pan, bring the dairy-free milk and sugar to the boil.  Pour onto the eggs and stir well.  Allow to cool.

Now, strain the custard into the pastry case, sprinkle with ground nutmeg and bake for about 20 minutes, until set.

Rugged Rocky Road Squares



220g dairy-free dark chocolate, at least 85% solids, broken up
200g gluten-free and dairy-free oat biscuits, made beforehand or bought, broken up and keep all the crumbs as well
135g dairy-free margarine
100g mini marshmallows
40g dairy-free honeycomb, broken into small pieces
30g dairy-free and gluten-free rose-flavoured Turkish Delight, cut into pieces
30g dairy-free and gluten-free white and pink nougat, cut in to pieces
25g dried cranberries and raisins
3 tablespoons golden syrup
icing sugar to decorate



Lightly oil and line the base of a brownie tin with greaseproof paper.

Gather all of the above nine ingredients on a large tray in individual dishes. 

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate, dairy-free margarine and golden syrup, stirring until smooth.  Cool slightly.

Next, add all the other ingredients, and stir through evenly with a wooden spoon.

Place the mixture into your prepared brownie tin, pressing the mixture down, especially into the corners until level.  Refrigerate for 1  1/2 hours until set.

Turn out onto a cutting board, and cut into equal-sized squares, or bars.

Arrange on a serving plate and sprinkle delicately with icing sugar.

Oatbran Biscuits

Delicious served with a cheese board and grapes, but equally delicious on their own! An excellent lunchbox or lunch-break filler too!

150g glutten-free plain flour
1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
pinch xanthan gum (1/8 teaspoon)
150g oatmeal
pinch of salt
75g dairy-free margarine
75g caster sugar
4 tablespoons dairy-free milk




Preheat oven to 180'C / 350'F / Gas 4.

Lightly oil a baking tray.

Sift together the gluten-free flour, baking powder, xanthan gum.  

Add the oatmeal and salt, then rub in the dairy-free margarine.

Stir in the caster sugar.

Now, add the dairy-free milk and use a palette knife to 'bring together' a stiff dough.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough fairly thinly.  Using a 7-8cm cutter, cut out the biscuits.  Re-roll and cut out more until you have used all the dough.

Place on your baking tray, and bake for 10-15 minutes, until just browning on top.

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