Welcome to my blog, through which I hope to be able to share my experiences of gluten free cooking, baking, experimenting and eating.
When my daughter was diagnosed (age 6) with Coeliac Disease, our world of eating changed overnight. From breads, pastry and pasta to cakes, biscuits and puddings.......... suddenly most of what we knew was 'off the menu'. I think I must have tested every available gluten free product on the market, seeking out replacements to try and keep things as normal as possible. I was disappointed to find that what was available was often dry, crumbly and flavourless.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided to turn my kitchen into a laboratory, turn all I knew about cooking on its head and start creating!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Roasted Strawberry & Mango Shortbread Pudding

After much waiting and anticipation, the English strawberry season has finally arrived!

I love strawberries and at this time of year, when they are fresh, locally-grown, abundant and cheap, it is worth roasting, saucing and compoting a load for the freezer so that they are ready for lots of strawberry treats. I have been roasting them plain, with balsamic, with vanilla and with a glug of my favourite liqueurs and have all sorts of plans for them! They are delicious roasted. They take on an intensified, deep, flavour which bursts onto your taste buds and fills your mouth with the flavours of summer. And their colour becomes a deep rich red which tantalises and promises deliciousness.


This week, I really fancied making a fruity pudding with a short-bread base. I love the combination of strawberry and mango, so thought I would try layering biscuit, mango 'jam', and topping with roasted strawberries. It was all a bit of an experiment, and I wasn't expecting anything stunningly attractive. But looks aside, this pud tastes fantastic and even my daughter (who tells me 'I don't like mango mummy') has been wolfing it down.


The colour of the fruit topping is beautifully vibrant and the combination of crunchy biscuit with sweet, smooth mango and slightly sharp roasted strawberries is varied and delicious.

I served mine with a creamy custard which was made from fridge left-overs but flavoured with the rich strawberry syrup from the roasting process. I whipped it for ages to get it as light and airy as possible. It tops the pudding perfectly with an additional creamy, almost foam-like dimension. I would be quite happy sitting with a bowl of the custard and a big spoon, but then I would be missing out on the delicious shortbread and fruit...........

 

Shortbread Base

Ingredients

120g unsalted butter - cubed
175g gluten free flour mix (I used Blend A from this post)
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
60g caster sugar
25g soft brown sugar
pinch of sea salt

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190⁰ C / 375⁰ F / Gas 5
  2. Base line a 20cm/8 inch square (5cm/2 inch deep) loose bottomed baking tin
  3. Weigh all the ingredients into a food processor
  4. Blitz the ingredients in the blender until they form a smooth dough
  5. Tip the dough into the baking tin and gently press into the base of the tin, working to the corners with your fingers. Use either a small rolling pin or the base of a flat glass to even and smooth the base
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the base is golden brown and firm
  7. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool
(If you do not have a food processor, hand-rub the butter into the flour, xanthan gum and salt, mix with the sugars thoroughly and knead with your hands until a smooth dough is formed)


Thick Mango Sauce

Ingredients

2 medium sized mangos (skin and stones removed) cut into cubes
50g caster sugar
1 ½ tablespoons cold water
2 tablespoons corn flour

Method

  1. Mix the water, sugar and cornflour in a medium-sized saucepan and add the chopped mango
  2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously
  3. Once boiling, turn down the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens.
  4. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, stirring intermittently to allow the mango to soften
  5. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Using a hand held (or free-standing) blender, puree the mixture until smooth.
  7. Set aside and allow to cool

Roasted Strawberries          



Ingredients

450g fresh strawberries - washed & hulled
sprinkle of caster sugar

Method

  1. Completely line a shallow oven-proof dish with foil and pre-heat the oven to 200⁰ C / 400⁰ F / Gas 6
  2. Hull the strawberries and cut into halves or leave whole as you choose (and dependent on the size of the strawberries)
  3. Sprinkle with sugar and leave to stand for 20 minutes or so
  4. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes and then give a gentle stir
  5. Return to the oven and continue to roast for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the strawberries are soft and sticky and the juice has reduced to a syrup
  6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tray

Putting it all together

Leaving the shortbread in the tin, spoon the mango sauce on top and spread evenly across the surface.
Strain the strawberries to remove any remaining liquid (and reserve the juice to add to the custard or some other creation). Spoon the strawberries onto the mango layer and spread them evenly. Place in the fridge to chill for about an hour. Remove from the tin and cut into pieces.
Serve with cream, crème fraiche, ice-cream, custard or just as it is!

Strawberry Custard-Cream

The custard that I served with my bake was a bit random and basically used left-overs that I found in the fridge, combined with some of the strawberry syrup from the roasted strawberries.
I mixed :

approx. 350 ml good quality shop-bought vanilla custard
150 ml double cream
a couple of spoons of strawberry syrup

Using an electric whisk, I whipped the ingredients for several minutes until very light and airy and thickened to the point of leaving a soft trail.


Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013 unless otherwise indicated

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