These gluten free Puff Pastry Party Bites are made to mark Coeliac Awareness Week which takes place this week – 14th to 20th May 2018. Facilitated by Coeliac UK, it takes place each year in May, highlighting important issues facing the Coeliac community. This year marks a special anniversary however, with Coeliac UK having reached a milestone of 50 years since its foundation in 1968 (when it was known as The Coeliac Society).
Since then it has gone from strength to strength, campaigning for and supporting everything from medical research and public and professional awareness of the condition, to prescription services, mentoring, food labelling, coeliac-safe restaurants, training for chefs and supermarkets committed to stocking gluten free staples.
I have written earlier posts on Coeliac Disease during previous awareness weeks which you can read here, here and here, although fundamentally it is an autoimmune condition which affects about 1 in a hundred people, making them very unwell if they eat gluten and thus there is a need for sufferers to avoid eating any gluten for life.
Coeliac seems to have a public face of being quite a modern ‘condition’ (in our house we don’t like to call it a ‘disease’, as we aim to be positive both in how we view being Coeliac and on how we approach being gluten free in a non gluten free world). Modern however, it is not. I grew up with my Dad being Coeliac in a time when far less was known about how and why it affected the body or why a gluten free diet was essential to staying well.
I would never have known that gluten was relevant as a child…. Dad ate everything…. normal wheat bread, pasta, cakes and pastry… in fact anything and everything that we now know to avoid. I am not sure whether this was because the medical world did not share with him the importance of avoiding gluten (he had been diagnosed very young as a pre-war child, when people believed that bananas were an appropriate treatment), or because he just wanted to fit in with family life. He was always painfully thin, but suffered silently. Either way, his glutenous neglect most likely killed him at the very young age of 52 (the same age I am now) from cancer which was probably triggered by the ‘untreated’ Coeliac.
I am so grateful for organisations like Coeliac UK. Their awareness-raising is massively important. Coeliac is notoriously under-diagnosed and if their campaigns improve public awareness of symptoms and encourage GPs and consultants to think about the possibility of Coeliac alongside their explorations for other stomach and bowel complaints, less people may suffer and lives may be saved.
Miss GF lives in a very different world to her grandfather….. We are more demanding of health information and exploration, we have the internet at our finger tips and the benefit of a wealth of medical research and knowledge. She is also clear and confident that her need to be gluten free is not a life-style choice, but is a medical necessity.
To mark Coeliac UK’s 50 years, this year they are inviting people to celebrate and party to raise funds which will enable them to continue their invaluable research both into better understanding of Coeliac Disease and towards finding a long hoped-for cure. For anyone holding fund-raising parties, picnics and teas, these little morsels of filled puff pastry (made with ready-to-roll gluten free puff pastry) are incredibly easy to put together, can be filled with whatever you like and will be guaranteed to bring a smile (Coeliac or not).
….. I know that from experience….. I made a stash of them and left them in a box in the fridge, only to come home and find they had almost entirely been eaten. Miss GF kindly left a couple for me and her dad, but otherwise devoured the lot! Thank goodness they had already been photographed.
I am sharing my Puff Pastry Party Bites in support of Coeliac Awareness Week with the following….
I am also offering them as my party treat for this month’s #FreeFromParty gathering being put together by the awesome group of bloggers that are the Free From Gang. As and when their posts are published, I will add the links below :
The Original Savoury Summer Upside Down Cake – updated on GFA
Other gluten free party food and ideas on Gluten Free Alchemist :
No Bake Biscuit Cake
Date, Apricot & Coconut Flapjack
Roasted Red Pepper & Tomato Tart
Chocolate Mini Rolls
GF Oat Bread Flowers
Watermelon Bacardi Cooler
Vanilla Swiss Roll (GF & DF)
Muffin Pizzas (or Pizza Muffins)
Baci di Dama Cookies
Mini Picnic Pies
Raspberry-Lemon Drizzle Cake
Puff Pastry Party Bites
- The oven will need to be pre-heated to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4 before baking the pastry and you will need to base-line 3 to 4 baking sheets with baking paper.
- Lay out a large sheet of non-stick baking paper on your work surface and dust with tapioca flour. Place your ready-to-roll pastry on top and dust the top with flour too, before carefully rolling out to a thickness of approximately half to one centimetre.
- Using a small cookie cutter, carefully cut out your pastry shapes, trying to minimise any pastry waste (to get the best flakiness in the pastry, your pastry should (as far as possible) be cut on the first roll-out).
- Place the cut pastry shapes on the prepared baking sheets and chill for half an hour.
- Prepare the egg-wash by lightly beating an egg with a little milk using a fork. Brush the tops of half of the pastry shapes with egg-wash (it is important to count them first). Sprinkle a third of the egg-washed shapes with a little grated cheese, a third with paprika and a third with sesame seeds.
- Bake all of the pastry shapes in the oven until risen, crisp and golden (about 20 to 25 minutes) and then remove from the oven and set aside on the trays to cool completely.
- In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese a little to lighten and add air.
- Take the ham and either cut into smallish pieces or use the cookie cutter that you used for the pastry to cut into shapes – set aside.
- Repeat the same cutting process with the smoked salmon – set aside.
- Slice your baby beets into disc shapes.
- Using a piping bag with a large open star tip (or just use a teaspoon if easier), pipe two-thirds of the plain cooked pastry bases with a small blob of cream cheese.
- Top half of the cream cheese piped bases with a piece of ham and the other half with a piece of smoked salmon.
- Take the cheese topped, glazed pasties and carefully pipe a further blob of cream cheese on the underside, before gently pressing onto the ham pastries.
- Repeat the process, piping a small blob of cream cheese onto the underside of the paprika-topped pastries and sandwiching onto the smoked salmon bases.
- Finally, take a clean piping bag with a clean tip, fill with houmous and repeat the same process with the remaining pastry bases and sesame tops, sandwiching the two layers with a disc of beetroot. (It is best to make the houmous ones just before you eat them as the houmous will quickly dry and darken at the edges).
- Chill to store.