Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Chocolate Tart - free from gluten and lactose

I've used this recipe before, when I needed a gluten- and lactose-free chocolate tart. I really liked it the first time I made it, and didn't want to play around finding a different recipe, as we were are in the middle of a heat-wave and having too much cake/dessert around isn't good for me at all, especially with no-one to help me eat it!

I find gluten- and dairy-free pastry shrinks more than usual when baked blind, but the recipe I use makes a sweet shortcrust pastry case which doesn't stick to the baking tin, doesn't seem to suffer from soggy bottoms and has a good 'short' texture which doesn't become too hard, which seems a good trade-off to me. The dough starts out stickier, and needs careful handling - you can find the details here. Instead of adding the tart filling to a raw pastry case, as in that particular recipe, the pastry case is baked blind once the clingfilm is removed.

When baking blind, the only thing I do differently, compared to regular shortcrust pastry, is to dry out the pastry case for a little longer than usual, at a lower temperature. I initially bake the case, lined with baking parchment and filled with baking beans, at 200C for about 12-15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160C, remove the parchment and beans and return the empty pastry case to the oven for about 20 minutes.

The filling for this tart is dense and fudgy, but as you don't add much extra sugar, it allows the flavour of the chocolate to dominate, so you need to choose a chocolate that you are happy  to eat on its own. The addition of the coffee is to further bring out the chocolate flavour, but I can't see any reason why other flavours couldn't be used too, such as orange zest. And, of course, if you don't need dairy/lactose-free, make it with butter and regular double cream.

As you can see, I served this tart with raspberries and there was also raspberry coulis and cream available.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Seeded Flapjack

made with caramelised condensed milk

After making the salted caramel and chocolate shortbread squares, I had half a tin of caramelised condensed milk to use up (this seems to be a constant refrain whenever I use condensed milk!). I wanted to make flapjacks, and decided to search for a new recipe, even though I have several recipes for flapjacks made with either condensed milk, or caramelised condensed milk already. I eventually found this one on a blog called Salutation Recipes; the photos attracted me initially, because the flapjacks looked dense and chewy, and when I read the description of 'fudgy', I knew I'd found what I was looking for! I didn't think substituting caramelised condensed milk for ordinary condensed milk would have any adverse affect on the recipe - if anything it would increase the fudginess (if that's even a word!).

To salve my conscience slightly, I decided to add 100g of mixed seeds - a mix of pumpkin, sunflower, sesame and linseed. I used light muscovado sugar instead of golden caster, and also left out the vanilla extract - it seemed like a waste of an expensive ingredient in this sort of thing.

The recipe is a bit vague about exact amounts and the cooking time, but these are the weights of the ingredients that I used - 125g butter, 100g golden syrup, 90g light muscovado sugar,  200g caramelised condensed milk, 280g rolled oats, 100g mixed seeds. After melting the butter, syrup and sugar together, I stirred in the caramel until smoothly blended, then added the oats and seeds to the saucepan (off the heat) and mixed thoroughly. After transferring the mixture to a lined 20cm square baking tin and spreading evenly and firmly, I baked for my usual flapjack time of 25 minutes at 180C (160C fan), and allowed the tray to cool for 10 minutes before marking into 16 squares.

The flapjacks seemed very crumbly at this stage, which was a little worrying, but once they were completely cold they had set into exactly what I was hoping for - dense, chewy, fudgy flapjacks. Almost perfect - they were still a little crumbly around the edges, but within acceptable limits!

I think all flapjacks benefit from some add-ins to counteract the uniformity of the oat base. In this case the seeds added some crunch to contrast with the chewiness, and also some extra flavour.