1 Mar 2010

Bash it about gluten free pastry

I am a competent cook, but I have never had the skill or patience to make pastry. The only times I have made it, it has strunk, cracked and crumbled (I was clearly destined for life with gluten free pastry) and to be honest I blame my hot hands. I think there is a real art to pastry making and when I was in Paris before Christmas I gazed in admiration at the Patisserie windows brimming with thin, delicate buttery pastry. It is a skill that I lack.

But it is also a skill I no longer need. Living on a gluten free diet I wholeheartedly embrace the essential skill of problem solving to navigate my foodie desires. It has to be said that there are times when I crave a little pastry case enveloping a thick chocolate ganache, especially the case in Paris. But the time I crave pastry most is at Christmas.

I know this is the most unseasonal of blog posts, however I had such fun using up all my Christmas-y leftovers and such a result with the pastry that I wanted to share it with you now. After all, you can eat pastry all year, especially as quiches which I love and this savoury almost cheesy (without any cheese in) recipe can be found in a new eagerly awaited recipe book in the Coeliac world.

To be honest, I wasn’t waiting for this one. I have one very good gluten free book, but find much more inspiration in my growing and varied normal collection. However having been on the telly with him, and tasted not one but two of the recipes in the book on live tv (thanks for the warning Fern – not!) I thought it would make a nice little memento. To be honest, I was also curious as to what it would contain as he told me on the show how he’d been working on it for more than two years. So my lovely mother bought it for me for 

But Christmas came and went and the leftover icing and mincemeat glared at me every time I entered the kitchen waiting to be made into something delicious... mince pies. I no longer get the chance to overindulge in mince pies at Christmas since the gluten free ones are so expensive. But this easy to make pastry provided the flaky base and was perfect for my hot hands and lack of pastry skills. You don’t even have to roll it out... just bash it into the tin.

110g rice flour
70g cornmeal
45g corn flour
100g butter
1 tsp xanthan gum
Pinch of salt
1 medium egg
Oil or butter for greasing

Preheat oven to 190°C and grease a 23cm round tin
Put all the ingredients except the egg into the food processor and blend into fine breadcrumbs
Add the egg and pulse until the mixture begins to come together. You may need to add a few drops of cold water
Tip out onto the surface and knead into a smooth dough
Shape the dough into a long shape and cut 1 cm thick circles and press into the base of the tin, joining up the circles by pressing them together and up the sides of the tin. Be sure to press it to about ½ cm thick and no thinner and get seamless seals in the pastry as on cooking it can crack and leave holes that leak filling.
Bake the pastry blind for about 15minutes and leave to cool, then use for sweet or savoury fillings.
I used sweet mincemeat and a thin layer of icing for indulgent mince pies and also for a leek and mascarpone tart.

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