A Guide to Gluten Free Pastry.
Since knowing I had a gluten intolerance, I avoided pastry like the plague. It was never going to work. Damn gluten free pastry. Always collapsing, falling apart, breaking, burning, crumbling, singing Justin Beiber; you name it. So I scrapped it all together for around a year until I was feeling up for experimenting again.
I’ve learnt a lot in the past two months about how to master an edible gluten free crust. It was definitely a challenge, but once you know how it’s simple. Honestly.
The things I’ve learnt are:
Never really handle your pastry at all.
Your body temperature will just spoil all those cold ingredients, which help to make a pastry crust well formed. You need all the help you can get. A food processor is excellent to pulse the ingredients slowly together. If you don’t have a food processor, bringing the mixture together with a spatula that’s been in the freezer for half and hour is a good alternative.
Baking Paper is your saviour.
When I mean don’t touch your pastry at all. I really do mean it. Once you’ve combined your pastry together, roll into a ball with a spoon and transfer onto a big sheet of baking paper. Layer on another sheet on baking paper on top of the ball of pastry and roll out so it’s big enough for your tart tin. Place in the fridge for an hour to set. Then when you’re ready, simply take off the top layer and flip over into your tin, this is a foolproof method in my opinion to get a really even crust.
Gluten Free pastry can burn easily.
Using ground nuts in crust recipes is tasty and really combines well, but it does burn super quickly. When pre-baking the crust, even though a recipe may say 15 mins, keep an eye on it every 3 mins. Oven’s do vary and I’ve been left with very burnt pastry… !
Here’s a recipe I’ve put together for any gluten free pastry virgins, take your time, and enjoy.
I was undecided on whether to make an apple tart or a huge jam tart so I combined the two. Huzzah. One of my favourite combinations: Apple and Raspberry, and the perfect thing to make as the summer turns into autumn…
Gluten Free Apple and Raspberry Jam Tart with a Hazelnut Crust.
(Adapted slightly from Honeybun’s Peach and Apricot tart crust recipe- found in their Gluten Free Baking book)
Fits a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin.
40g Chilled Butter, cut in cubes
60g Ground Hazelnuts
35g Icing Sugar
20g Sorghum flour (or Brown Rice Flour)
30g Tapioca flour
¼ Teaspoon of baking powder
1 egg yolk
2 tsp’s of Milk
Extra butter for greasing the tart tin.
3 Tablespoons of Good quality, Seedless Raspberry Jam
Knob of butter
3 Granny Smith Apples, cored peeled and sliced thinly.
3tsps of Cinammon
Grating of Nutmeg
2 tablespoons of Light Muscavado Sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
Squeeze of Honey
Pop the flours, ground hazelnuts, butter, icing sugar, baking powder into a food processor or fridge cold mixing bowl.
Pulse or work your butter into the pastry until big crumbs form. If you aren’t using a food processor go for a cold fork.
Add your egg yolk and combine into the crumb mixture. Add the milk very gradually until the mixture is smooth but not too wet. If the mixture does get a bit wet, add a teaspoon of tapioca flour. Not wet enough? Add a tinsy bit of milk.
Lay out one sheet of baking paper and place the ball of pastry dough on top. Avoid touching with warm hands! Lay another sheet of baking paper on top of the ball of pastry and roll evenly with a rolling pin. You want your pastry to be around half a centimetre thickness.
Roll until it fits your tart tin size. Pop in the fridge for a good hour till cold. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees C. Line your tart tin with baking parchment and grease well.
Take out your pastry and peel off the top layer of baking parchment. Flip onto the greased tart tin and as it may be stiff, carefully ease the pastry into the sides with your hands.
Take off the baking parchment carefully and hide any holes with pastry from the outside by pressing it in with your fingers. Prick the pastry with a fork all over and pop in the oven for 10-12 mins until golden brown. Keep an eye on it after 5 mins.
The ground hazelnuts will burn quickly! Take out your cooked pastry and leave to one side to cool completely.
Place a big knob of butter into a sauté pan. Add in your sliced apples, cloves and heat slowly on a low heat until the apples have been coated.
Take the apples off the heat, add in the cinnamon, honey, nutmeg and sugar and mix well. Put the apples back onto a higher heat until the mixture has all come together and the apples have soften a bit more. Don’t soften your apples too much or the assembly process will be rather difficult!
Set your apples aside to cool slightly. Spread the raspberry jam in the pastry case so it forms and even layer, no more than a coating or it will become very watery with the apples and as Mary Berry says, ‘you don’t want a soggy bottom’.
Assemble your slightly warm apples onto the jam base. I like to form mine like flower petals but you can go round in a spiral which also looks cool.
Squeeze over a drizzle of honey and sprinkle over a bit of sugar and cinnamon. Pop back into the preheated 170dc oven for 10-15 mins.