EXTRACT: The Family Friendly Gluten free Cookbook


CUSTARD SQUARES


These are easy and will disappear before your eyes.

No nuts, soy -makes 20

1/2 batch gluten-free sweet pastry (see below)

90g custard powder

110g caster (superfine) sugar

1 & 1/2 litres milk

2 tsp vanilla essence

Icing

1 batch Fluffy Icing (see below)

1 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4. Grease and line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Line a 20cm by 30cm baking tin with baking paper also.

Halve the pastry. On a floured surface roll each piece separately out to a rectangle as close as possible to the size of the baking tin. Your pastry should be very thin - no more than 3mm. Carefully place pastry on the baking trays.

Bake both pieces for 10-15 minutes, or until light golden brown. Prick any bubbles that form with a sharp knife or skewer. Leave to cool on the baking trays.

In a saucepan, use a wooden spoon to mix custard powder and sugar with 250ml of the milk. Once lump-free, add the rest of the milk and then slowly heat through, stirring frequently as it thickens. Once custard has reached a very thick consistency and no longer tastes floury, remove from the heat and stir in vanilla. This will take at least 10-15 minutes. Be careful not to let it stick and burn, or over-boil.

Carefully place one piece of cooled pastry in the base of the baking tin, then pour on the hot custard. Carefully place the second piece of pastry on top, with the flat side facing upwards, and press it down lightly. Leave to cool completely.

Mix the icing with the vanilla and spread evenly over the pastry. Leave to set. Slice into 20 squares. Can be stored in the fridge for up to five days.

Sweet Pastry

This makes quite a large batch of dough; however, it freezes very well. For dairy-free, replace the butter with the same quantity of coconut oil; the pastry will be a little more fragile to work with.

No nuts, soy -makes about 800g, freezes well

200g butter

140g potato starch

120g rice flour

160g fine cornmeal (fine polenta)

110g caster (superfine) sugar

2 tsp guar or xanthan gum (a mix of both works best)

2 eggs

2-4 tbsp cold water

extra rice flour

Cut butter into cubes and place in the bowl of a food processor. Add all dry ingredients and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Pour the mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the water. Using a wooden spoon, mix together very slowly, adding drops of water until the mixture forms into large lumps.

With dry hands, squeeze the dough together to form a ball. If it still seems very crumbly, add a bit more water; however, be careful not to add too much - the dough will bind together once kneaded. The amount of water required will be determined by the size of the eggs, the temperature and humidity.

Using a small amount of rice flour, lightly flour a clean, dry work surface. Empty the dough on to the floured surface and knead together.

Wrap in cling film and store in the refrigerator until required, or freeze the day it is made.

Allow pastry to reach room temperature before rolling out and using. It can be defrosted in the microwave on low, but be careful not to melt it.

Fluffy Icing

Makes 750ml

75g dairy-free margarine

480g icing (powdered) sugar

3-4 tbsp warm water

Using an electric mixer, cream margarine and 160g of the icing sugar until very white and fluffy. Slowly add remaining icing sugar and some water, until you reach the desired consistency.


The Family Friendly Gluten-free Cookbook, by Sarah King, with photography by Devin Hart, New Holland Publishers, $39.99.

- Hamilton News

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