Light Lemon Cheesecake

Recently we had our traditional, school holidays Girls Lunch. And for the first time my lovely almost sister in-law was able to come. Man can she cook … with the beautiful cheesecake she brought along, she seriously raised the standard for dessert!

Since it was school holidays my bigger boys were there and my biggest boy, Will, was particularly enamoured with this cake. When we saw fresh raspberries on sale in the shops the following day he begged me to make him one ‘like Aunty Michelle made’. How could I resist?

Trouble was, that there was almost no safe ingredients in it for us – so we set about experimenting. For the first time I tried something really cool …. replacing pouring cream with whipped aquafaba. Yep, allergy friendly and it just about halved the calories for the dessert – win!! Hope that you enjoy it as much as we did!

  • 350g soy cream cheese (we use Tofutti)
  • 6 tbsp aquafaba (the liquid drained from a can of chick peas), slightly warmer than room temp
  • pinch  of cream of tartar
  • 1/3 cup icing sugar (increase to half a cup if you like sweeter, less tart desserts)
  • zest 1 lemon, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tsp powdered gelatine
  • 60 mls warm water
  • 350g GF/DF/EF gingernut biscuits (we use the Leda brand)
  • 110g Nuttelex or other vegan butter
  • 200g fresh raspberries
  • fresh mint to garnish

In your food processor place the gingernuts and process until they are a fine crumb (Speed 6, 8 seconds).

Add in the Nuttelex and pulse multiple time until you have a crumb that resembles wet sand.

Grease your dish and tip the crumb into it. Press down firmly into the tin, making sure that you press the mixture a little way up the side of the dish too. Place in fridge.

Mix together the gelatine and warm water and whisk with a fork until dissolved. Set aside. Then work quickly so the gelatine isn’t sitting for too long.

In the small bowl of your stand mixer, place the aquafaba and the cream of tartar and beat on very high speed until soft peaks form (about 5 minutes). Set aside.

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In the large bowl of your mixer place the soy cheese, lemon juice and zest, sugar and beat until smooth, soft and creamy. Add in the gelatine mix and beat again until well incorporated. (Use the blunt blade for 20 seconds on speed 4, the add gelatine and use speed 4 for for a further 8 seconds).

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Pour in the beaten aquafaba and fold through until evenly distribute. (Attach butterfly/mixing tool and use speed 3 for about 20 seconds).

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the biscuit base, top with fruit and place in the fridge to set for 2 hours.

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Garnish with mint and serve.

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Makes about 12 slices.

To make this a vegan dish you just need to replace the gelatine with agar agar, probably 2 tsp … but I haven’t experimented with the liquid quantity required yet (as you need to bring the powder and liquid to the boil and then simmer for a few minutes before using the gel it forms). Please let me know if you do!

Enjoy 🙂

Mini Cherry tarts

Christmas in Australia may not have snow and all of the wintery things that we are always seeing in movies and on Christmas cards – but we do have amazing fruit, stone fruit in particular.

It’s a tough call for me between cherries and mangoes, but invariably, close to Christmas, cherries go on sale at the markets …. and I wind up with a tummy ache from over-indulging 😉

These little tarts are made with the same pastry as my Fruit Mince Pies .

  • 1 1/4 cup plain GF flour (or 1 1/3 cups spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp psyllium OR 1 heaped tsp almond meal (omit this if you use spelt/wheat)
  • 1/3 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pure cornflour
  • 1/4 cup custard powder (Well and Good make a good allergy safe mix)
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • 125g Nuttelex, or other vegan butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas) OR the yolk of 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp port or sherry

Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse briefly to combine.

Add in Nuttelex and pulse several times, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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Mix together the aquafaba and port and add it into the mix whilst processing (Speed 3 on a themal cooker). Add a little more flour if dough is too wet.

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Tip mixture on to a floured surface and knead gently (Speed 1, 20 seconds).

Bring into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1-2 hours).

Roll 2/3 of the pastry out on a floured surface to about 3-4mm thick.

Cut into circles, large enough to cover the base and sides of your tart shells. I used my muffin tin, so a  scone cutter was a good size.

Line the muffin tins and place the pastry base inside.

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To make the Cherry Filling

  • 220g fresh cherries, pitted (weigh after you remove seeds)
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 tsp pure corn flour
  • 1/3 cup water.

Place the cherries, sugar, vanilla and water in a large saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until the cherries are quite soft and have released a lot of their juices, use a fork to help break them down a bit – don’t mash them though. (90C, Speed 2, 12 mins in a Thermal cooker).

Add in the cornflour and mix very well until completely dissolved. Cook over low heat, stirring for a further 2 minutes. (Speed 2, 90C, 2 minutes).

Place a spoon of the warm cherry filling inside the tart shells.

Roll out rest of the pastry and cut out in the shape of stars, place them on top of the pies.

Bake in 180 C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool completely before dusting with pure icing sugar and eating.

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Makes about 16 and they’ll last for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge

Enjoy 🙂

Fruit Mince Pies

These little bites are a regular feature at Christmas time in Australia … in fact, I’m pretty sure that they start appearing in shops about September … so hard to resist them!

I have posted previously a healthier version but I had a request from my biggest boy to ‘please just make them normal, like with the pastry from the shops’. Ok. I know when I’m beat!

I was lucky enough to be given a jar of my mum’s amazing fruit mince so I still haven’t gotten around to making my own … one day 😉

So you’ll need a fruit mince filling as well as the pastry.

  • 1 1/4 cup plain GF flour (or 1 1/3 cups spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp psyllium OR 1 heaped tsp almond meal (omit this if you use spelt/wheat)
  • 1/3 tsp GF baking powder
  • 1/4 cup pure cornflour
  • 1/4 cup custard powder (Well and Good make a good allergy safe mix)
  • 1/2 cup pure icing sugar
  • 125g Nuttelex, or other vegan butter, cold
  • 1 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chick peas)
  • 1 tbsp port or sherry

Place all dry ingredients into food processor and pulse briefly to combine.

Add in Nuttelex and pulse several times, until mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

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Mix together the aquafaba and port and add it into the mix whilst processing (Speed 3 on a themal cooker). Add a little more flour if dough is too wet.

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Tip mixture on to a floured surface and knead gently (Speed 1, 20 seconds).

Bring into a ball, cover in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 1-2 hours).

Roll pastry out on a floured surface to about 3mm thick.

Cut into circles, large enough to cover the base and sides of your tart shells. I used my mini muffin tin, so a small round scone cutter was a good size.

Grease the muffin tins, place the pastry base inside, then fill lined tart shells with about a  teaspoon of the fruit mince.

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Roll out rest of the pastry and cut out in the shape of stars, place them on top of the pies.

Bake in 180 C pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool completely before dusting with pure icing sugar and eating. Makes about 14 and they’ll last for about a week in an airtight container.

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Wishing you a joyous and peaceful Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour.

 

Looking forward to sharing more with you in the New Year!

Chocolate Tarts

My precious girls turns 4 this week.

That tiny, fragile bundle that arrived into such a boisterous house has had massive impact on our lives. Despite her size (which she will quite happily stamp her foot and tell you is ‘just the right size for me!’) she is strong, feisty, fiercely determined and independent as well as being funny, clever and kind. She is an absolute delight and the way that she deals with all of the challenges life has thrown at her is admirable to say the least!

She requested a High Tea for her Birthday … so an Ellie Safe High Tea it was. Watching her be able to serve herself and hearing her squeal ‘I can eat EVERYTHING!’ was worth every second of baking!

We had Chocolate Truffles, Mini Doughnut Muffins, Blueberry friands, Sweet and Salty Puffed corn, Chevup Sausage rolls, Gingerbread muffins, Chocolate tarts, Cucumber and soy cream cheese rye sandwiches (crust off of course!) and wholegrain rice crackers piped with hummus.

Don't think she could be any happier!
Don’t think she could be any happier!

The chocolate tarts were new to us and they were very tasty!

I used the vegan version of my Sweet Shortcrust Pasty. Half the quantity in the recipe makes 12 mini tart cases.

Use a large scone cutter to make circles of pasty, then press into a lined muffin tin and bake in a preheated moderate oven for about 12-15 minute.

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Remove from oven and allow to cool before removing from patty pan.

While the cases cool, make the chocolate custard.

I made the chocolate version of my Thick Custard, but I used chocolate almond milk this time for a bit more flavour. Reduce the cornflour to 25g. (The 12 tart cases use only half the quantity of custard made by this recipe).

As soon as custard is ready, pour it into the cooled tart cases and place in the fridge for 2 hours to set.

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Dust with icing sugar to serve.

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Makes 12 and they last (if there are any left!) for several days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Enjoy 🙂

Choc chip Gingerbread Muffins

I love any excuse to bake … and Christmas provides SO many opportunities!!!

These delicious little morsels are a cross between my doughnut muffins and my Christmas pancakes.

See below the recipe for a gluten free Coeliac friendly version too.

  • 200g wholemeal spelt flour
  • 80g coconut sugar
  • 1.5 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp No Egg powder
  • 1.5 tsp GF baking powder
  • 65g rice bran oil
  • 240g milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup vegan choc chips

In a large bowl place the flour, sugar, salt, spices, egg replacer and baking powder. Use a whisk to combine the dry mix. (or Speed 4 for 6 seconds)

In a separate smaller bowl whisk together the oil and milk.

Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and whisk vigorously to combine mix until smooth. (Speed 5, 8 seconds)

Mix through the choc chips (speed 4, 5 seconds)

Place into lined/greased muffin pans and bake in a preheated 180C oven for about 20 minutes.

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Mini muffins take 12-15 minutes.

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To make these Coeliac friendly replace the spelt flour with 200g of a gluten free flour mix plus 1 tsp of psyllium.

Makes 12 regular or 24 mini muffins.

These freeze and defrost really well.

Enjoy 🙂

Gingerbread for houses

A few years ago Libby posted this amazing Gingerbread recipe and it has been my go to Christmas cookie recipe ever since.

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Everyone loves this gingerbread, but it can be a little soft for construction work! Since we make our own Gingerbread houses, I’ve been playing around with the recipe to come up with a harder gingerbread that stands up to the building process a little better but still meets all of our allergy requirements and this is it.

If you are making this mix in a Thermal Cooker, you will need to be mindful of the weight capacity limit of the machine – I do only a half batch at a time in my Bellini. This recipe does make a large quantity of dough, and half is more than enough for a house and some cookies.

  • 250g Nuttelex
  • 180g brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp aquafaba (liquid drained from a can of chic peas) OR 1 egg worth of egg replacer
  • 300g honey or golden syrup
  • 800-900g plain g.f. flour
  • pinch salt
  • 5 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 2.5 tsp bicarb soda
  • 125ml boiling water

In your stand mixer, cream dairy free spread and sugar until light and fluffy (Speed 5, 10 seconds, scrape down and repeat twice).
In the small bowl of your mixer place the aquafaba and beat it until frothy – you don’t need to go as far as sort peaks forming. Add this mix into the beaten sugar mix and beat to combine. (Speed 4, 8 seconds)

Add in the honey (or syrup) then mix well (Speed 4, 12 seconds)

Mix together dry ingredients and then add to mixture in parts alternating with bicarb soda dissolved in the boiling water. Start with 800g of flour then add more 1 tbsp at a time if the mixture feels too soft. I used a full 900g last time. (Set machine on speed 4 for about 3 minutes to allow you to add mix through the measuring cup opening while the machine mixes).
Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours – overnight
Remove dough from fridge and allow to sit for 5 minutes, then roll dough out (use a little pure cornflour to dust the surface) and cut out to shape.
Lay on lined baking trays and place in a preheated 170C (or 160C fan forced) oven for about 15 minutes.

They will be browned and still slightly soft to touch when removing from oven
Remove from oven but leave on tray for 5 mins before transferring to a wire rack.

Then you just need to get building!

For a fabulous egg free Royal icing (to use as your cement) check out this one. I made and used 2/3 of this recipe to construct and decorate our house. (For a thermal cooker: place icing sugar in bowl and set machine to speed 4 for about 2 minutes, add lemon juice and glycerine through the measuring cup opening in the top. Mix until thick and well combined … you probably won’t need all of the 2 minutes!)

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My 3, 5 and 7 year old decorated ours this year and they are very proud of the outcome!

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Hope you are enjoying Christmas baking as much as I am 🙂

Sweetened Condensed Almond Milk (and Dulce de Leche)

Sweetened Condensed milk is so useful in baking – but when you can’t have dairy it rules it out.

The fats in dairy milk and coconut milk make them really good for reducing into condensed milk – but we’re not huge fans of coconut, so I have tried to condense oat milk and rice milk before but without huge success.

More recently I had a go at almond milk. I was a bit hesitant at first but it seemed to be taking forever  but I was patient (well … probably just stubborn!) and it worked – and worked beautifully!!! And even better, this one is free of refined sugar – Yay!

It isn’t super sweet (on purpose) but if you prefer a much sweeter version increase the syrup to 150g.

  • 500ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 100g rice malt syrup

Place both ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, turn down to a gentle simmer and allow to reduce by half, stirring regularly. Takes close to 2 hours.

In a Thermal Cooker, bring to the boil by using ST temp, on speed 1 for about 6 minutes, then, remove the measuring cup to all the steam to escape, turn the temperature down to 90C and leave on speed 1 for an hour. Check on it after an hour and set for another half an hour, then 5-10 minutes at a time after that, until the liquid has reduced by about half. Will take close to 2 hours

So simple! 500ml of milk gives about 240ml of condensed milk (equivalent of 1 tin). Store in the fridge for a few days.

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If you allow the liquid to reduce even further (about another 20 or 30 minutes) you will get an amazing, thick, creamy dulce de leche that you can use as a caramel in baking, a dip for fruit …. or just eat with a spoon!! I’ve added some Himalayan salt to mine at the beginning of cooking to give a salted caramel. Mmmmm!!

500ml of milk gives about 100g of Dulce de Leche.

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Enjoy!!