Dad just bought another box of pears at the market for $2! I know, it is a bit crazy isn’t it? Now we have a surplus of pears and I literally just finished making a batch of pear roll ups and I am stocked up on all my sauces… Too many pears and they are all ripening really fast! I decided to try make an apple pie but just substitute out the apple and put pears in instead. It worked out pretty well! I am not great with following recipes so I winged it this time around but here is the gist of it. I took a recipe for the pastry from the Taste.com.au website which was a plus because I could skip using the egg whites which is what my boyfriend thinks makes his hands itchy.
125g nuttelex, chilled and cubed (I used butter for this one)
1/3 cup caster sugar
1 egg yolk
A bit less than 1/4 cup cold water
8-9 small ripe pears (or enough to fill your pastry), peeled, cored and diced.
1/2 teaspoon of citric acid (adjust to taste)
Place flours, sugar and nuttelex in a food processor. Pulse for a bit and then blend on low till it resembles bread crumbs. You might need to stop and mix up the flour at the bottom.
Add the egg yolk and water and process till it forms a dough.
Take it out and knead into a ball and then wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes till firm.
Peel your pears and dice. If they are really ripe and soft like mine, then dice into larger cubes so they don’t turn into mush. If they are still a little firm still then go smaller so they can cook a bit when you bake the pie. If you have the type of pears that are hard then you will need to dice and then cook them on the stove till they are tender, just add a touch of water into the saucepan to avoid burning.
Add the citric acid to the pears and mix well.
When the dough is cooled take 2/3 of the mix and roll it out between two sheets of baking paper till it is about an inch bigger than your tart tin. Peel off the paper every now and again to avoid deep cracks and fix cracks as you go.
When it is big enough roll it onto your rolling pin and roll it on top of your tin. Push it in and fix up the edges.
Put the pear mix into the pastry shell, don’t put any of the juice at the bottom to avoid a soggy pastry.
Now roll out the last 1/3 of the dough cut into thin strips with a knife of a pizza cutter and criss-cross them on the top of the pie. Apply pressure to stick the dough together at intersections and the edge of the pastry.
If you want, you can brush the top of the pastry with the egg white or melted butter. I skipped this so it didn’t brown as much.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 40-45 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
Allow to cool and serve warm!
Serve with some vanilla custard or whipped cream. If we had Rice Dream ice cream, that would be perfect… Or maybe you could dust with some powdered sugar.
My parents and I found it tasted exactly like apple pie! Hope you enjoy it!
I don’t remember exactly the time when lemon meringue pies became my favourite dessert but it had to be relatively recent because I don’t normally like sweets. I used to make this pie quite often prior to meeting my coeliac boyfriend but since then I have eased off. This recipe was the first time I tried to make my own pastry which was so satisfying and actually not that hard! Since finding out I am sensitive to salicyates (amongst other things) I thought I wouldn’t be eating this again but actually with a few tweaks it can be failsafe and gluten free! I can’t remember where I got my first recipe for lemon meringue pie but here is my altered version which is pretty close to the original. There are a number of steps as you will be making three components: the pastry shell, the lemon filling and the fluffy meringue. Don’t be discouraged, its pretty easy!
3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon GF plain flour (I use Aldi’s)
1 tablespoon + 3 teaspoons caster sugar
120g nuttelex cut into pieces (or you can use butter)
1 large egg (~55g+)
4 tablespoons + 3 teaspoons GF cornflour
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup + 2 teaspoons “lemon juice” (use real lemon juice if you are not sensitive to salicylates)
2/3 cup + 1/4 cup water
60g nuttelex cut into pieces (or butter)
3 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites
3/4 cup caster sugar
Place flours, sugar and nuttelex in a food processor. Pulse for a bit and then blend on low till it resembles bread crumbs. You may need to stop and give it a mix as the dry flour tends to sink to the bottom and not become incorporated.
Add egg and process till it is incorporated and the mixture becomes clumpy. Again you may need to mix in the bottom.
Use your hands and knead it to form a dough ball. Slightly flatten it and wrap in cling film. Refrigerate for at least an hour. You need the butter to harden up or it will be too sticky to roll out.
Get two large sheets of baking paper (bigger than your tart tin) and place the unwrapped dough in between.
Roll the pastry and slowly turning and flipping. As you go alternate peeling off the baking paper to check your dough for cracks and holes. Push them together and fix up deep cracks made from the paper. Keep doing this until the pastry is large enough to cover the base of your tart tin and up the edge for the crust.
Once the dough is large enough an easy way to get it into the tin without breaking it is peel off one side of the paper and roll the dough over a rolling pin. Then peel off the other side of baking paper that should be on the top of the rolling pin. Then using the rolling pin, carefully line up the dough and roll it off the pin onto the tin.
Push the dough into the tin and up the sides. Fix it up and make it all fit into the tin.
Place one sheet of the used baking paper on top of the dough and put some pastry weights or rice on top before putting into an oven set at 180°C for 10 mins.
After 10 mins, take out the weight and bake for a further 10-15 mins till golden.
Set aside to cool completely.
In a saucepan, combine cornflour, sugar, lemon juice and water and stir till smooth.
Place the saucepan on medium-high heat and stir constantly until boiling.
Once it starts to boil turn the heat down to low and continue to stir for another 30-40 sec until mixture turns from cloudy to transparent and becomes thick and smooth. This is when the cornstarch cooks.
Remove from heat and vigorously stir in the nuttelex and egg yolks till combined.
Refrigerate till cold.
Once cold, fill the cold pastry shell.
Make sure all your utensils are DRY, this is essential for making meringues.
Place egg white in a large bowl and beat on high.
Gradually add sugar about 2 tablespoons at a time and continue to beat the egg whites,
Continue beating until all the sugar has been added and it has been dissolved. You will know when this is the case is when you rub meringue between your fingers it is smooth and there are no sugar crystals left. It should look thick and glossy.
Top the filled pie with the meringue making peaks and troughs to increase surface area,
Bake for 7-10 mins 200°C or till the meringue is slightly coloured.
Take out the pie and cool before putting it in the fridge to chill. If you cut it while hot the filling will leak out as it will not have set.
Using the Aldi flour blends result in a light and crumbly pastry that is quite fragile. You can experiment with other blends or try adding xanthan gum if you want to get it more like biscuity short crust pastry. I’m not too fussy which is why I never have bothered. It also keeps in the fridge for a few days. You can always adjust the lemon juice if you find it too acidic (or not acidic enough).
Now go and enjoy your pie made from scratch and with love!
Sometimes you need a treat. Especially if you have been doing the strict elimination diet! Well done if you have stuck with the diet because it is a KILLER! Honeycomb looks crazy hard to make but honestly it takes about 10 mins. Don’t be put off about working with liquid sugar as it is easy but do be careful not to burn yourself. Invest in a silicone spatula and maybe some cooking oil spray as it will make everything a breeze (and you waste less ingredients!). I bought my spatula from IKEA for about $2 and I honestly use it for everything. A spatula made out of silicone is especially good as it won’t melt at high temperatures such as working with liquid sugar. When working with liquid sugar and syrups a quick spray with cooking oil spray means things don’t get stuck and will just slip right off. This recipe comes from the RPAH Friendly Food book, but I think it’s pretty standard.
Get a tray and line with grease proof paper. Make sure you have it on something heat proof or you will ruin your counter top.
Put sugar, golden syrup and water into a saucepan on low heat. Don’t forget to spray your tablespoon with oil so the golden syrup doesn’t stick!
Stir till sugar dissolves and then bring to the boil for about 5 mins or till it gets to a caramel colour.
The next bit all goes really quick so get your bicarb soda ready. Prep your spatula by spraying it down with a little oil.
Take the syrup off the heat and then add the bicarb soda. It will fluff up like crazy so be careful of steam and will turn a creamy colour. Stir like mad to get all the bicarb soda mixed in (it’s not nice to get a clump of bicarb in your mouth). It will cool really rapidly so once all the bicarb is mixed in pour it onto the greaseproof paper and spread it out a little.
Leave it to cool, it will only take a few mins. When it’s cool you can break it up into shards. Store it in a dry airtight container.
Honeycomb is great on its own, coated with chocolate or carob or I put it in trifle. Honeycomb absorbs moisture and turns to goop so keep it dry.
Who would have thunk that you could do a dairy free (and failsafe) version of caramel! I gave this recipe a shot and it turned out pretty good! It definitely lacks that creamy smoothness that cream or cow’s milk would give but hey when you gotta be dairy free you can’t really complain right? The original recipe came from here but when I gave it a go it took a lot longer than described, probably around 45mins cooking time.
1 1/4 cups rice milk (I have used Aldi and homemade, or you can try any other milk)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Take your milk and heat up for 1-2 minutes in the microwave till it is warm. It doesn’t need to be hot hot.
Place the sugar in a wide pot so it makes a thin layer and place on medium heat.
Give the sugar at least 5 minutes to heat up and then you will notice it will start to liquefy. Agitate it around so that crystallised sugar can hit the pot and also liquify. If it is browning too fast turn down the heat a bit.
Once all the sugar is liquefied and the colour has developed to a nice caramel brown then grab your milk and pour it into the pot of liquid sugar. This will produce heaps of steam so stand back and keep stirring.
The milk is cool the sugar so it will become quite hard and separate from the liquid. Don’t worry, keep it on heat whilst stirring (you may want to increase the fire a bit since it cooled down) and it will eventually dissolve.
Once it has dissolved you can simmer the sauce till the desired consistency. For a runny and pourable sauce I simmered for close to 30 minutes. It looks quite thin because of the heat but once it cools it became thicker (I checked by taking less than a teaspoon out and cooling it on a plate to see the consistency). For a hard sauce suitable for a glaze I reduced it till it was thick whilst it was still hot (close to 45 mins).
When you have the right consistency then pour it into a jar and keep it in the fridge.
I have used this sauce on pancakes, mixed with icing sugar to make a doughnut glaze and in trifle. The possibilities are endless!
I was trying to find a way to have whipped cream to make trifle but I could only use rice milk because of my sensitivity to soy and salicylates. I found a recipe on wakingupvegan.com. However, I think due to lack of proteins and fat it never made a stiff whipped cream that dairy cream or coconut cream could made. The consistency of this “cream” was more like double cream, very pourable. It still sort of worked and for the purposes of the trifle, it sufficed. So here is the recipe!
For this I think a stick mixer is probably the best way to do this as it is a similar principle as the mayonnaise. Find a container that is thin and the stick mixer can fit at the bottom an extra centimeter or two to move around.
Place all ingredients in the container and use the stick mixer to whiz it up. Make sure to move the stick mixer around to make sure you get a complete emulsion of the oil and the water based ingredients.
Keep whipping till the required consistency, which was around double cream for me. If it gets hot place it in a larger bowl of ice or ice water as heat will split your cream.
Once done chill it in the fridge till you are ready.
I am so excited to write this post today! Just when I got back from overseas I went to the market with my dad to stock up on food since I had been away for 6 weeks and nothing was left in the house that was failsafe. We came home with a box of pears for $5! Yep, $5. Of course all the pears were nearly ripe so what to do with all the spoils and not enough tummy space for it? You find ways of preserving it, of which one of the ways to preserve fruit is to “leather”. Essentially it is to cook the fruit down to a pulp and then dehydrate it. When you dehydrate food you discourage yeast and bacterial growth because they need water to survive.
I found lots of posts on how to leather fruits and it really seems simple enough. The main steps are to chop up the fruit and boil it down to a puree. Then spread it out to dehydrate it. Once its dehydrated you can then rub it with sugar to help stop it from sticking to each other. A lot of the posts are for fruit other than pears and so when I experimented with it over the weekend I felt there were some things you could skip. So here is what I did to make my pear leather/roll-ups, it doesn’t have measured quantities so I will attempt to describe the process for you to get a feel on what to look out for.
White sugar (to taste and to rub on if you desire)
Citric acid (to taste)
A splash of water
Peel and chop up your pear. The smaller the pieces the quicker it cooks and becomes soft.
Place chopped pear in a saucepan with a little water over medium heat. You won’t need much water especially if your pears are very juicy. The water is there to stop the pears from burning as they start to cook. Once they start cooking they should release water and the less water you have to start with means less time to let it evaporate off.
Cook the pears over medium heat till they become soft and become a pulp. Once that happens you can lower the heat and keep reducing it till there is little water left. Especially look for a layer of water on the top of the pears when it is simmering, you want this to be gone.
Once as much water is evaporated off as possible without burning the pear pulp on the bottom, take it off the heat and let it cool for a bit.
Using a stick mixer (or any other equivalent appliance you have) puree the pear pulp till smooth. The smoother the better as it will mean you can have a nice even roll-up.
At this point, have a taste and see if it is sweet enough. If not, add a bit of sugar. Also, taste for a balance of some tartness and if it lacks then add a sprinkle of citric acid. You won’t need much citric acid as it is quite strong. Make sure you mix well (you can use the stick mixer for this).
Line a baking tray with some non-stick baking paper (or some people suggest heat proof cling wrap). Pour your pear puree on it and spread it out evenly to a few millimeters thickness.
Place it in an oven set around 70-80C or a dehydrator to dry for around 8 hours. The oven needs to be below 100C because then you will cause it to boil and caramelise into a hard mess. The aim is to just dry it without further cooking. Alternatively you could try leave it out for a few days. I did it in bursts in the oven over the course of two days to make sure I didn’t over dry it.
Feel to see if its dry, especially the middle of the tray as that is the last to dry out. If it is very sticky, it is not dry enough. When it dry enough it should be tough enough to be able to peel it off the baking paper without it ripping and it may look more translucent (see picture below). I wasn’t patient enough and the middle was still a little too soft.
When dry you can peel it of the baking paper, rub it with sugar to stop it sticking on everything and then cut it into strips.
Store in a dry, airtight container.
I am seriously rationing it because of all the fruit I cooked, it had low yields and I really must restrain myself if it is to last longer than a few days! It takes a lot of time but not much effort so seriously think of doing it because the taste is so worth it!
Happy belated Valentines day everybody! Sorry for the late post!
I thought that I would share this recipe for buckwheat sugar cookies because I made a whole heap of heart shaped ones! Granted, it was the only cookie cutter I had in the house but nevertheless these are quite easy to make and are tasty too! I found the original recipe on Pinterest here and adapted it to be Failsafe. The cookies look like just regular biscuits (see my pictures below), they turned out NOTHING like the picture on the other site. This made about 20 medium sized cookies.
125g nuttelex (butter or other margarines that can be tolerated)
120g white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
white sugar to sprinkle
Beat the nuttelex and sugar till creamy and then add the egg and beat till incorporated.
Add the dry ingredients (the two flours, sugar and baking powder). Mix around and then when it becomes more doughy then you can knead. It may still feel pretty wet though so you might just want to mix with a spoon.
When it is all mixed well roll into a ball and wrap it in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This helps harden the dough so you can roll it out.
Roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper till about 0.5cm thickness and use a cookie cutter to cut to the desired shape and size. Alternatively roll small balls and flatten out.
Sprinkle more sugar on the top.
Place on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20mins at 180C.
Cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.
For the past 2-3 months I have been on the RPAH elimination diet that removes preservatives, additives, colourings, amines, salicylates and glutamate from the diet. After almost 2 months it has finally been the best it has ever been in a very long time (without the need for UV therapy!). I am pretty happy with the result but I am still really dying to have more fruits and vegetables. Since I cannot have almost all fruit, veg and herbs and spices life is pretty bland. I haven’t been getting my sugar from fruits and so I am constantly craving cakes when I never have before. However, when I completed a challenge week that had a heap of fruit and veg I didn’t feel like eating cakes and pastries any more! Anyway, this custard recipe goes well with cakes and puddings or you could make it thicker and just eat it on its own. The original recipe is from here.
3 cups rice milk (or you could substitute it with any other milk)
3 tablespoons white sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Place the milk in a small saucepan with the sugar and heat on low to low-medium heat.
Place the cornstarch into a small cup and take a teaspoon or two of the heating milk to dissolve the cornstarch. Use more if its still pretty gluggy. Then add it to the saucepan and stir. Don’t add the cornstarch directly to the milk as it will form clumps that will never dissolve (I made that mistake this batch and you can see the clumps).
Add your vanilla essence and continue to heat till it starts simmering. At this point turn the heat down to low and keep stirring to avoid clumps or it burning at the bottom of the pan. Keep heating till it thickens and when it is the right consistency take it off the heat and cool. If you want it super thick you may need to add more cornstarch, and vice versa.
I had this custard with pear upside down cake and it was a treat!
Pages Cafe has been on my list to visit for a long time as it had rave reviews by a coeliac blogger. She wrote that they are very coeliac and cross-conmatination aware as the manager’s wife also has the condition. Not long after a Groupon voucher came out for breakfast for two at this cafe and I took it as a sign to visit! Pages cafe is located in Koorong Bookstore and opposite West Ryde Station. The place is well maintained, well lit and have plenty of seating outdoors next to the children’s playground.
The voucher was for two breakfasts and two drinks and we were surprised that we were not charged extra for having gluten free meals. I ordered the veggie breakfast (which isn’t gluten free) with a mocha. It was epically large and I struggled to finish it all! It came with wilted spinach, fried tomatoes, a perfectly poached egg, toasted sourdough bread and delicious fried halloumi cheese. To be honest, I only ordered this because halloumi cheese is my weakness… and it was totally worth it! Everything was delicious and I apologise for getting to the breakfast before I took a photo. In my defense I rode my bike to this place…
Half eaten veggie breakkie (Sorry!)
My boyfriend ordered a bacon, lettuce, avocado and tomato toasted sandwich on gluten free bread with a flat white coffee. However, he got to it before I could get a photo in! I guess you would just have to trust him that it was yummo! He did follow up his breakfast with a slice of gluten free almond and berry cake which I was able to quickly snap a photo. It was a large moist slice topped with icing sugar and some strawberry sauce.
Almond and berry cake
They have a lot of gluten free options at this place but unfortunately my boyfriend did feel a little sick later and we were not sure if there was some gluten contamination or it was something else that didn’t agree with his gut. It may have been the decorative sauce or icing sugar from the cake as we forgot to advise the server that he was a coeliac and just assumed they knew.
Another cool thing I found there was that they also do suspended coffees. If you haven’t heard of this yet, it means that you can essentially pre-pay someone else’s coffee. Someone who really needs a coffee and doesn’t have enough money can then go in and ask the counter if there are any suspended coffees available and get one if there is. I have heard many coffee places do this in America.
All in all, the meals here are delicious, good value for money and they have a large range of gluten free options just make sure you are very clear about being coeliac!
***Originally published Jul 2014 on my previous blog***