Using Gluten Free Pancake Mix for Ricotta Cheese and Dried Apricot Slice

Baked ricotta cheese and dried apricot slice recipe was developed out of necessity to utilise several boxes of different brands of gluten free pancake mixes. I bought all those boxes to write a review about commercially available gluten free  pancake mixes, but changed my mind later.

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My blog started to have a life of its own and, though I write reviews on commercial products when I use them, the main task of the blog is to share recipes, using mainly non-processed ingredients. I have to say, that all pancake mixed I tried, produced good, if not excellent pancakes, both in taste and texture. They were too sweet for us, but other than that, were delicious. The only problem I have with those pancakes, is their poor nutritional value. They contain predominantly starches and sugars, with other processed ingredients added to the mix, to make pancakes rise and become fluffy. It’s a convenient product, and in newly diagnosed coeliac or gluten intolerant person, they can satisfy cravings after total withdrawal of familiar, well-loved products. But I would not recommend them as a part of everyday diet.

In our household we  occasionally have excessive quantities of our homemade cottage cheese. Pancake mix from the box and an overflow of cottage cheese were happily joined together in this baked slice. To make sure that this recipe works with ricotta cheese, I made several bakes with regular ricotta cheese from supermarket. I used unpackaged one, from the Deli department, as it has the firmest consistency.

The recipe is very forgiving and precise measurements are not necessary. Pancake mixes provide the benefits of all necessary components for the bake in one ingredient. Batter will raise and the bake will have soft and airy texture without excessive moisture. If ingredients are beaten well together, the texture of ricotta cheese disappears from the bake,  and the slice tastes more like cake slice, not as cheesecake slice.

Ingredients:

  • ricotta cheese, 500g
  • eggs, 3 extra large
  • light sour cream, 3 table spoons
  • sugar, 2-4 table spoons, depending on how sweet you want your slices
  • vanilla sugar, 1 tea spoon
  • lemon essence or lemon zest. 1 tea spoon
  • dried apricots, diced, 1/2-2/3 cup (sultanas or currants can be used, they will make sweeter slices)
  • pancake mix from the box, 5-6-7 table spoons, 50-60-70g
  • unsalted butter and instant polenta (or mix of equal parts of granulated sugar and polenta) for baking tray

Preparation:

  • place ricotta cheese, eggs, sour cream, sugar, vanilla sugar, lemon essence in a deep bowl

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  •  beat on high using handheld or benchtop mixer until fully combined (4-5min)

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  • butter baking tray and use instant polenta on top of butter, I used 17x27cm tray, 3cm deep

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  • dice dried apricots and use 1-2 tea spoons of pancake mix to cover and separate individual pieces, this will provide even spread of apricot pieces in the batter, and prevent them concentrating in the bottom

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  • add pancake mix to the batter, mix it in with a whisk
  • add diced apricots
  • pour the batter into baking pan

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  • photo above shows double portion of ingredients, baking tray is overfilled, I had to take some batter out and bake it separately
  • bake at preheated to 160C fan forced oven, until golden brown and the middle of the bake is firm to touch

Those of you who follow my blog, know that I prefer to bake any runny cake or slice batters, starting in cold oven set to fan forced 170C. It works perfect in my oven and gives even raise and level surface of the final product.

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This batter can be baked as muffins, or in individual cups, as I had to do with my overflowing batter. I would not, however, bake it as a cake with some height to it.

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  • let the bake rest in the tray for 5-7 min
  • turn over the bake on a serving board

I never had any problems with turning over ricotta or cottage cheese bake when I applied butter and polenta, or butter and granulated sugar to non-stick baking tray. If you do not feel comfortable with my tray preparation, and are not confident that the bake will come out from the tray with undamaged crust, line the bottom of baking tray with buttered baking paper and carefully peel the paper after turning the bake over.

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  • dust with icing sugar when the slice cools down

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This bake can be sliced warm or even hot, and it will not crumble. The above photos were taken, when I doubled ingredient quantities for the bake and used Coles gluten free pancake mix. As the result all batter did not fit in the tray. Quantities, mentioned in the ingredient list, will make thinner slice in the listed size tray. Any shape and depth trays can be used for this bake. It will work for both thin and thick slices.

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Ricotta and dried apricot bake is much healthier alternative compared to pancakes themselves, made from the same box. In terms of nutritional value the bake provides right balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates, as well as many other macro and micro nutrients. Sugar quantity can be adjusted to individual taste. Sugar may be left out completely from the list of ingredients, while sweetness will come from pancake mix and dried apricots. This recipe is just a guidance, and can be changed to make more cheesecake or more cake consistency of the bake, by adjusting ricotta cheese and pancake mix quantities in the batter.  The box will last for 3-4 bakes.

Ricotta cheese or cottage cheese bake, using boxed pancake mixes, gives tasty gluten free product which can be used for packed lunches.

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