Gluten Free Christmas Biscuits and Lemon Mince Pies

Nothing gets me better in a festive spirit as Christmas baking. This year I decided to add the variety of biscuits with homemade marmalade from our own lemons to the compulsory wild cranberry jam biscuits.

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To make dough for biscuits I use 2 variations of gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry. The recipe for the original shortcrust pastry made from the mix of fine rice flour and Orgran gluten free all purpose plain flour you can find here.  The second recipe uses rice flour and Well and Good gluten free Pastry Flour and can be found here.

Wild cranberry jam biscuits

For wild cranberry biscuits I use German manufactured jam, which is naturally rich in pectin and is very handy for baking.

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It is easier to make these biscuits using the second pastry recipe, which makes the dough more pliable. The dough is rolled on dusted surface and cut in squares. Half a tea spoon of jam is spread on diagonal and 2 corners of the dough are turned inside to meet in the middle. Biscuits are baked in preheated to 170C fan-forced oven until golden brown on the edges. After they cooled down on the rack, dust them with icing sugar.

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Lemon and pistachio biscuits

This year we had plenty of lemons, and for the first time I made marmalade from lemon juice and lemon zest. It is quite tart and thick, and is ideal for baking. I made lemon and pistachio biscuits the same way I make orange and pistachio biscuits. I simply used lemon marmalade instead of orange marmalade. Any thick and tart marmalade or jam can be used to make these biscuits. Roll one thin layer of shortcrust pastry, cover it with jam of your choice, place the second pastry layer, brush it with egg wash and sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachio nuts and Demerara or Muscovado sugar.

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Cut individual biscuits and bake them in preheated to 170C fan-forced oven until becoming golden. Rest them on a wire rack.

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Any pastry offcuts can be rolled together to make mini-strudel biscuits.

Lemon mince pies

This year I wanted to make completely new type of sweet treats using fruit mince pies as prototype.

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With a shortcrust pastry it is not necessary to grease baking pans and I like to use shallow mini muffins baking tray. It is easy to cut pastry pieces for pie shells with cookie cutter. I place each piece in position on a tray, add 1 full tea spoon of filling, cover with another, smaller piece of pastry, brush it with an egg wash, place half of hazelnut on top, and bake as all shortcrust biscuits, in preheated to 170C fan-forced oven.

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For the filling for 12 lemon mince pies, I used 4 serving spoons of lemon marmalade, 4 finely chopped serving spoons of mixed lemon and orange peel and 2 table spoons of almond meal. I also put 1 Morello cherry (dried on paper towel) in the middle, before placing the second piece of pastry to partially cover the filling.

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Biscuits, made from shortcrust pasty, can be kept for 2-3 weeks in air-tight container or biscuit tin. In humid environment they will absorb moisture. All these biscuits and lemon mince pies look pretty on Christmas table and can be made into a beautiful gift.

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Making biscuits finishes all preliminary preparations for Christmas. All what is left now, is final cooking and baking the day before Christmas day. Wishing all my readers inspiration and the best of luck for your very special gluten free cooking!

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