One Year Blog Anniversary and New Year’s Bake

It has been a year since I started to publish my recipes of gluten free cooking and baking regularly. To mark this occasion and to make our New Year’s eve special, I decided to have a simple bake of indulgent pastries we like – speck pastries to have with quail broth as main dish, and poppy seed pasties with almond icing to have for desert.

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Originally, my goals were simple and moderate, to publish recipes of everyday and celebratory dishes, which I have created or adapted gluten free and cook on regular basis. I wanted to include step by step details and instructions for the most difficult or unusual ones to make sure that anyone can make them.

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But as soon as I have started, I got completely captivated by not what I have already done, but what I did not touch in my cooking. In my mind to have a “proper” gluten free cooking space, you have to provide recipes on all major subjects at least in baking, where the main point of wheat and other gluten containing grains exclusion applies. As fast as I was publishing my recipes, the list of what I have to do grew even faster. It was a blessing in disguise. I had to venture into areas I never planned to go. Boxed bread mixes, yeast breads and dough, pasta dough, alternative to corn and rice grains, sugar free and grain free adventures were never on my list, but they demanded my attention, too. There were also some accidental amazing discoveries that will stay in my cooking repertoire forever. One of this discoveries is fermented garlic, red chili peppers and parsley paste. I use it in nearly everything, make new portion as soon as the previous one finishes, and will be lost without it in my cooking. I made fermented carrots with garlic and ginger just to try fermentation technique for another vegetable. We liked the product so much, that we keep making it and always have a jar of fermented carrots in the fridge.

With broadening my horizons in cooking, many new products and dishes came into our life. All benefits for us are simply hard to mention. One main and substantial benefit I consider the discovery of the gluten free range of products from Well and Good. I dedicated special post to that company and will only mention that their Pastry Flour and Bread mixes, in particular, Chia and Crusty Bread mixes, changed the quality of the dishes I was able to create and elevated the sophistication of gluten free bakes to the level I was not able to reach before. Today’s bake is another proof of that.

I wanted to make the dough flexible enough to make both savoury and sweet pastries out of it. Crusty Bread mix is a perfect starting point. There are recipes in this blog to make variety of savoury pastries and sweet scrolls from this bread mix. Today I made slightly different version of the dough in a one step mix, divided the dough in 2 equal portions and baked Latvian speck and onion pastries and poppy seed scrolls with some minor changes. Step by step instructions, illustrated by photos can be found respectively here and here.

Ingredients:

dough

  • Crusty Bread mix box by Well and Good (all ingredients from the box)
  • 50g tapioca flour
  • 400ml warm water
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 2 table spoons Lurpak butter soft unsalted
  • 2 table spoons granulated sugar

Speck filling

  • 150g smoked speck/bacon, fat trimmed
  • 1 leek, coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 table spoon unsalted butter
  • 1 table spoon olive oil
  • 1 tea spoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tea spoon my garlic and chili paste, optional

Poppy seed paste

  • 100g poppy seeds
  • 150ml milk
  • 20g unsalted butter
  • 50g honey
  • 30g sugar
  • 50g finely chopped orange peel

Almond icing

  • 30g cooking white chocolate
  • 2 table spoons 35% fat whipping cream (I have since used crème fraiche for this icing, and it gave even better results, adding a little lift to the sweetness of the icing)
  • 50g Orchard almond icing (bought in Aldi, labelled gluten free)

Egg wash

  • 1 extra large egg
  • 2 table spoons water

Lurpak unsalted butter soft to brush speck pastries after baking.

Quail broth with speck pastries

Quail broth was a leftover from the preparation of quail and leek filling for our Christmas ravioli. Today I have just defrosted the broth and used some fresh coriander to garnish it.

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Preparation:

Dough

  • in a large bowl mix 50g of tapioca flour with the whole pack of the Crustry bread flour mix (400g)
  • measure 400ml of warm water and mix in the contents of yeast sachet, add sugar and dissolve it
  • add butter soft and let it dissolve
  • add wet ingredients to the flour mix, mix with wooden spoon until combined (I like to do it with my hand)
  • add eggs and combine everything together until smooth
  • let it stand for 15 min
  • dust the working surface with rice flour provided in Crusty Bread mix box
  • dust your hands and the dough, knit just to make sure that it is homogenous, the dough will be soft, but workable
  • divide the dough in 2 equal parts

Speck filling

  • prepared as here, with the ingredients listed above

Poppy seed paste

  • cook poppy seeds with honey, sugar, milk and butter for 15-20 min on low heat, until it reaches porridge consistency, when cooled down will solidify
  • chop orange peel, mix finely chopped peel with poppy seed paste

Making speck pastries and poppy seed scrolls

  • cut the first part of the dough into 14 pieces, shape them as round balls
  • roll each ball with a rolling pin into the circle, 7-8mm thick
  • place speck filling in the middle
  • press both edges of the dough together, place pastries, the seam down, on a lined with baking paper tray
  • brush it with egg wash, cover with wet towel and leave to raise in a warm place for 30-60min, depending on temperature in the room
  • bake in preheated to 190C fan forced oven (I place baking tray in the oven, when the temperature reaches 100C) until golden brown
  • brush pastries with butter soft, place them on a wire rack and cover with dry towel to rest for 15-20min

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  • roll the second part of the dough into a square, 7-8mm thick
  • spread poppy seed paste as an even layer, leaving 2 cm on the top uncovered, if the paste is too hard, warm it a little by placing the bowl with paste into a larger bowl with warm water
  • roll the dough with poppy seed paste into a log
  • brush the top edge the dough with egg wash to seal
  • place the log, seam down
  • cut 3cm pieces and place them on lined baking tray either as is, or turn it to stand vertically on a tray
  • brush pastries with egg wash
  • let them raise for 30-60min in warm environment
  • bake in preheated to 190C fan forced oven until golden brown (in my oven I set the temperature to 190C, start the oven and place the baking tray into the oven when the temperature reaches 100C; this baking regime gives the soft and delicate inside and nice crust on the top and sides
  • prepare the icing 5 min before scrolls are ready to take from the oven
  • warm white chocolate with whipping cream on water bath until liquid and combined
  • add almond icing, mix it in until fully combined
  • apply warm icing on hot scrolls either with spatula or palette knife

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  •  transfer scrolls to a wire rack and let them rest until icing sets

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I have to say, that this version of the dough was even better, compared to the previous one. It was soft and had the authentic texture of sweet pastries I so fondly remember from my earlier life. Even when completely cooled down, pastries did not go stale, hard and typical gluten free indelicate texture. I always remember what my great-aunt told me: “the softer the dough, the better pastry you get. Just go as soft as you can handle the dough”. She was so right, and it applies even more for gluten free yeast dough.

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The last remark is about the shape of the pastries. Those baked horizontally resulted in a better, more even layering of the filling. When they raised, the bottom spread wider that the top, no leakage of the filling and no splits on the top dough layer, making it very easy to apply icing. It made the positive difference in pastry taste, distribution of moisture, dough and filling combination in the pastries were better balanced.

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The layering practically recreated croissant like texture. It will be my favourite scroll shape to bake from now on.

I was very happy with the new version of the yeast dough based on Crusty bread mix and the variety of pastries possible to bake in one go. Another pleasant outcome was the opportunity to use good quality gluten free ready product – Almond icing, which is essentially variation of marzipan. I plan to use this product not by itself, or only as a component for icing, but as an ingredient, close to marzipan, incorporated in baking different pastries.

To throw some numbers into a year of blogging, I can report that I have readers from 113 countries, some of them, I am sorry to say, I did not know existed. Some of my posts are now have been published translated, and I am glad that my recipes can be of help to people in non-English speaking countries. Among most popular recipes I can name just a few: sultana cake, Napoleon, 5 recipes for orange and almond cakes, dumplings and ravioli dough, McKenzie’s rice flour, speck pastries, Orgran all purpose flour. I have published 111 posts and 6 separate pages with recipes, so I can say that there might be at least 100 original gluten recipes in the blog.

There are so many recipes left untouched of the dishes I make. Choux pastry for éclairs, my version of puff pastry, special breads I bake occasionally, preserves and sweets, speciality cakes and, finally, authentic recipes for long lost treats I manage to adapt in gluten free and sugar free version, just to name a few. So, there are more goals to achieve and I can promise exciting recipes in New 2015 Year.

My most sincere Thanks to all readers and especially those, who follow my blog and those, who I follow to get my inspiration. Thank you for your interest and support. To my friends, all over the world – thank you for reading and feedback, and your wonderful gifts, we have a pleasure to use in our photography.

My last thank you goes to my husband. Without his photography the blog would have never existed. It has been a challenge occasionally, to get through opinion differences, but we try our absolute best to present possibilities in gluten free cooking and baking, and showcase how delicious and amazing gluten free food can be.

Happy, healthy and prosperous New 2015 Year to all of us!

 

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