I was going through WordPress publications with a gluten free tag, and saw the post with cute buckwheat biscuits, with an intriguing and simple recipe. I liked the ratios of the flour to sugar and flour to butter, which was very similar to what I use myself. I could not resist to give this recipe a try. I made some minimal changes to the recipe. I replaced half buckwheat flour with millet flour, mixed different sugars, threw cinnamon in the mix and baked biscuits.
What can I say? It is the most interesting gluten free sweet shortcrust pastry I ever had. It has a perfect crumbly texture with a perfect snap, sophisticated taste, appropriate to be used for any tartlet shell. It is amazing baked as biscuits. To top an excellent taste and texture, this pastry has several systemic advantages from the nutritional point of view, compared to other gluten free sweet shortcrust dough. The ingredient list for this dough has only wholegrain organic flours: buckwheat and millet, butter, sugar and an egg. The pastry has no starches and no gums, to hold it together. It is also the easiest gluten free shortcrust pastry I worked with. This recipe is a queue jumper. All other recipes have to wait, but this one I have to share.
- 140g organic buckwheat flour (Coles brand)
- 140g organic millet flour (I used Australian grown and freshly milled organic millet flour, bought online from Garden Shed and Pantry)
- 125g unsalted butter, room temperature (I used Ballantyne unsalted butter)
- 100g sugar
- 10g vanilla sugar
- 15g organic coconut sugar (product of Indonesia)
- 1 large egg
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 tea spoon gluten free baking powder
- extra sugar and cinnamon powder for dusting (3 tea spoons of sugar 1/2 tea spoon of cinnamon powder
I mentioned all brands of the products I used, because I am not quite sure that other brands will create biscuits with identical taste and texture. I think that brand of butter and use of coconut sugar played an essential role in determining the taste. I made these biscuits twice, they came out completely identical. I will try later to use single buckwheat flour to make this pastry grain free, and will update my readers with all new developments on this recipe.
Special notice about millet flour
Millet flour is naturally gluten free. I used certified organic Australian grown millet flour. It is exceptionally tasty and it is also one of the main ingredients in the bread I bake regularly. However, this flour is milled on the same mill on a family run farm, where other grains, containing gluten are used. The owners take all precautions to separate processes with different grains and to avoid gluten cross contamination. I took my risks in working with this flour. I have used it many times now in bread, biscuits and buns. I did not have any effects from this flour, but feel compelled to disclose this information.
- Sift both flours into a large bowl
- add sugar, vanilla sugar, coconut sugar, salt and sifted baking powder
- mix all dry ingredients with a whisk
- add butter, cut in medium size pieces
- incorporate butter into flour and sugar mix with your fingers
- add an egg
- mix an egg with a knife into the mixture, until no visible wet ingredients can be seen
- start working on bringing crumbled mixture together to make a dough
- it might look that the dough is too dry, and would not come together, but it simply needs more working on it; the technique I use, is to take the dough into my palm and squeeze it through my fingers
- when the dough comes together I knit it on hard working surface to make its texture homogenous without lumps
- all the above is done without using any extra flour
- I find more practical for the dough cooling and rolling, to shape it as a log, or thick long sausage, it takes less time in the fridge to rest the dough and it is easier to roll the dough
- wrap the dough in glad wrap and refrigerate for 40-60min
- roll the dough to 5mm thickness for biscuits and 3-5mm thickness for tartlet shells
- the best results are achieved when the rolling is done on a baking paper with dusting rolling pin, using tapioca flour (any plain gluten free flour will do, too)
- this dough does not split at all when rolled, you might need to turn the dough once from one side to another, to facilitate easy separation of the dough from the baking paper, when making individual biscuits
- cut rolled pastry into individual biscuits using rolling cutter or cookie cutter
- use cookie cutters to make surface patterns on biscuits, if wanted
- spread sugar and cinnamon mixture in a flat plate
- dip each biscuit into the mixture and let it take the layer of dusting
- you do not need to brush the surface of the pastry with milk, water or egg wash, the surface is moist enough to take the dusting and keep it
- cut offs from the dough can be combined and rolled again
- you can roll small balls from this dough, the size of big cherry or walnut, press it down on a sheet of baking paper and bake cookies
- bake biscuits or pastry shells in preheated to 170C fan forced oven, for 20-30min
- because of biscuits colour, it is hard to see when they are fully baked, take one out and taste it to make sure
- rest biscuits on a wire rack until completely cool
Store biscuits in air tight container, they will not absorb any moisture and will stay crunchy indefinitely. I stretched my first bake for a week, to see how they last. I was surprised to observe that the texture of these biscuits did not change at all during this period. In all my previous experiences all gluten free shortcrust biscuits or pastry shells, sooner or later softened their texture, and the crunch effect disappeared.
I love my lingonberry, orange and chocolate biscuits made from shortcrust pastry. And as much as I love and enjoy them, I have to admit, that these wholegrain biscuits have better texture and more interesting and sophisticated taste. The dough itself is substantially easier to make and work with. The absence of starches, with inferior nutritional qualities, and the possibility to avoid gums in the recipe, are 2 major bonuses. Absence of gums makes this biscuits a healthier version and an accessible one for people who, for various reasons, can’t use guar or xanthan gums in their gluten free baking.