Baked Amaranth Ricotta and Cranberry Slice – Gluten Free

Easy tray bake slice with ricotta cheese, apple puree and amaranth flour, with cinnamon and dried cranberries, became my favourite baking product, beating my previous favourite – cottage cheese and rice flour muffins or soft biscuits. I baked two versions of the recipe, to make sure that ricotta cheese will give the same quality bake as my homemade cottage cheese. The first bake was based on cottage cheese, the mix of home ground amaranth and rice flour, and the mix of dried apricots and Inca berries as dried fruits.

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For the second bake I used ricotta cheese with amaranth flour and dried cranberries.

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Notwithstanding the difference in dry ingredients, and quite different viscosity of the batter, the final product had the same, absolutely amazing texture, I have never encountered before. Both slices were extremely moist, with a very soft texture. The same texture can be seen in some fresh from the oven gluten free bread, that later becomes harder when the bread cools down. However, this is a fully baked slice, I can only guess that its moist juiciness comes from the mixture of the soft cheese and apple puree, used simultaneously. The taste of the slice demands to use the word “amazing” again, and I am not that easy on this word. To have a nice and clean cut, with all the pieces of dried fruits to stay in place, have patience, and cut the slice into squares when it cools down completely.

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The texture stays moist and soft the second day, even when left uncovered, on a serving board with the heating running. Any dried fruits can be used, but the ones with a tart taste would make a better contribution to the overall balance of taste.

Ingredients for the slice:

with cottage cheese, ground amaranth and rice flour

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  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g cottage cheese
  • 100g apple puree (I used SPC pure apple puree)
  • 100g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 7g baking powder
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 1 tea spoon lemon zest (I used defrosted)
  • 150g dried fruits (I used an equal mixture of diced dried apricots and Inca berries)
  • 100g ground amaranth, 3 times sifted and ground again (the flour  was still quite coarse)
  • 40g white rice flour (I used Ceres Organics)
  • 10g cinnamon powder

extras

  • 1/2 tea spoon rice flour to dust and cover dried fruits to prevent them going to the bottom of the batter
  • butter to grease 24cm x 24cm square baking pan
  • pine nuts to decorate before baking
  • icing sugar to dust cooled down bake

with ricotta cheese, amaranth flour and dried cranberries

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  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g ricotta cheese (the type that is sold in deli department in supermarkets)
  • 100g apple puree (I used SPC pure apple puree)
  • 100g sugar
  • 10g vanilla sugar
  • 7g baking powder
  • 20ml lemon juice
  • 1 tea spoon lemon zest (I used defrosted)
  • 150g dried cranberries, cut in halves
  • 140g amaranth flour (I used Bob’s Mill)
  • 10g cinnamon powder

extras were the same as in the recipe above

Preparation:

  • grease 24cm x 24 cm baking tray
  • in a small bowl add 1/2 tea spoon of rice flour to dried fruits, cover the bowl with another bowl, smaller in size, and shake vigorously, rice flour will cover all surfaces and prevent pieces of dried fruits to sink to the bottom during baking
  • mix all dry ingredients – flour(s), baking soda, cinnamon powder, make sure they are thoroughly mixed together
  • add lemon juice to ricotta/cottage cheese, mix them together to make a soft paste, add lemon zest
  • beat eggs with sugar, vanilla sugar and apple puree for 4-6 minutes, whisk attachment of the stick blender works fine, bench top mixer is fine, too
  • add 2-3 table spoons of beaten eggs to ricotta cheese paste
  • mix with a whisk
  • add the rest of the egg mixture, mix manually with a whisk, or with a whisk attachment for 1 min
  • add dry ingredients, mix them in, the batter will thicken in 2-3 minutes
  • add dried fruits, mix them in with spatula, make sure they are evenly distributed in the batter

The batter with ground amaranth and rice flour will be very runny, the batter with amaranth flour will be thicker and will have to be spooned into the baking tray.

Step by step photos are taken with the first recipe.

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  • for more runny batter, tap the tray on a bench, the batter will spread in a very thin layer, for the thicker batter – level the surface with a spatula
  • apply pine nuts on the top of the batter
  • bake in preheated to 170C fan forced oven for 30-40 minutes, both my bakes took 35 minutes
  • baked slice will have sides separated from the tray, will be firm on touch and toothpick will come back clean

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Cottage cheese slice

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  • turn the cake over to a wire rack, lined with baking paper
  • when the slice cools down, dust it with icing sugar

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Ricotta cheese slice

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Enjoy!

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