Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday pavlova

I have been making pavlova since I was about 12.  My mother was a good pavlova cook and her sister still is today. Whenever I am asked to make a sweet I often make a pavlova as I can almost make it with my eyes shut. I don't have to consult a recipe and they always seems to work out.

Up until recently I followed my mother's recipe which was essentially egg whites, caster sugar and a few drops of vanilla.  Yesterday I made Stephanie Alexander's recipe which is pretty much the same  as Mum's but includes two teaspoons of corn flour and a couple of drops of white wine vinegar.  It tastes pretty much the same but the addition of the small amount of corn flour possibly makes the meringue slightly more crispy.

For a long time we Australians claimed the pavlova as one of our national dishes but in recent years it was discovered that the pav was first made in New Zealand.  It's a great gluten-free desert.

Yesterday when my brother's family came over for Easter Sunday late lunch/early dinner I made a pav. When it came time to decorate the big meringue I had two excellent helpers in my nieces Eimear and Orla. After spreading the cream across the top (leaving a small section cream-less as Eimear does not like cream) we added sliced strawberries. The girls decided a bit of broken up Easter egg (Cadbury's gluten-free) would be a nice addition, with little Easter eggs around the edge for decoration. Normally I would also add some passionfruit but I forgot to buy some. Sliced banana also goes well, as does kiwi fruit. Just like Stephanie Alexander I always turn the crisp baked shell upside down. As Stephanie says, "this way the marshmallow middle melds with the cream and the sides and base stay crisp." Here is Stephanie's recipe:

Stephanie Alexander's pavlova

Ingredients: 4 egg whites at room temperature (add more egg white if you need to make a larger pav). pinch of salt, 250g caster sugar (add a tablespoon more for each extra egg white), 2 teaspoons cornflour, 1 teaspoon white white vinegar, a few drops of pure vanilla, 300 ml cream, firmly whipped pulp of 10 passionfruit.

Method: Preheat oven to 180 C. Line a baking tray with baking paper and draw a 20 cm circle on the paper. Beat egg whites and salt until satiny peaks form. Beat in sugar, a third at a time, until meringue is stiff and shiny. Sprinkle over cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold in lightly. Mound onto paper-lined baking tray within circle, flattening top and smoothing sides. Place in oven, immediately reduce heat to 150C and cook for 30 minutes. Reduce further to 120C and cook for 45 minutes. Turn off oven and leave pavlova in it to cool completely. Invert pavlova onto a platter, pile on cream and spoon over passionfruit pulp.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

One a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns

I have to confess that I have never been a fan of hot cross buns. When my family would eat them on Good Friday I would always pass. I just didn't like the taste of them but maybe that was because they were full of gluten.

Perhaps I would like them if they were gluten-free? 

So with Good Friday upon us tomorrow I have found a few gluten-free (GF) hot cross bun recipes.  The first one is from Coles. An alternative is this gluten-free and dairy free recipe. Fellow coeliac blogger, Adventurous Me, Gluten-Free offers another recipe as does Springhill Farm.

If I get lazy I might take the easy option and buy some Simple Wize ones sold at Coles. Alternatively Silly Yaks also has traditional and fruit-free hot cross buns, which you can order online, and Lifestyle Bakery sells its GF, HC buns at outlets across Australia.

Have a happy gluten-free Easter.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Markets, muffins and morning tea

These gluten-free apple muffins were a hit on two occasions last week. They accompanied coffee on the verandah with my cousin Andrew, wife Louisa and son Declan (my godson) last Friday, and went very nicely with a pot of tea on our deck on Saturday with our friends Jenny and Stephen.

After a walk to Orange Grove markets at Lilyfield and a bit of an explore around the back streets of  Leichhardt, Jen, Stephen, Bruce and I returned home for a well-earned morning tea.

The Kim Coverdale recipe which I found on is very quick and easy to make, and once out of the oven, delicious to taste.  Each muffin contains 1.9 g of fat. Here is the recipe:

Gluten-free apple muffins

Ingredients: 2 and 1/2 cups of gluten-free self-raising flour, 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon, 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1 cup of milk, 1/2 a cup of vegetable oil, 1 egg, lightly beaten, 2 small pink lady apples, warmed honey, to serve (optional).

  • Preheat oven to 190 degree Celsius or 170 on fan-forced. Grease a 12-hold, 1/3 cup-capacity muffin pan
  • Combine flour, cinnamon and 2/3 cup brown sugar in a bowl. Make a well in centre.
  • Add milk, oil and egg
  • Using a wooden spoon, stir until just combined.
  • Peel and grate 1 apple. Fold grated apple into muffin mixture.
  • Spoon mixture into holes of prepared pan.
  • Core and quarter remaining apple. Thinly slice. Arrange 2 to 3 apple slices on top of each muffin.
  • Sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top of each muffin.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Stand in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool. Serve drizzled with honey, if using.
Notes: Don't over mix muffins, or they become tough and chewy. Freeze muffins in snap-lock bags for up to 2 months.