Baking for gluten free guests

I must say I was a little daunted by the thought of catering for a
friend who has Coeliac Disease – this is not a matter of someone being ‘a bit
fussy’ (and we all know a few of those) … but Coeliac sufferers really do
just that, suffer, if they eat any food with gluten in, which includes wheat,
rye and oats. So I was determined to do my best so my friend didn’t miss out on
the full afternoon tea experience. I was amazed to be able to buy xanthan gum
in the supermarket, which helps the ingredients in GF recipes emulsify and
stick together, but couldn’t for love nor money buy rice flour around any of
the supermarkets or more specialist shops in Peterborough. Not being a GF
expert I wasn’t sure whether I could substitute a GF mixed flour blend for rice
flour so I avoided some of the gluten free sponge recipes I’d had my eye on
trying.

I made sundried tomato bread, which used the GF flour blend and didn’t contain yeast (so a bit like a savoury cake really) – it was really runny when I poured it into the loaf tin but it came out lovely and moist and easy to slice for sandwiches. I also made another loaf with GF bread flour and yeast, which looked like wallpaper paste, not nice at all!! But it cooked fine –looked like a blond German rye bread in texture (not to everyone’s taste I imagine) but tasted quite pleasant.

I also made scones, using the flour blend and xanthan gum – I divided
the recipe to make half fruit and half cheese scones and I could tell by the
feel of the dough that they were going to be a success. I must say I really
enjoyed both of them – just as nice as my ordinary scones.

I also baked a lovely cinnamon, date and fig cake – which, as well as being gluten free also contained no sugar – though I did sprinkle liberally with sugar so it didn’t seem quite such a virtuous cake when served! It was so moist and so sweet from the dates and figs – just gorgeous really!

Finally I made a batch of almond macaroons – I think making cakes
or biscuits that don’t call for wheat or oats is a good choice for Coeliac
sufferers – it’s not tweaking or imitating – it’s making the most of cakes
which just don’t need flour to make them delicious.

So I was rather pleased with yesterday’s efforts and we all sat at
the table for a very long time, waiting so we could eat just a little bit more….
What more could a hostess ask for? Fab.

If you want to find out more about Coeliac Disease visit http://www.coeliac.org.uk/

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