Nancy’s Mince Pies! gluten and dairy free!


It’s mince pie time again! whoop! It’s so hard to find plant-based, dairy and gluten free mince pies that don’t taste like cardboard so I decided to make my own and boy are they good! I could eat these by the dozen… and in fact I do!

This recipe has been posted here before but has recently been featured over at Pure Form Fitness Kitchen so I thought I’d repost for you 🙂

and here’s a little video of me making them too :

For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped
6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz Raw sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge. You can do this by hand if you prefer – just ensure you mix the flour and almonds thoroughly.

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil a mini muffin tin with almond, coconut or hazelnut oil. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out the bases. Place them in the tin. Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins. Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller star shaped (or any shaped) biscuit cutter to cut out the “lids”.

Roll and cut out the pastry cases and lids

Roll and cut out the pastry cases and lids

 

 

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen “lid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and raw sugar.

Fill the cases and add the lids

Fill the cases and add the lids

Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (5 – 7 mins but check regularly). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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Christmas Gingerbread Tree – gluten and dairy free


The gingerbread christmas tree has become a bit of a tradition for me now and my friend’s husband is a big fan so I couldn’t let this year pass without making him one. This is a quick dough to make and is something fun to do on Christmas Eve 🙂

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To make the gingerbread biscuits: (if you’re going for a really big tree then you can always double this)

1/3 cup Olive oil

3/4 cup unrefined raw sugar (golden raw caster sugar, coconut palm sugar, or dark raw cane sugar)

1/4 cup molasses

1/4 cup soya milk

1 cup amaranth flour / quinoa flour

1 cup gluten free flour mix (make your own or you can use an organic pre-mixed one. If you want low gluten not gluten free then go for spelt flour instead of the amaranth and gluten free flours)

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 and 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt salt

Whisk the oil and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the soya milk and the molasses and whisk all together. Sieve the flours, spices and baking powder, salt and bicarbonate of soda in to the wet ingredients and mix until it forms a dough. The dough may seem quite moist. You want it to be workable but not so sticky that you can’t lift it. Add a bit more flour if it is too wet. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge to chill for an hour if you can (the dough can be left in the fridge for several days so you don’t have to use it all at once. It can also be frozen).

Preheat the oven to 175 C and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Roll the dough out on a floured surface. It’s worth trying small amounts of dough at a time and be generous with the flour. It will stick a bit but don’t worry. You want it to be rolled out fairly thin but not too thin – maybe 5mm thick or so.

To make the tree you need star cutters of different sizes. If you don’t have them don’t fret. Draw some stars out on a piece of card and use them to draw around 🙂 If you want to make a massive tree then you could use more stars. You want at least 2 or 3 of each sized star. I used two tiny christmas tree shaped cutter for the very top, but you could use another star.

Cut out the biscuits and transfer to the baking tray. Bake for 8 minutes. Then remove from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for 3 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. They will seem soft when they come out the oven but as they cool they harden. If you want super crispy biscuits just pop them back in the oven for another few minutes.

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For the icing:

1/2 cup raw icing sugar

1 tsp soya milk (or any non dairy milk)

Mix the icing sugar with the milk until it’s smooth. If the icing is too runny just add more icing sugar until you get the consistency you want. Transfer to a piping bag (if you don’t have one then use a plastic freezer bag and snip the corner off to pipe through).

Assemble the tree!

This is the fun bit 🙂

Start with your biggest star and place it on the plate. Add a glob of icing to the centre and stick the next star on top (arranged so the points don’t overlap).  Then add a glob of icing to the top of the uppermost star and stick the next one one… continue, going down in size until you get to the top! I then added a glob of icing and popped two tree shaped biscuits on the top.

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Now you can decorate each layer. Pipe icing on to the points of the bottom star and decorate with silver balls, gold balls, edible glitter etc.

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Finally dust with icing sugar so it’s all snowy-looking! Then you’re done!

yay! 🙂

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Peppermint Triple Chocolate Candy Cane Brownies – gluten and dairy-free


I’m a bit late posting this but hey, what can I say – it’s been christmas and all that 😉

I actually re-made this over this weekend so thought it was about time I posted the recipe.

This was a birthday creation for myself, to be shared with my favourite cake-eating friend 🙂 We are both fans of chocolate and peppermint so what better than this delicious minty chocolatey combo! The crunch of the peppermint candy canes on top really make this something special (you can use any hard mint candy for this).

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You will need:

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup Ground almonds

1 cup unrefined Raw sugar (golden caster sugar, coconut sugar etc)

1/2 cup almond oil (or coconut oil)

1/4 cup raw Cacoa powder

2 eggs (or 2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 6 tbsp water)

1/2 tsp Himalayan rock salt

1/4 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

1 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 Tsp Pure peppermint extract

Milk, white and dark chocolate chunks (optional)

For Icing

100g Dairy free chocolate

200 – 300g Unrefined icing sugar (adjust quantity to depending how runny you want your icing)

drop of Pure peppermint extract

a dash of warm water

Hard mints or candy canes, silver balls, any other decorations

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Preheat the oven to 170C and grease a 20 x 20cm square baking pan with parchment paper.

Mix the ground almonds, flour, cacao powder, sugar, salt and bicarbonate of soda together in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl beat the eggs (or if using chia seeds instead then soak them in the water). Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg (or soaked chia seeds), vanilla extract, peppermint extract and oil. Whisk together using a hand mixer until well mixed. It should be thick and glossy when mixed.

If you are the chocolate chunks stir them in now. Pour in to the baking tin and place in the oven for 20 – 25 mins until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack

Take the hard mints (or candy cane) and bash with a rolling pin in to small pieces.

Then prepare the icing. Melt the chocolate and then stir in the icing sugar and peppermint extract.

Use enough icing sugar to get the consistency of icing you want (if it’s too thick add a little water). Spread quickly on to the brownies and sprinkle the crushed mint and any other decorations you want to use on to the top! Then enjoy (with a big old candle if it’s your birthday 😉 )

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and in case you’re wondering if they taste good… well this is all that’s left of this weekend’s creation!
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Frangipane Mince Pie tarts


I know Christmas is over, but I never tire of mince meat! I did actually create these before the big day but didn’t get a chance to post the recipe until now. This was created on request from a special friend for her discerning hubby, and they seemed to go down well … in his words “this is the best thing you’ve ever baked”…! 🙂

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So if you have some leftover mince meat then give this a go! These include a layer of marzipan which is optional but I think adds a fab extra almondy loveliness! Make your own (recipe here) or buy a block of plain marzipan – but do buy the good stuff (Neideregger is a great brand).

The frangipane does contain egg but I’ve also posted an egg-free version below too! 🙂

If you fancy making up a batch of mince meat specially then the recipe is here

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For the pastry you will need:

4 oz Buckwheat flour

2 oz ground Almonds

5 tbsp Agave nectar

Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the frangipane you will need (this will be enough for 4 small tarts – 5 – 6cm diameter):

65g unrefined Raw sugar or Coconut palm sugar

100g Ground almonds

1 Egg

50 ml Almond oil (you can use mild Olive oil if you prefer)

1/8 tsp Vanilla extract

1/8 tsp Almond extract (if you have it)

Ground cinnamon (for dusting)

Flaked almonds (for decoration)

125g Marzipan (optional)

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge for 20 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 175 C.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out as thin as you can. Line mini tart cases (or one large flan/tart tin) with the pastry (you will probably have spare pastry left over). Brush with a little almond oil and then place in the oven to blind bake. They only need a few minutes – just until they start to brown very slightly at the edges.

Meanwhile make the frangipane. Pop the sugar and almond oil in a bowl and mix well together. Add the egg and extracts and mix again. Gently fold in the ground almonds until well mixed.

Once the pastry cases are starting to brown a little remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then spread a thin layer of mince meat (enough to cover the base). Thinly slice the marzipan and layer over the top.

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Then cover with a generous layer of the frangipane.Sprinkle flaked almonds over the top and a dusting of cinnamon. Then place in the oven for 15 – 20 mins or until the frangipane is cooked and a lovely golden brown.

Delicious served with custard or soya yoghurt at any time of year! 🙂

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Egg free frangipane recipe:

6 tbsp Coconut Oil (don’t melt it)
2/3 cup Coconut Palm Sugar / Unrefined Raw Sugar
1 and 1/4 cup Ground Almonds
2 tbsp Cornflour
pinch salt
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
2/3 cup Almond Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Put the coconut oil, sugar, ground almonds, cornflour, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined and all crumbly. Slowly add the almond milk, vanilla extract and almond extract whilst still pulsing the food processor until it forms a thick batter. This frangipane takes a bit more baking than the one above so keep an eye on the tarts and just remove when done.

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Christmas Hats! Black Pepper, Coconut Cream and Strawberry Festive Fun!


I love dressing up (as my friends well know…) .. so much in fact that even my bakes are getting in the act this year….. 🙂

These are a fun little festive treat to make for parties over the Christmas season. The biscuits themselves are very light, and not too sweet and so they go nicely with the sweetness of the strawberry and the rich coconut cream – the pepper adds a bite and make these a perfect bit of adult fun. If you want something a bit sweeter for the kids you can use my basic biscuit recipe for the bases instead – recipe here

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You will need:

150g Spelt, rice or gluten-free flour blend

50g Dairy free margarine

50g raw Coconut sugar / unrefined dark sugar

1 egg (if you want to go egg-free then use a little oil instead – 1/4 cup olive or almond oil but add less of the mixture in (see below)

2 tbsp Maple syrup (or agave or rice syrup, or honey)

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh ground Black Pepper

1/8 tsp ground Cloves

1/8 tsp ground Nutmeg

A punnet strawberries

1 can of Coconut cream (milk – the canned milk, not the carton) (65 – 70% coconut extract – see below)

a little unrefined icing sugar (optional)

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A few hours before you make these (or a day if you can) you need to set the coconut milk. I use this variety.

Pop the can in the fridge for a few hours or overnight and try not to move it. The coconut fat solidifies and separates at the top, leaving clear liquid at the bottom. When you are ready to make the cake remove the can carefully from the fridge and turn the can upside down in one move (i.e. no shaking!). Then open the can at the bottom – yes – trust me, open the bottom! You should find that the fat has solidified and you will see a few cm’s of clear liquid. Pour this off (don’t throw it away – you can pop it in a smoothie!) and then you are left with the coconut cream to use! 🙂

To make the biscuits:

Preheat the oven to 170 C.

Pop the flour, baking powder, spices and sugar in a food processor and blend briefly. Add the margarine and mix again for a minute or so.

While this is mixing break the egg in to a bowl and whisk the maple syrup in to it to form combine. Trickle a little of this mixture in to the processor bowl while it is running slowly. Keep adding until the mixture forms a firm dough (you may not need all of it).

Once it forms a dough use your hands to combine it and remove from the processor. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until it’s about 3 – 5 mm thick and use a small round cutter to cut shapes. You will probably have more dough than you need but it can be wrapped in cling film and frozen for later 🙂

Pop the biscuits on to a lined baking sheet and bake in the oven for 12 – 15 minutes or until they start to brown. Remove and allow to cool.

Coconut cream:

Take the solidified coconut cream and using electric or a hand whisk beat until fluffy. If you want a little sweetness add a little unrefined icing sugar in as you whip it.

Strawberries:

Remove the stem of the strawberries and cut the top off each to give a flat base.

Now you can assemble your biccies!

Pop the whipped coconut cream in to a piping bag. If you don’t have one (I don’t!) then put it in a plastic ziplock bag and just snip the corner of the bag off to use as a nozzle. Pipe a small amount of cream on to the centre of each biscuit. Pop a strawberry on top and then pipe around the base of the strawberry and add a little dot of cream to the top (for the bobble on the hat!). You could dust with a little icing sugar and a grind of black pepper if you wanted to. Serve as soon as possible. They will last overnight but the biscuits will go softer so wait to assemble until as close to serving time as possible. Any extra biscuits can be stored in an airtight container for a few days and they will stay crispy.

Have fun! 🙂

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Mince Pies! Gluten and Dairy Free!


It’s mince pie time again! whoop! This year I’m trying out some mini ones – almost as I type! 🙂 (pics to follow) but for now I thought I’d post my recipe for mincemeat and gluten and dairy-free pastry in case you fancy making a batch this weekend 🙂

This recipe was originally posted over at Colette’s Fitness Kitchen 🙂

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For the Pastry:

4 oz Buckwheat flour
2 oz ground Almonds
5 tbsp Agave nectar
Up to 6 tbsp Water

For the Mincemeat:

3 oz Bramley apples, cored and finely chopped

6 oz Mixed dried fruit (I prefer raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz Raw sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado)
Juice and grated zest of half an Orange
1 level tsp of ground allspice
1 pinch ground Cinnamon
1 pinch ground Cloves
1 pinch grated / ground Nutmeg
1 small handful chopped Almonds
1 tbsp Date syrup

Make the pastry first. Put the buckwheat flour and ground almonds in a processor and add the agave. Pulse and gradually add the water until it forms a dough. You may find you need more or less water. If it is too wet add a little more flour. Once it is forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Put all the ingredients for the mincemeat into a saucepan. Cook on a low heat, stirring frequently. Cook until the apple is soft and the mixture is thick – it may take some time. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil & flour a 12 muffin tin with almond, coconut or hazelnut oil. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. Use a round biscuit cutter to cut out 12 bases. Place them in the tin. Lightly brush with oil and use a fork to prick the base. Place in an oven to blind bake for 5–10 mins. Keep an eye on them – this pastry browns quite fast. Once the edges are brown and the middle is firm remove them. While the cases are in the oven take a smaller circular biscuit cutter to cut out the “lids” or you could use star shapes/ holly leaf shapes/lattice pattern – whatever takes your fancy 🙂

Place a generous helping of mincemeat in each of the cases and place your chosen “lid” on top. Lightly oil and sprinkle with a little cinnamon and raw sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins). Keep a careful eye on them. You want the tops to brown but be careful the bases don’t burn. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, then remove and place on a wire cooling rack.

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Raw chocolate covered marzipan snowballs!


I had some left over marzipan and wanted to create a little treat for after dinner on christmas day so I thought I’d make some raw choc covered marzipan snowballs 🙂

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I used this marzipan recipe from my christmas cake post and for the chocolate you need:

35g Cacao butter

25g Raw Cacao powder

Sweet freedom to sweeten (up to 1/2 tbsp)

Extra raw cacao powder and dessicated coconut for decoration. Maybe some edible glitter too 🙂

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Grate the cacao butter into a small bowl and then place over a saucepan of water (bain marie). Heat the water gently and allow the butter to melt. Once melted whisk the cacao powder in with a small balloon whisk or fork. When thoroughly combined remove from the heat and stir in the sweet freedom. I like my chocolate quite bitter for this recipe so I only added a small squirt but add as much as you need 🙂

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Put some raw cacao powder in a small bowl and the dessicated coconut in another bowl.

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Roll the marzipan in to small balls and line up your bowls of chocolate, cacao powder and dessicated coconut. Drop the marzipan into the choc and used a fork to gently move around until covered. Then, if you’re using it, drop the ball into the bowl of cacao powder or dessicated coconut and gently shake it around to cover it. Remove and place on greaseproof paper. When they’re all covered pop in the fridge to set. This choc has a very low melting point so keep in the fridge until you want to serve. Enjoy! 🙂

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