Nancy’s Mince Pies!


Many of you have tried my little mini mince pies at my festive classes and a few have asked for the recipe so I thought I’d re-blog it for you 🤗.

I make mini pies for my classes using a canapé or mini muffin tin – they come in at approx 47 cals per pie so are a perfect little mouthful, but you can obvious make any size you like! The recipe below makes 12 normal pies or approx 24-30 mini ones.

These happen to be both gluten and dairy-free so everyone can enjoy them.

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 equal quantities of raisins, currants, cranberries and apricots)
1 oz Vegetable suet
2 oz brown sugar (coconut palm or dark raw muscovado give the best flavour)
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

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.

For the Pastry: 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. You can also do this by hand in a bowl – it’s just a bit messier. Once it’s forming a firm dough remove, wrap in cling-film and place the mixture in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 180 C/ gas mark 6.

Lightly oil a 12 hole cake tin. Remove pastry from the fridge and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Roll it as thin as you can – a few mm. The pastry can be a bit difficult to handle so I find working with smaller bits at a time is easier. 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 (or 3-7 mins for mini ones). 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 sugar. Place the pies back in the oven and bake until golden (10–20 mins for large ones, 5 – 10 for mini ones). 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! 🙂

Xx

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 🙂

IMG_9996

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 🙂

IMG_9982

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 🙂

IMG_9978

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

IMG_9983

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! 🙂

IMG_9987

 

Cranberry and Apple Meringue pie! oh my!


Hands up if you love Lemon Meringue Pie! I do! And yes I know, meringue contains eggs, so I’m very sorry to my vegan friends (although you can use a commercial egg replacer for meringue so all is not lost!), but this festive meringue pie is gluten and dairy free 🙂 It’s a nice change to the usual festive fair!

_MG_6748

Pastry

100g Ground almonds
100g Flaked almonds
75g Spelt or Rice flour(or other gluten free flour)
25g Golden raw Caster sugar
50ml Almond oil
3 -4 tbsp cold almond or other non dairy milk
Pinch of Himalayan rock salt

Filling

4-5 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and thickly sliced
250g frozen or fresh Cranberries
juice of 1 clementine
75g Dried cranberries
1 tablespoon Corn flour
Raw unrefined sugar (if required)

Meringue

3 Large egg whites (or egg replacer)
150g Golden raw Caster sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 C. Put the ground and almonds into a bowl with the flour and salt and stir to combine. Keep stirring and add in the olive oil gradually. Add 2 tablespoons of almond milk and keep stirring. The mixture should hold together when pressed, if it doesn’t then add some more almond milk, stirring all the time, until it does. At this point have a taste. If you want a sweeter pastry then add some more sugar until you get the desired flavour. Press it into a 20 cm pie or fluted flan dish. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until set and barely golden.
Remove from the oven and brush the almond pastry with a little almond oil and return to the oven for a few minutes to set then set aside to cool.

Now for the filling! First you need to cook the cranberries. Place the frozen or fresh cranberries in a pan with the juice of 1 clementine (or half an orange if that’s easier!). Cook for 5 mins until the cranberries start to soften and burst. Taste – if too tart for you then add a little raw sugar. Put the apples, cooked cranberries and dried cranberries in a saucepan with 75ml water and bring to the boil. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes.

Mix the corn flour with a tbsp of cold water till smooth then stir into fruit mixture. Boil for 1 minute then pour into the pastry case.

If using them then whisk the egg whites until stiff, then beat in the sugar, a third at a time, to form a thick meringue. Spoon over the fruit and bake 20-25 minutes until golden.
Leave to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a plate to cool.

_MG_6755

Festive comfort pudding (or breakfast!) Apple and mincemeat compote


I love a hot, comforting pudding on a cold night and one of my favourites is apple compote with nuts and yoghurt. I’m also a massive mincemeat fan soI thought I’d combine the two!

The apple compote is so simple to make it’s embarrassing! Just peel and core some bramley apples (as many as you want to eat!), chop small and put in a saucepan with a tablespoon of water. Gently bring to the boil and simmer on a low heat until the apple is all mushy! I like it just like this, but if you want it sweeter then add some raw sugar while you cook them. Once cooled transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week (in fact mine never lasts that long!). You can also freeze it in batches too 🙂

_MG_7417

For the mincemeat I use my favourite home made mincemeat recipe which I use for my mincepies. It was originally featured on the Pure form fitness kitchen – here.

Once done simply combine the two! I heat mine in the microwave for a few mins then serve with some delicious Co Yo yoghurt and toasted almonds – yummo! 🙂

_MG_7478

Mini Christmas cake – gluten free, dairy free cake, marzipan and fondant icing!


A little while ago I posted a recipe for a gluten and dairy free christmas cake. I said I’d have a go at creating some marzipan and icing to go with it and I’ve managed it! Now, I know my icing skills are pretty poor so just over look that! I’m certain you guys can do a better job at laying the icing but this is my first attempt and I was going more for taste than looks….! 🙂

_MG_7471

I’ve used a rollable fondant icing and a royal icing for the decoration. Read the instructions for the fondant icing before you start as once the sugar is boiling you can’t really leave it to check the instructions! 🙂

The recipe for the cake is here.

For the marzipan (this will cover 4 small cakes – approx 3 inches cubed) – :

200g Ground Almonds
100g Raw icing Sugar
1 tbsp  Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Cold Water
1 tsp Almond extract

Put the ground almonds and icing sugar in a bowl and mix well. Make a well in the centre and add the liquid ingredients. Mix thoroughly. You should end up with a pastry-like dough. If it is too dry add a drop of lemon juice but be careful you don’t make it too moist. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for at least an hour.

For the fondant icing.

5 tbps water
1 tsp agar-agar powder or “gelatine” substitute (kosher gelatine is often non-animal based so can be used)
225g Raw icing sugar
1 tbsp glucose syrup
1 tsp glycerine (optional)

Put the agar-agar powder or gelatine substitute in a small bowl and add 1 tbsp of water and leave to soak. In a heavy-based saucepan, put the icing sugar, 4 tbsp water and the glucose syrup. Heat over a medium heat until sugar has dissolved, stirring gently all the time.

When the sugar mixture comes to the boil, boil for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the syrup has reached soft-ball stage. Now if you’re like me you don’t know what that means! It’s actually quite straight forward – it’s the point at which if you take a spoonful of the mixture and drop it in a bowl of very cold water that you can form a ball with the syrup using your fingers (once it’s in the water!). At this stage it will easily form a ball in the water and will flatten when you remove it. For me it was almost eactly 3 minutes of boiling so you could just go by that. If you happen to have a sugar thermometer it’s when it reaches 112 degrees C.

While the sugar is boiling warm the bowl that the the soaked agar-agar or “gelatine” is in (over a saucepan of simmering water is easiest) until it dissolves.

When the sugar has finished cooking, remove from heat and dip the saucepan’s base in cold water to stop it from cooking. Leave to cool for a few seconds and then add the agar-agar/”gelatine” and glycerine and mix well.

IF you have a marble slab or suitable work surface then grease it and pour the mixture out onto the marble slab, and begin turning and mixing with a palette knife until it becomes a paste and clay-like. If, like me, you don’t then you can leave the mixture in the saucepan and just keep turning and stirring it in the pan using a wooden spoon (you need to mix vigorously!).

At first, the fondant will be very fluid, but it will gradually harden. After 5 – 10 minutes of  mixing, the fondant will become very stiff, crumbly and hard to manipulate. At this point, lightly grease your hands, and knead the fondant into a ball. The fondant will begin to come together and become softer and smoother. Stop kneading when it is smooth.

Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

For the royal icing:

125g icing sugar
2 tsp soya milk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 tsp glucose syrup mixed with 1/2 tsp boiling water

Mix the icing sugar with the milk and stir until smooth. Add the glucose syrup and mix well. If it’s too runny add more icing sugar, if too dry add a little more milk.

Now to put it all together!

Roll out the marzipan on a greased board. Lay it over your cake. Roll out the fondant icing and lay that over the marzipan making sure you press it down firmly. Finally decorate using the royal icing. You can use a fork to create a “snow-like” appearance. Add silver balls, edible glitter or whatever you like to finish it off. Then place in the fridge to set! Enjoy! 🙂

_MG_7450

 

 

 

 

It’s CHRISTMAAAAAAASSS! :) Gingerbread christmas tree


Christmas is getting near so I thought I’d have a bit of fun this afternoon, radio on, baking utensils at the ready.. and the end result…… me and my kitchen are now covered in icing powder and glitter, but it was worth it!

Gingerbread Christmas Tree! (gluten and dairy free, of course!)

edited tree

Something fun to do with the kids, or on your own!

To make the gingerbread biscuits (this quantity makes LOADS – probably enough for a whole gingerbread house! so if you are only making a few then halve the recipe or even quarter it):

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 (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 at least 3 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, I only had 3 sizes so 3 it was! You want at least 3 of each sized star. I used a 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.

IMG_9874

For the icing:

1/2 cup raw icing sugar

1 tsp soya milk (or any non dairy milk)

1 tsp liquid glucose (not essential)

Mix the icing sugar with the milk until it’s smooth. If you are using the liquid glucose add that and stir well. 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). I found it easiest to decorate each layer as I went, so pipe icing on to the points of the bottom star and decorate with silver balls, gold balls, edible glitter etc. 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 the tree shaped biscuit on the top. If it won’t stand up then break a small piece of biscuit and just pop it behind it to keep it upright 🙂

Finally dust with icing sugar so it’s all snowy-looking!

yay! 🙂

 

 

Limited Edition Christmas Bakes! :)


I’m selling a limited number of my favourite Christmas bakes! 🙂

All gluten free, dairy free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans  (products do contain nuts though).

All orders must be placed by 14th December (orders will be posted by 18th December or available for pick up/delivered on 17th/18th) and numbers are limited, once they’re sold out they’re sold out so get your orders in quick 🙂

1. Mince Pies (pack of 6) – £3 (2 packs for £5)

IMG_9940

Generously filled, homemade mince pies. Cranberry and apple mincemeat and a buckwheat based pastry. Totally gluten and dairy free and only 164 kcals too! Deliciously sticky and full of flavour.

Delivery options – local pick up (free) (I can also do local delivery for free), 1st class post £2.70

2. Festive Tree Decoration Biscuits (pack of 6) –  £3 (2 packs for £5)

IMG_9933

Spicy and sweet christmas biccies. These biscuits are a great christmas treat and can even be hung on the tree. You could also get the kids involved and get them to ice them before they are hung up (or you could just eat them!). Totally gluten free and dairy free.

Delivery options – local pick up or delivery (free), 1st class post £2.70

3. Ginger Biscuits (pack of 6) – £2 (2 packs for £3.50)

IMG_9916

Crunchy, spicy ginger biscuits. Perfect for dunking in a cup of tea while you wrap the christmas pressies or put up the tree! 🙂 Totally gluten and dairy free.

Delivery options – local pick up or delivery (free), 1st class post £2.70

How to order:

  • Email me at pureandsimplebakes@gmail.com and I will send you a paypal invoice
  • OR if you are local to me then cash is fine
  • For orders of more than 1 pack I can combine postage 🙂

You can also order via these links:

Mince Pies: paypal cart button

Festive Decorations Biscuits:  paypal cart button

Ginger Biscuits: paypal cart button