A merry little gluten free Christmas: sweet suggestions

Just because your tummy says no to wheat, it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on all of the festive treats. Here are some recipe ideas…

Christmas season offers so many delicious things to eat, but for people with food intolerances it can be a time of having to say no and missing out on some yummy festive foods.

“It’s harder because with more socialising and celebrating, comes more eating out of the home. Eating out usually means we have less control of what goes in to our food - and this can make things trickier for people with food intolerances,” says dietitian Rosalyn D’Angelo.

Luckily, these days there are many alternatives and recipes available to ensure no matter what your food preferences or allowances are, there are treats for everyone on festive days.

Both of these recipes are a modern slant on traditional Christmas treats which are suitable for people with a gluten intolerance.

Gluten free Christmas cake

Gluten free fruit cake
Difficulty: easy
Makes 14 slices


As someone who is not a great fan of the usual fruit cake I used all of the dried fruits I loved rather than the bulk mixed fruit often seen in recipes.

Ingredients 
  • 1 cup sultanas
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup each of chopped figs, dates, apricots and prunes
  • zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup gluten free flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 2 tablespoons marmalade
  • orange liquor or spiced rum, optional
Method 
  1. Preheat oven to 150°C and grease and line a 25cm cake tin. 
  2. Place all of the fruit into a large bowl and add orange juice and zest plus the coconut oil. Mix to combine.
  3. Whisk the eggs together with sugar until creamy and slightly thickened. Add vanilla paste and whisk to combine. Stir in almond meal and flour and mix to form a smooth batter before adding to fruit.
  4. Fold into the fruit mixture and pop into the tin when completely combined.
  5. Stick it in the oven for an hour and a half (90 mins) and then check with a skewer. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If it needs more time in the oven, you can cover the top with foil to prevent it over-browning or burning.
  6. When cooked, remove from the oven, if you want a boozy Christmas cake you can poke a few holes in it and pour 60mls of your liquor of choice or go straight to next step.
  7. Brush the top of the cake with marmalade while it's still to give a lovely tangy glaze. Serve warm or room temperature by itself, with yoghurt or custard.

Summer fruit mince pies

Gluten free mince tarts
Makes: 15
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes


The tarts have a fresh summery spin by using dried apricots instead of currants and sultanas. If you prefer them more traditional you can use normal fruit mince with this pastry. 

Ingredients

For filling
  • 200g dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 125g dried cranberries
  • juice and rind of one orange
  • 1 apples, peeled and cored
  • 100ml black tea
  • 1 cinnamon quill
  • 2-star anise
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla paste
  • ½ cup frozen raspberries
For pastry
  • 120g almond meal
  • 100g besan (chickpea) flour
  • 110g butter, chilled and chopped
  • pinch of salt
  • 70g castor sugar
  • 1 egg

For crumble top

  • 25g (½ cup) ground linseed, sunflower and almond mix (LSA) 
  • 35g (½ cup) sesame seeds
  • 20g (½ cup) shredded coconut
  • 30g (¼ cup) raw sugar
  • 50g butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Place almond meal, besan flour, salt and butter into a food processor and pulse it until it resembles breadcrumbs. If you don’t have a food processor, crumble between your fingers.
  3. Add sugar and pulse or stir to combine.
  4. Whisk together the egg with one tablespoon water, and add half to the mix. Cut together with a knife until it clumps together. Add more of the egg mix if required.
  5. Shape into a disc and wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. For your filling place all of the prepared fruit, minus the raspberries, into a heavy-based saucepan over a medium heat. Add spices and liquid.
  7. Place the lid on and cook down for 30 minutes until it has softened, and plumped. Remove cinnamon and star anise. Add frozen raspberries but do not stir too much as they will collapse and disappear. 
  8. Make the crumble top by mixing all of the ingredients together with your fingers until it is a breadcrumb like consistency.
  9. Roll pastry between two pieces of baking paper and cut round using a cooking cutter or glass. You want them to be roughly 7cm across to fit into a muffin tin.
  10. Grease muffin tin liberally with olive oil spray or equivalent and place pastry into holes. Line with baking paper and baking beads before bake blind for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove paper and beads and fill with mixture. Do not overfill as the liquid will caramelize and make them stick. Top with a spoonful of crumble mixture before returning to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool for five minutes before gently running a knife around each tart and it will hopefully pop out of the tray. 
  13. Serve with cream or ice cream if preferred.
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