Xanthan-Free Zone

Real food, incidentally gluten-free.

Archive for Desserts/Cakes

Adult Chocolate Cake

The flourless chocolate cake is second only to the orange and almond cake as a GF baking standard. Here’s my version, not too sweet, but with powerful chocolate flavour.

1/3 cocoa
1/3 cup water
150g unsalted butter
150g good dark chocolate
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups hazelnut meal
4 eggs, separated

Preheat oven to 150C.

Combine cocoa, water, butter and chocolate in small saucepan and heat gently until everything’s melted and combined smoothly. Remove from heat, stir in sugar, hazelnut meal and and yolks. Pour into a bowl and leave to cool. Beat egg whites until fluffy then fold into chocolate mixture in two or more batches.

Bake in oven in lined springform tin for about an hour. It might still be a bit moist in the middle but should appear cooked and have a cracked surface. Leave to cool before removing from pan.

Can be served with some kind of dairy product and/or strawberries. Enjoy.


Dirk Flinthart’s Leatherwood Honey Icecream

During a recent trip to Tasmania, I caught up with my old friend Dirk Flinthart, writer and feeder-of-people extraordinaire. Among the many delights which I was required to consume was this delicious honey icecream.
When I later made this for my family for Xmas I did not have leatherwood honey but it was still great with the organic rainforest honey my parents had. Some of the New Zealand honeys might also be fantastic, but I wouldn’t hesitate to just use whatever is local.
Because it was Xmas, we at this mostly with mangoes, but my brother commented that it had a Middle Eastern vibe and could be great with figs or pistachios.
As a last note, I would mention that this recipe is very rich, and I would be interested to try a slightly lighter version substituting milk for some of the cream. But I’ll leave those experiments up to you.
You will need an icecream machine, or some special skills which I don’t have, for this recipe, and you will need a bit of chilling time, so start in the morning or the night before.

250ml marscapone cream cheese
250ml cream
2-3 tbsp leatherwood honey (or your favourite/local honey)
2 eggs
1 dessert spoon maize cornflour
1 tsp vanilla essence or contents of a vanilla pod

Whisk all ingredients together. Warm in a small saucepan, stirring carefully, until it just starts to thicken. Take off the stove and allow to cool. (You can sit the saucepan in a sink of cold water if you need to hurry this part). At this point you can taste it and see if you’ve added enough honey, and also to increase the anticipation. Then refrigerate until cold, then churn in your icecream machine. This was the first time I’ve used one of these, and i just eyeballed it until it looked pretty thick, which was about 30 minutes. Then transfer to a container and keep in the freezer until 10 minutes before serving.

Indian Carrot Pudding

Sounds bizarre but actually really delicious. This was always a special occasion dish in my family. It’s extremely simply, it just takes about 3 hours – most of which time you can completely leave it alone.

This recipe is from one of my favourite cookbooks, The Complete Asian Cookbook by Charmaine Solomon. I have to admit that in my family we always call this dish carrot halva, but in the book it is gajjar (carrot) kheer and the halva is something else. Just as I was typing this up I remembered I still have some in the fridge. Yum!

250g carrot, grated or finely chopped
1 litre full-cream milk
1/2 cup raw or caster sugar
2 tbsp almond meal (optional)
9 cardamon pods

Bring the milk to the boil and add the carrot. Simmer on a low heat, uncovered or partially covered, for around three hours. At some point along the line, maybe after a couple of hours, add the other ingredients. When the pudding is done, both the carrot and the milk should have undergone a transformation. The carrot doesn’t taste like carrot, and is kind of caramelised, but without being browned at all. The milk has boiled off and has become almost granular. As it’s getting towards the end, you’ll need to stir it more frequently to keep it from catching on the bottom.

You can blend it before eating, to give a puree texture, and if you’ve only chopped the carrots you might want to do this, but if I’ve grated them I tend not to. It’s nice warm, but I’d also eat it chilled for a more icecreamy feel. You could dress it up with a few pistachios or blanched almonds in each serve, but I personally have never felt the need for this. I just serve it up in small quantities and eat with a teaspoon, to savour every bit.

Caramel Bananas

This is an example of taking a perfectly good healthy fruit and making into a decadent treat. Or you can see it as a quick easy dessert, just add icecream, cream, custard or a fancy creamy yoghurt. It’s so basic it hardly counts as a recipe, but it’s so tasty I thought people might want to try it.

This is per person.

1-3 bananas, depending on size (ie. one cavendish but 2-3 ladyfingers depending on size). They should ideally be a touch overripe – if they are at all underripe it will be unpleasantly astringent.
2-4 tsp brown sugar (2 is what I would use, but others may want it sweeter)
squeeze lemon juice
2-4 tsp butter (depending on decadence level required)
pinch nutmeg
few drops vanilla

Slice bananas into stylish diagonal slices, sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Melt butter in a frypan, add banana/sugar mix, then add vanilla and nutmeg. Cook on a medium-high heat until  you get a bit of browning on the bananas, then turn down a bit and cook until the bananas are soft.