Week 8? How did I get to Week 8 when I didn’t even plan on joining in on the Great Bloggers Bake Off? Gluten free, schmuten free! I’ve been so pleased with the results of my gluten free baking even if they didn’t always turn out perfect. What I’ve also been pleased with is the renewed interest I have in making gluten free bakery items. When I was first diagnosed with Coeliac Disease nearly 3 years ago, I had a fire in my ouchy belly. I was determined to make things that I could eat. I was determined to eat yummy bread and eliminate some of the exhorbitant cost associated with gluten free products. And then life got in the way. I began to resort to store-bought treats now and again and kind of gave up on the idea of eating sweet treats. So, while my waistline may not thank me, I am so pleased to have had my passion renewed. And as ever, I digress…
Week 8 is all about FREE FROM! With the increasing need for gluten free, dairy free, lactose free foods, the Great British Bake Off has deviated from the norm by challenging their bakers to three free from challenges:
- Signature: a loaf using non-traditional flours like spelt, rye, tapioca, rice, potato, etc. Not all of these are gluten free but it certainly fits the GF brief if necessary.
- Technical: a Dacquoise- a traditional, gluten free meringue creation that has several variations
- Showstopper: a novelty, vegetable-based cake that is dairy free
I decided to push the boat out and give the Dacquoise a run for its money as it is essentially gluten free naturally. I knew I could also try a non-traditional flour recipe (my fall back plan was Corn Bread which I love but haven’t had since I can’t remember when) but I wanted to challenge myself, even if it ended in tears.
I started with the Raspberry Dacquoise recipe from the Great British Bake Off Showstoppers cookbook and made a filling of my own creation. My Chocolat et Framboise Dacquoise is most certainly nothing like the ones created on the Great British Bake Off on Tuesday’s show but I am very proud of it nonetheless.
All good gluten free things begin with Meringue which is fast becoming one of my favourite things to do with my archaeic hand mixer (oh I do dream of thee, Kitchenaid mixer!). Once I had whipped 10 egg whites (good God, heart attack separating those bad boys) and used our ancient food processor to grind the chopped hazelnuts, I added the nut and sugar mixture gently to the egg whites with a metal spoon (crucial utensil) and did my best to NOT beat the air out of the egg whites.
Piping scares the bejesus out of me. Mainly it’s the filling of the piping bag so if someone can help me out with that, I’d be most appreciative! I went with the “splodge” method favoured by GBBO contestant (and generally most whinged about contestant) Ruby but did give piping a go on one of the three discs. In the end, it didn’t make a difference as it all baked into a uniform splodge anyway. C’est la vie. After about 35 minutes in my fan-assisted oven, the meringues were done. They ended up looking like this:
I was a bit wary of how they would eventually end up but I let them cool and got on with making my Chocolate Cream Cheese filling. The recipe is very simple and is one that I use with a gluten free biscuit base for Cheesecake.
- 2 heaped tablespoons of icing sugar
- 300ml whipping cream
- 2x 150g chocolate cream cheese
The method is very simple: place icing sugar in the bottom of a glass bowl; dump in whipping cream and cream cheese. Whip with hand mixer but only to a thickening consistency. If you whip too hard or too long you can separate the whole thing which then gives you chocolate milk. I may know this from experience.
Once my meringue discs were cooled, I carefully peeled the greaseproof paper from the discs (that was a lot harder than I thought it would be!), placed one disc on the bottom of my non-special-plate-that-isn’t-a-cake-stand, loaded up the top of the disc with chocolate cream cheese and repeated this two more times. There was just enough chocolate cream cheese to layer on the top and then adorn with fresh raspberries and dark chocolate sprinkles. Et voila! Chocolat et Framboise Dacquoise!
Crunchy, chewy, chocolatey…divine! Stress?? Yes! But all in all, my version of a Dacquoise was not horrific. It could be far trickier, like on GBBO, but I went for the basics, as was the recipe for the Raspberry Dacquoise in the Great British Bake Off Showstoppers cookbook. Once again, in the end, this is definitely a recipe I will make again provided I can find something to do with the 10 egg yolks left over after using the 10 egg whites!
As usual, this is my entry into the weekly Great Bloggers Bake Off challenge run by the glorious duo known as Helen Hollywood and Jenny Berry from The Crazy Kitchen and Mummy Mishaps respectively. Check out the delectable delights in the free from kitchens of the other brilliant bloggers taking part.