Thursday 24 May 2012

Apple & Cinnamon Buns – Cookbook Review

No Meat, No Dairy, No Gluten, Just Flavour…and Goodness. This is the title of the cookery book by Wendy Horne that I was recently sent to review. Being both vegetarian and coeliac it captured my attention as it is quite rare to find a vegetarian friendly gluten free cookbook. A number of coeliacs I know also can’t tolerate dairy, so the fact this book encompassed all three was great. It is probably worth a mention thought that it’s vegetarian friendly, but not vegan friendly, as even though no dairy products are used, the recipes do contain eggs.

My first impression of the book was a little sceptical. The pictures on the front looked a bit dull and dated and inside the recipes are simply set out with no photos or pictures. However, I know it’s rather clichéd but as the saying goes ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ as while flicking through the book I kept coming across delicious sounding dishes and have ended up with lots of tags stuck out the top for recipes I want to try. It was lovely having the pick of the entire book without the need to - ignore the chicken or work out a suitable flour substitute as I usually have to.

The recipes are split into soups, salads, main courses, terrines, potatoes, puddings & cakes and odds & ends such as chutneys. While trying to decide which recipe to make first it was a toss up between some little lentil pies or these apple & cinnamon buns. The buns won out in the end! The recipe intrigued me as:
1)      it was made entirely in a food processor
2)      it contained raw blitzed apple puree in the batter, not cooked like most recipes call and…
3)      it was apple and cinnamon – how could I resist!?

I followed the recipe to the letter, even using the requested dairy free Pure spread as I fortunately had some in the fridge after recently making a dairy free cake for a friend. The little buns contain apple in two forms. A large amount is blitzed into the cake batter and then some more finely chopped chunks are stirred in at the end. The recipe just stated ‘apple’ rather than specifying cooking or eating apples and so I decided to use a Bramley cooking apple in the blitzed up batter and a sweeter red eating apple for the little chunks. This worked well and resulted in a tart fresh tasting apple flavour to the cake while any little chunks bitten into were sweet and pleasant. I left the skin on the chunks of apple too, as the little red flecks looked pretty when you took a bite.

The cakes were incredibly light and moist and scattered with tiny air pockets throughout. The cinnamon flavour was quite pronounced which I adored and was the perfect pairing for the apple.

All the fresh pureed apple meant by the following morning the buns had come away from their cases and had developed a sticky top surface, becoming even more moist and tender, just like a good ginger cake. I had one slightly warmed with custard for pudding and it was gorgeous.

I’m sure the recipe would work well with other fruit too, maybe a firm pear and ginger combo, or fresh cranberry and orange zest…? No one would ever guess they were gluten and dairy free! I can’t wait to bake something else from the book, I think those little lentil pies are next on the list.

Apple & Cinnamon Buns
Recipe from No Meat, No Dairy, No Gluten, Just Flavour and Goodness by Wendy Horne
110g Pure dairy free spread
110g golden caster sugar
¼ tsp xanthan gum
175g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves Farm Plain)
2 eggs
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp cinnamon
50g ground almonds
175g apple, peeled and chopped (I used Bramley)
50g apple, peeled and finely diced (I used unpeeled red eating apple)

Heat the oven to 160C and line a muffin tin with 12 paper cases.
In a food processor, whiz the pure dairy free spread and sugar together until smooth.
Add half the flour and mix briefly. Add the eggs, blitz again and then add the rest of the flour, cinnamon and the xanthan gum.
Add the large amount of chopped apple and blitz until mostly broken down and only little flecks remain.
Add the almonds, bicarbonate of soda, cream of tartar and blitz to incorporate.
Add the diced apple and pulse once to combine, you don’t want to break the apple up though.
Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases, about 1½ tbsp of mix in each.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes (mine took 24 minutes)
Once baked, leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack until cold.
Makes 12


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

These would be perfect to cater for a range of allergies yet still delicious enough for everyone! :D

Caity @ Awkward Kitchenette said...

Those look great! Good idea with the two different types of apples, it sounds delicious.

Johanna GGG said...

Sounds like a great book. And these buns sound perfect for you. I love the sound of them, esp sticky the next day - will look out for the book

Choclette said...

Oh yum, they sound delicious, apple and cinnamon is such a lovely combination. Nice idea to use fresh pureed apple rather than cooking it first.

ISABELLA said...

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