Free From Foodie: Christmas comfort food

Christmas…. a favourite foodie time of year and a great excuse to experiment with new twists on traditional festive treats. Healthy Free From eating can present a challenge with so many recipes based around gluten flours and serious amounts of sugar…but with a few creative tweaks there’s no need to miss out.
This week’s gluten free blog brings together two Christmassy comfort foods……rustic mince pies with a crunchy almond crust…..and the ultimate winter dessert (or even better, breakfast!), apple crumble, here with a nutritious seed and nut topping and festively flavoured with cinnamon, cloves, orange and cranberry.

Christmas Comfort FoodAlmond crunch mince pies

Ingredients (makes 6 mince pies)

 

  • 100g ground almonds
  • 50g whole almonds, chopped quite finely (or just use 150g ground almonds)
  • Generous pinch sea salt
  • 1tbs good olive oil
  • 1 tbs organic virgin coconut oil (melted)
  • 1 tbs Fairtrade honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • Mincemeat (my favourite ready-made mincemeat is by Infinity foods: organic, sugar and suet free)
  • Small handful flaked almonds

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°c
  2. Rough chop the slivered almonds and combine in a bowl with ground almonds and salt
  3. In a second bowl whisk together the oils, honey and vanilla. Stir into the almond mix and bring together to form a moist, course dough
  4. Split dough into 6 even sized pieces and press each into a non-stick muffin tin to form the 6 pie crust shells
  5. Blind bake for 8-10 minutes until just golden brown. Cool in the baking tray prior to filling
  6. Fill shells with mincemeat and top with flaked almonds
  7. Cook for a further 10 minutes until warmed through
  8. Serve warm from the oven or cool in the baking tray for 10 minutes and then on a wire rack

Christmas spiced crumble

Ingredients (serves 4)Crumble

  • 4 large apples of your choice (I like Braeburn for this)
  • Juice and zest of 1 large or 2 small organic oranges (or use clementines)
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • 6-8 cloves
  • Handful of fresh or frozen cranberries (optional)

Crumble topping

Preparation method

  1. Preheat oven to 170°c (unless making in advance to heat later)
  2. Peel (if preferred), core and chop the apples into small pieces. Put in a saucepan with the orange juice, cinnamon stick, cloves and cranberries if using. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until tender
  3. Gently warm coconut oil, ground cinnamon, vanilla essence, honey, orange zest and cranberries, stirring while the oil melts
  4. Put all other ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to chop coarsely, alternatively chop by hand.
  5. Add the warmed oil mix to the chopped nuts and seeds and stir to thoroughly to coat
  6. Put the apples into a baking dish or individual ramekins and top with the crumble mixture
  7. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes until lightly golden, it may take longer if cooking from cold

Nicky Robinson combines her work in fair trade with other life-long passions for natural good food and positive healthy living. Her own experience with Coeliac Disease has led her to study for an MSc in Nutritional Therapy and develop a special interest in nutritious and delicious gluten free cooking

Nicky Robinson

Nicky Robinson combines her work in fair trade with other life-long passions for natural good food and positive healthy living. Her own experiences with Coeliac Disease have led to her study for an MSc in Nutritional Therapy and special interest in nutritious and delicious gluten free cooking.

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