Gluten-free Bakewell Tart

6 glorious gluten-free treats to bake this half term

by Great British Chefs 1 May 2019

These gluten-free baking recipes should help you tick a couple of boxes this half term – not only will they feed some hungry mouths, they’ll also help to keep the kids amused! Here are a few things we’ll be cooking over the coming break.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews.

Great British Chefs is a team of passionate food lovers dedicated to bringing you the latest food stories, news and reviews as well as access to some of Britain’s greatest chefs. Our posts cover everything we are excited about from the latest openings and hottest food trends to brilliant new producers and exclusive chef interviews.

With the kids out of school for a week, half term presents a welcome opportunity to spend some quality time with the family. Perhaps you’ll take advantage of the improving weather and pack everyone in the car for a week away, but if you’re planning something a little closer to home, doubtless there will be plenty of hungry mouths to feed. And if you’re looking for some easy, tasty baked treats to keep the kids satisfied (and busy), you’ve come to the right place.

We’re much more aware these days of how our food affects us, with more and more of us realising we are allergic or intolerant to gluten. Many of us are also turning to gluten-free flours simply to lessen the impact of gluten on our bodies. Gluten is an important part of certain baking traditions – it binds bread and swells pancake batter, for example – but contrary to popular opinion, gluten-free baking doesn’t have to be inferior. There are many cases where you’re actually trying not to develop gluten in baking – pastry, for example, and biscuits too. Gluten-free flour is ideal for short, crumbly treats like this, but it also makes fantastic bread and pancakes too; all you need is a good recipe.

We’ve pulled together a few of our favourite gluten-free baking recipes which are perfect for getting the kids involved over the half term break. Take a look and get those work surfaces dusted with flour!

Gluten-free buckwheat, ginger and chocolate chip cookies

Though the name might suggest otherwise, buckwheat actually contains no wheat at all and therefore no gluten (but always make sure the bag of buckwheat you're buying is certified as gluten-free). What it does have is a distinctive nutty flavour that perfectly complements sweet flavours like chocolate, which in turn goes nicely with the mellow spice of ground ginger. If you’re looking for a crumbly biscuit, though, you won’t find that here; this is an American cookie in every sense of the word – chewy, malleable and best eaten warm.

Gluten-free chocolate fondants

The dastardly chocolate fondant has felled many a competent cook, but why? Fondants aren’t terribly hard to make, but they always play on our minds as we worry whether the centre will stay liquid or not. This recipe breaks things down to their most simple so you don’t have to worry about a thing; just melt chocolate, whisk eggs and sugar, fold with rice flour and then bake for twelve to fifteen minutes. Prepare for oozy goodness and some very happy children.

Gluten-free onion and thyme focaccia

Bread has been a problem area for gluten-free flours in the past – it’s hard to recreate the tearable texture that comes from wheat gluten. Victoria Glass uses xanthan gum to help recreate some of that stretchiness in her dough, and adds vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to give the bread an extra boost as it rises. On the plus side, you don’t need to worry about any kneading! Just mix your ingredients, leave to rise in a warm spot then bake and top with a generous scattering of caramelised onions and thyme.

Gluten-free vegan banana bread

Banana bread is a real crowd-pleaser and ever so easy to throw together. This recipe was born out of the need to use up a variety of different nuts, dried fruits and flours, but the dense, chewy texture of a good banana bread actually means it often comes out better when made with gluten-free flour. Once you've mashed up your bananas, just stir in the rest of your ingredients, pour into your tin and bake. Delicious.

Gluten-free Florentines

These chewy Italian biscuits look impressive, but are really simple to make. The decadence starts with butter, cream, sugar and honey, boiled together and mixed with glacé cherries, coconut, stem ginger and a bit of rice flour to help bind the mixture together. Give the florentines ten minutes in the oven and they're ready for the finishing touch – a layer of melted chocolate that sits nicely over the top. Perhaps keep these back for a special treat.

Gluten-free bakewell tart

Bakewell tart is a bonafide classic and definitely one of those desserts that is just as good gluten-free as it is when made with wheat flour. Ground almonds are, in effect, almond flour, so Bakewell tart doesn’t require a whole lot of adjustment on this front. Victoria uses rice flour in her pastry and a little bit more to bind her frangipane, but other than that it’s full steam ahead with the almonds, raspberry jam and vanilla. As tarts go, Bakewell is pretty straightforward to put together – there’s no need to blind-bake when you’re dealing with frangipane so just line a tart case, pipe in your filling and bake. Oh, and remember to leave out the amaretto if you're planning on feeding this to the kids!