A Few Christmas Recipes

Here are just a few of the most asked for recipes for Christmas at the moment. I hope you enjoy making them. next week will be a busy recipe week with a couple of nut roast recipes and a vegan and gluten-free puff pastry Wellington, plus plenty of desserts and sides.

Mince Pies

Makes 12    Preparation Time 40 Minutes      Cook Time 25 Minutes

Mince pies are my very favourite thing about Christmas and for about the last ten years I have made my own mincemeat too. It gives me the chance to include the fruits and spices that I love. When I became coeliac it took me quite a while to find a good recipe for me and I certainly had a lot of fails. Becoming vegan added more problems until finally, I achieved the buttery crumbly texture I wanted. There is some wonderful shop-bought mincemeat out there that are gluten-free and vegan, plus you can always add to them. Whether that means some cranberries or a drop of alcohol.

I always make way to many and there are still mince pies in July in my freezer, not a problem for me. I hope you like this recipe as much as I do.


Ingredients

  • 250g Plain flour  (I used my gluten-free plain flour mix)
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum if using gluten-free flour
  • 62g caster sugar
  • 150g dairy-free butter
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • more water if necessary
  • 250g Mincemeat
  • Icing sugar

Method

  1. Mix the ground flax seeds with the 3bsp of water and leave to one side to get gloopy.
  2.  In a large bowl sift the plain flour and xanthan gum.  Add the ground almonds and the butter. Then with the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix in the sugar and then add the flaxseed mixture. Using a round edge knife or the tips of your fingers gather it together to form a ball. Do not overwork the dough. Place the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C and spray a 12 hole muffin tin with oil.
  5. Divide the dough into 2 pieces, the larger being for the cases. Place the rested dough on a piece of baking parchment dusted with flour and lightly dust the rolling pin. Gently roll out the dough and using a large pastry cutter cut out 12 cases, you may need to re-roll.
  6. Press into the tins and fill almost to the top with the mincemeat.
  7. Using the last piece of dough roll out and using a smaller cutter (I used a star cutter) cut 12 tops and place on the mincemeat.
  8. Sprinkle with a little caster sugar and place in the oven until golden brown, approximately 25 minutes.
  9. Once cool if not freezing dust with icing sugar and place in an airtight tin.

Cranberry & Orange Sauce

  • 100ml orange juice
  • 125g light soft brown sugar
  • 300g fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • zest of 1 orange
  1. Place the cranberries, sugar, orange juice, cinnamon, zest and empty skin of the orange in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Cook until the sugar has melted and the cranberries have begun to break down. Remove the empty orange skin.
  3. Mash some of the cranberries with a fork but you want to retain some of the whole fruit. leave to cool. This will thicken once it has cooled. Also, this freezes really well so a great item to make in advance.

Vegan Stollen

If there is one definitive food that signals the arrival of the festive season in our house, then it has to be the German Christmas bread Stollen.  This loaf that has a thick dusting of icing sugar on the outside, is meant to resemble the baby Jesus in swaddling clothing. This buttery bread enriched with dried fruit, nuts, citrus peel, and marzipan has become extremely popular, especially over the last five years.

Less heavy than the traditional English Christmas cake but still retains a hint of all those festive spices we love.

I have always baked my own as my family was not keen on the shop-bought version and I think you can dictate what ingredients that you wish to use. I love to use alcohol in mine, which is poured over the fruit. I used rum but brandy or port work well. Also alcohol help with the shelf life of this bread.

Although I am the chief stollen baker and I bake them for friends and family, well anyone that wants one, I must confess I loathe marzipan.

For other marzipan haters, you can still make the bread and it will still have that festive feeling.

This does take a while to do as it does need the proving times, but it is so worth it. Now is a great time to get baking a few loaves, as they store so well. Wrapped up correctly they will last 4-6 weeks.

The fruit does need some time to soak in the alcohol and spices ahead of time. At least 2 hours but if you are planning to bake the stollen the next day soak the fruits the night before.

Ingredients

  • 500g white bread flour
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 10g quick action yeast yeast
  • 10g salt
  • 250 ml of dairy free milk
  • 150 softened dairy-free butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 200ml rum or brandy
  • 50g blanched and chopped almonds
  • 250g mixed dry fruit
  • 220g marzipan  (check it is vegan)
  • 25g  melted butter

Instructions

In a large bowl add the fruit, almonds, spices, almond extract, lemon zest, and rum and mix together. Leave to soak for a few hours, or even better leave them to soak the night before.

In a large bowl or a bowl of a stand mixer with a dough hook add the flour and the sugar. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt on the opposite side. Next add the softened butter and most of the milk, stir and add the remaining milk. Bring the mixture together to form a soft dough. Then knead on a work surface or with a dough hook for 5-7 minutes.

Place the dough on top of the soaked fruits and by hand knead them into the bread, making sure they are well incorporated throughout the dough.

Place back into the bowl and cover with clingfilm. Leave to prove in a warm place until it is doubled in size. This should take between 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

Next tip out of the bowl and knock back the dough. If making 2 small loaves then divide into 2 equal pieces.

Roll the whole dough into a rectangle or if you are making 2 loaves, divide the dough into 2 and roll out each piece into a rectangle. Brush the rolled dough with melted butter.

uncooked stollen

Then you have a choice of how you wish to use the marzipan. Either roll it up in a cylinder, as shown in the top picture. Place it on the long edge of the dough and then roll it up, making sure the seam is underneath. The other way is to roll out your marzipan roughly to the size of your rolled dough and roll both up together, like a swiss roll. Again making sure the seam is underneath.

Cover them with a damp tea towel and leave them in a warm place for about  1 1/2 hours to prove again.

Heat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Place the loaf or loaves in the hot oven and bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until light gold colour.  Glaze with some melted butter and brush over the loaves. Place on a wire rack to cool, then dust liberally with icing sugar.

When the loaves are thoroughly cool, wrap loosely in waxed paper or clingfilm and keep in an airtight tin.

PS: If you make stollen, don’t forget to tag me on twitter as @veganalchemist1 or my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thegfveganalchemist I love seeing your versions of my recipes. Or I would love to hear your comments.

Bread sauce, vegan and gluten-free

  • 1 onion
  • 7-12 cloves, depending on how strong you wish it.
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • sprig of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 500ml dairy-free milk
  • 100ml soya or oat cream
  • 175g fresh white breadcrumbs (gf if needed).
  • 50g dairy-free butter
  • A few rosemary leaves (optional)

Method

1. Stud the onion with the cloves, I used 7 as I didn’t want mine too strong. Place in a saucepan with peppercorns, thyme, garlic, bay leaves, garlic, nutmeg, soya cream and milk.

2. On medium heat bring the liquid up to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and put to one side to let all the flavours infuse for 2 hours.

3. Strain the milk mixture of the onion and flavourings. Put it back on the heat and add the breadcrumbs and cook for 5 minutes until the mixture has thickened. I like a little texture with mine. Add salt and pepper and then taste to see if it needs adjusting.

4. Just before you are ready to serve the bread sauce, add the butter and stir in until it has melted and serve straight away with some sprinkled grated nutmeg.

 

 

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