No.1 The Strand Chef
There is a lot more awareness of gluten free products these days and lots of menus cater for those with gluten intolerance.
Last week it was Coeliac Awareness Week and, without realising it, the bacon recipe was gluten free, as are 60 per cent of the recipes I have shared in the Flavour Secrets column, it’s just that I don't always mention that they are gluten free. Perhaps I don't want to be seen jumping on the band wagon.
Ten years ago before the words ‘gluten free’, there was the word ‘flourless’ which I have used for many base recipes. So now that gluten free is all the rage, I just use my trusted old recipes that are flourless for most gluten free options.
There are some tricks that I have learned, like using glutinous rice flour which actually contains no gluten, to bind things together. For example, a simple batter can be made using maize cornflour, fine polenta, and glutinous rice flour, and a pinch of baking soda and water, so even the most gluten intolerant can have their fish battered.
For this week’s gluten free baking recipe I have made up a very moreish rhubarb, apple and ricotta baked cheesecake.
Baked Rhubarb and Apple Cheesecake
Makes a 22cm cheesecake tin
6-8 stalks of rhubarb
6 Granny Smith apples
100g caster sugar
50g brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla syrup
1 tablespoon maize cornflour
4 whole eggs
2 egg yokes
2 egg whites
350g ground almonds
200g cream cheese
Peel, core and dice the apples. Cook in a knob of the butter and add half the caster sugar. Cook until the apple begins to soften up then add the rhubarb chopped into 3cm chunks. Cook until it also starts to break down. Thicken this mixture by adding cornflour with a little water and stirring in. Allow to cool.
Make the base by adding chilled remaining butter to the ground almonds and brown sugar while in a food possessor then add the egg whites to form a mass. If the mixture is too crumbly, add a few drops of water.
Press this mixture into a baking tray or cake tin. Bake the base in a moderate oven 180 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes.
Add together the ricotta, vanilla, and softened cream cheese in the food possessor with the remaining sugar and the eggs and yokes. Fold in the chilled rhubarb and apple mix then pour on top of the prepared base. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius for around 40-50 minutes. When you tap the side of the tin the cheesecake should still wobble slightly and should be an even brown colour on top.
Allow the cake to cool completely for several hours in the fridge before trying remove from tin, any chunks of rhubarb or apple will sink to the bottom of the cake, leaving a delicious custardy cheesecake top.