With so many people these days having gluten intolerance and coeliac disease, finding ways of making food to accommodate their dietary needs has become essential.
I make my own gluten-free pastry and have, over time, developed a foolproof recipe which seems to work and is more manageable than others I have tried in the past. Usually, gluten-free pastry is much more difficult to work with as it has a habit of cracking and falling apart. It is tricky to roll out and sticks if you are not careful about keeping the work surface well floured. I switched to using margarine instead of butter which has helped to overcome some of the difficulties.
My daughter is gluten intolerant so this is why I started to experiment more to be able to give her the food she would otherwise not be able to have. Cheese straws are an example of something she said she missed. Using this pastry, I was able to incorporate the cheese in my usual way. The result is not identical, but she confirms it is a good substitute.
She, like many people who have this intolerance, has struggled through finger buffets and other catering events to find anything she can eat because lots of things are pastry based. When I am catering for buffets and afternoon teas my experience with these recipes has (so far) been universally positive.
Gluten intolerant people so often find their needs are not catered for that having a decent alternative on offer is such a rarity that on its own this can be a big win.
But with this recipe you can go further than simply providing an alternative – you can give them an experience that is the full equivalent.
Try this out with your gluten-free friends, and let me know how you get on!
My recipe for gluten-free pastry
- 225 g gluten-free plain flour
- 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum
- Pinch of salt
- 100 g margarine
- 1 free range egg
Sift the flour, and add the xanthan gum and salt.
Rub the margarine into the flour mixture until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the egg and enough cold water to bind the dough together. The pastry does need to be wetter than normal pastry. You will find that it has a tendency to stick, so you will need to use lots of flour when rolling out.
Refrigerate for at least half an hour before using as you would your normal pastry. It will freeze well, and should stay good for up to three months.