Tag Archives: vanilla extract

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Crème Caramel

Creme caramel 2

When I was young, I loved Crème Caramel. I adored the taste and texture of the slightly burnt caramel against the soft, vanilla custard. Sometimes when we went to visit my granny, we’d go out for lunch. She had a favourite restaurant that we invariably went to – and they often had this on the desserts trolley. (They also had steak for 75p extra – which my father always let us have when he was able to join us.) Happy times!

When I found out that I was allergic/intolerant to dairy products, this was just one of many, many recipes I couldn’t eat. I stored it away in my mind. I hadn’t thought to try making a dairy-free version until recently, when I saw Bonne Maman Crème Caramels in a shop, and thought I’d give it a go. It was surprisingly easy – and brought lovely memories of lunch with my granny flooding back…

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Serves 4     Preparation time 10 minutes     Cooking time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

dairy-free margarine, for greasing
150g/5½oz/⅔ cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
350ml/21fl oz/scant 2½ cups dairy-free milk
3 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/gas 2 and grease four 250ml/9fl oz/1-cup ramekins with dairy-free margarine.

    2. Put 125g/4½oz/heaped ½ cup of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and add 3 tablespoons of water. Shake the pan gently to incorporate the water into the sugar. Heat over a medium-high heat for 6–8 minutes, without stirring, until the sugar has turned a deep golden brown and caramelised. Make sure you don’t leave the sugar for too long as it will turn dark brown and burn. Pour the caramel mixture equally into the ramekins.

    3. Meanwhile, pour the dairy-free milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and pour the dairy-free milk through a sieve into a bowl.

    4. Using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs and egg yolk, the vanilla extract and the remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl, until pale and thick. Add the strained milk and beat thoroughly.

    5. Divide the mixture into the ramekins and put them in a large baking dish or roasting tin. Pour enough boiling water in to the dish to reach halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30–35 minutes until firm to the touch and starting to turn golden.

    6. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely. Cover with cling film and leave to chill in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Serve cold.

Gluten-Free & Dairy-Free Pomegranate & Pistachio Cake

Pomegranate cake

Pomegranate cake piece

Yesterday, I woke up at 4am, pushed the curtains to one side, and took a quick look outside. It was one of those magical mornings, with whisps of morning mist, and all the signs that it was going to be a sunny day. I went back to sleep, thinking ‘I’ll make a picnic for lunch’. And, yep, the sun shone, the birds sang – and, at last, it was time for summery food!

This cake is an absolute joy to eat. It’s beautifully moist but holds together well. And it’s full of flavours from the pomegranates, almonds and pistachios. I made it with a very simple dairy-free yogurt and honey topping (but, of course, you can do a different frosting if you want a more conventional sugary one!)

gluten-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, seed-free, citrus-free

Makes 1 cake     Preparation time 25 minutes     Cooking time 40 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 150g/5½oz dairy-free margarine, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 175g/6oz/scant 1 cup fruit sugar or caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 60g/2¼oz/scant ¼ cup rice flour
  • 20g/¾oz/scant ⅓ cup gram flour
  • 20g/¾oz/scant ⅓ cup maize flour
  • 1 tsp gluten-free baking powder
  • ½ tsp xanthan gum
  • 50g/1¾oz/½ cup ground almonds
  • 100g/3½oz/⅔ cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

Topping:

  • 100g/3½oz dairy-free yogurt
  • 2 tbsp clear honey
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and lightly grease a deep 20cm/8in springform cake tins with dairy-free margarine. Halve the pomegranates and, holding each half over a large mixing bowl, bash the outer skin with a wooden spoon until all of the seeds fall into the bowl. You’ll need to bash the skin a few times before the seeds begin to fall out, but they will. And you might need to pick a few pieces of pith out of the bowl. Put a quarter of the pomegranate seeds into another dish and leave to one side, covered in cling film, to decorate the cake.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the dairy-free margarine and sugar together in another large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla extract, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Sift the flours, gluten-free baking powder and xanthan gum into the mixture, add the ground almonds, and fold in. Add the pistachios and three-quarters of the pomegranate seeds and mix in gently. Make sure the mixture is well mixed but take care not to overmix it. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and level the surfaces with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake for about 40 minutes until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
  4. Mix together the yogurt and honey in a bowl until smooth. Spread the topping over the cake, cover with the remaining pomegranate seeds and serve. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.

Dairy-Free Strawberry Semifreddo


Whip up a delicious taste of summer with this dairy- and egg-free semifreddo. This is incredibly simple and quick to make – and looks very pretty. A classic semifreddo is usually made with eggs but I haven’t done so for this version. And I’ve used soya cream which gives the semifreddo a truly creamy taste and texture. One to enjoy throughout the summer!

gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, nut-free, seed-free, egg-free, citrus-free

Preparation time 2 minutes  cooking time 10 minutes plus 3-3½ hours freezing time  serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 200g strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 120g runny honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cornflour
  • 250ml soya cream

Coulis:

  • 375g strawberries, hulled
  • 3 tbsp xylitol or fruit sugar
  1. Place the strawberries, honey and vanilla extract in a heavy-based saucepan and cook gently over a low heat for 5-6 minutes until the strawberries have softened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  2. Meanwhile, pour the soya cream into a medium-sized saucepan and heat gently for 3-4 minutes until just starting to boil. Mix the cornflour and 1 tbsp water together in a small bowl to form a smooth paste. Add to the cream and, using a whisk or a hand-held electric whisk, whisk for 2-3 minutes until the cream has thickened a little. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  3. Line a 450g loaf tin with a large piece of cling film. Pour the strawberry mixture into the cream mixture and stir in gently until all the cream mixture has changed colour. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin, ensuring that the strawberry pieces are evenly distributed on the bottom of the tin, and cover with the cling film. Place in the freezer for 3-3½ hours, or overnight, until set.
  4. To make the coulis, place the strawberries and xylitol or sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and cook gently over a low heat for 4-5 minutes. Push the mixture through a fine non-metallic sieve, discard the pulp and leave to cool.
  5. Before serving, remove the semifreddo from the freezer and leave to soften slightly at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. Cut the semifreddo into slices and serve with the coulis.