Ultimate Guide to Alternative & Gluten-Free Flours

There is more to gluten-free baking than just reaching for the bag of all purpose gluten-free flour. A huge range of alternative flours can now be found at supermarkets and health food shops which can make your gluten-free baking so much more exciting.

Your cakes can have more flavour and a better texture than their wheat counterparts. You just need to choose the right flour and I’m here to teach you how. Goodbye to dry crumbly baked goods and hello to a world of truly delicious gluten-free bakes.

Collection of images of gluten-free flours with text overlay

I can’t believe that’s gluten-free!
This is the best cake I have ever tasted!

These are regular comments I get from customers, friends, family or overhear at a parties I have catered.

It’s true. Gluten-free cakes should not be dry, crumbly, pasty or gummy. Those issues only occur when the wrong flour has been chosen.

There are so many different gluten-free and alternative flours which are now readily available at supermarkets, your local health shop or Amazon. The freedom to experiment is endless. If you are new to gluten-free baking or using alternative flours then this Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free and Alternative Flours is a perfect place to start.

Little heaps of different gluten-free flours on a wooden board

Function of flour in baking

Flour is a powdery substance, ground from a larger source and used in baked goods to provide structure.

The most common flour used in baking is ground from wheat which has a neutral taste, meaning it can be used in sweet or savoury recipes and across many cuisines. You’ll know it as either plain flour or all-purpose flour (AP flour).

However, the true function of wheat flour lies in a powerful group of proteins found within its structure. When this group of proteins is introduced to a liquid they form gluten – a network of strong interlocking bonds which are highly elastic.

Due to the strength of these bonds gluten gives excellent structure to all manner of baked goods. The elasticity between the bonds mean the end results also have a wonderful soft and bouncy texture.

Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle cake on a plate on a wooden table

Removing gluten from baking

So what happens if we want to remove gluten from all our baked goods? In many cases we still need some sort of flour in our recipe to give our bakes structure.

Not always, see this post on 11 Flourless Bakes for amazing tips and recipes which don’t use any flour.

What flours can we use to replace wheat (rye and barley also contain gluten) and still achieve successful results?

We need to find flours that mimic the same function that gluten and regular flour provides in our baked goods.

Baker’s Tip: There are other ways to replicate gluten in baked goods, not just the choice of flour. For more information please read this Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes which gives even more expert tips for successful gluten-free baking.

Function 1: Binding

The gluten in wheat based flours binds baked goods together using strong interlocking bonds so they don’t fall apart in some big crumbly mess.

Best gluten-free alternative flours for binding

The most effective flours to help bind and hold our bakes together are the starchy flours:

Best Gluten-Free Vanilla Cake on a cake stand on a wooden table

Function 2: Texture

Gluten gives cakes and bread a soft bouncy quality thanks to the elasticity of the gluten proteins.

Some bakers add xanthan gum to their gluten-free recipes which does an excellent job of assisting gluten-free flours with both elasticity and binding. However, this is not always the best choice as it can be a polarising ingredient.

Why I Don’t Bake With Xanthan Gum

Instead different gluten-free flours can provide a variety of textures. The trick is matching the correctly textured flour to the cake you want to bake.

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Function 4: Neutrality

The beauty of plain white flour (AP flour) is that it tastes completely neutral. This is an advantage in any bake as you can use the flour universally.

On the other hand a huge boon in using alternative flours is that many of them have unique and delicious flavours which can enhance recipes and add depth especially to baked goods.

Function 5: Leavening

When these strong interlocking elastic gluten bonds are formed they react with the leavening agent in your recipe (yeast, baking powder or bicarbonate of soda) to cause gas bubbles which inflate these elastic bonds, making your cake or dough rise.

It’s not all good news though as gluten-free flours simply cannot fulfil this same function of leavening which is why you might have experienced flatter and denser bakes when using these flours.

At this point you will need to turn to other sources to help your gluten-free baked goods to rise. There are some excellent tips in my Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes.

baker weighing flour in a glass mixing bowl

What is the best gluten-free flour to use?

So, now we know that alternative flours can fulfil almost the same roles as gluten. Plus, they taste better and they don’t make us sick. So what’s the catch?

I’m sorry, yes there is a catch and I’m sure you’ve noticed it.

There is not one gluten-free flour which can substitute regular all-purpose flour.

We need to use more than one gluten-free flour to do the same job as regular all-purpose flour.

If we put all our confidence in just one alternative flour then we might get some unpleasant results.

  • Sweet rice flour – too stodgy
  • White rice flour – too grainy
  • Coconut flour – too dry
  • Oat flour – too crumbly
  • Almond flour – too dense

If you want a balanced taste but also a chance to retain the right texture and binding qualities of wheat flour, this is where you will need to start blending flours.

“Hey, but don’t some brands like Bob’s Red Mill and Doves Farm do that for us already. That’s what ‘gluten-free flour’ in the supermarket is, right?”

Can I just replace regular flour with gluten-free flour?

Gluten-free flour which you buy in the supermarket is great. However, results can be variable. Each brand of gluten-free flour has a blend of different alternative flours involved.

Some contain more starches, some contain xanthan gum and some contain oat flour which many coeliac sufferers just can’t tolerate. So always check the labels.

There are some occasions where you can certainly just do a straight swap and use one of these gluten-free flour blends instead of regular flour. In these instances I would stick to recipes where there isn’t a lot of flour to begin with, like in a brownie or friand recipe.

Baker’s Tip – That said, you can have great success using these gluten-free flours in conjunction with nut flours. It’s an easy way to convert cake recipes from a non gluten-free recipe. I discuss how to do this in my guide to Nut Flours.

close up of a cut slice of whole lemon cake

How to create your own gluten-free flour blend

The different types of alternative flours can be split into two different categories:

  • Wholegrains – e.g. sorghum flour, teff flour, buckwheat flour
  • Starches – e.g. sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot

The wholegrains will give your bake excellent texture and flavour and the starches will help bind your bake together and give it structure.

I recommend the following rule to create the simplest blend:

70% wholegrain flours (1-3 different flours) :  30% starch (1-2 different flours)

sliced gluten-free irish soda bread on bread board

Gluten-Free and Alternative Flours – Taking it further

So now you are armed with some basic information.

  • Gluten is what gives cakes and bakes structure and texture.
  • You can’t always replace regular flour with gluten-free flour.
  • Different gluten-free and alternative flours provide different functions.
  • You often have to use more than 1 gluten-free flour in a recipe to achieve a similar result to using regular flour.
  • You have a solid ratio to start mixing your own gluten-free flour blend.

I bet you can’t wait to produce these amazing, delicious gluten-free cakes that I’ve been talking about! Although you might feel you need to have a little bit more in depth information about all these alternative flours.

Well, I’m not going to leave you high and dry. I’ve got you covered. Just follow the links below for everything you need to know about all your favourite Gluten-Free and Alternative Flours so you can bake with confidence.

The Ultimate Guide to…

For further reading I highly recommend Alice Medrich’s Flavor Flours. It’s thanks to this book that I’ve become so passionate about gluten-free flours and it gave me the springboard I needed to pursue my knowledge and understanding of these really special ingredients.

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Lemon Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

This Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Cake is a wonderfully indulgent cake for a special occasion. The very lemony sponge is made from ground almonds and plain gluten-free flour so it is incredibly accessible for novice gluten-free bakers. Fresh raspberries are baked into the sponge but also fill the cake along with a lemony mascarpone cream.

Cut Lemon Raspberry Cake on a cake stand with a slice in front

If you are new to gluten-free baking or just want a break from any complicated recipes using a multitude of alternative flours or weird gums then this is the cake for you.

Wonder why I don’t like to bake with xanthan gum? Then read this.

What makes this cake so brilliant

  • Beautifully moist and light texture.
  • Bright tangy flavour from lemon zest and raspberries.
  • Extra special gentle hint of Limoncello.
  • Easy to make – no special gluten-free flours.
  • No xanthan gum!!!
  • Creamy lemony mascarpone filling – so full of flavour.
  • Make ahead. This cake needs an overnight stay in the fridge right at the end of the process, making it perfect for advance baking.

Close up of Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

Two secrets of gluten-free cakes

The sponges are incredibly light and moist since they use two of my favourite techniques for successful gluten-free baking.

Want to know what they are??

1. Ground Almonds

Ground almonds are the secret weapon of any gluten-free baker. They add fantastic moisture and texture to gluten-free cakes and bakes. If you find certain brands of gluten-free flour lead to dry and crumbly cakes then swap in half of the quantity with ground almonds. You’ll be thrilled at the difference this makes.

Baker’s Tip

But I don’t like the taste of almonds. No? Don’t worry about it. If you use supermarket ready ground almonds from a packet then you can barely, if at all, taste the almonds. These packets don’t do a great job of preserving flavour. All the right texture is still there though to produce a gorgeous sponge.

However, if you love the taste of almonds and want to make the most of the flavour then grind the almonds yourself at home. The fresher the grind the more flavour.

Baker’s Tip #2

If you are grinding the almonds yourself then add in a few tablespoons of the caster sugar into the food processor along with the almonds. The caster sugar will help the almonds break down more finely without releasing too much of the almond oils.

For more detailed info on making your own ground almonds and using nut flours in gluten-free baking in general then visit this post.

2. Egg Whites

For this Lemon Raspberry Cake we add in 2 extra egg whites along with the whole 5 eggs.

This adds air and lightness into the sponge.

Sometimes gluten-free cakes are accused of being too dense or heavy. By adding in some extra egg whites we are lifting the cake. It works well here as the creamy raspberry filling needs a lighter sponge.

Baker’s Tip

Adding in the egg whites does add more moisture into the cake so be careful that you don’t just add egg whites into your cakes willy nilly. Start with one egg white in a cake batter you find particular dense and take it from there.

If you want more tips on how to make perfect gluten-free cakes with loads of tips and tricks, then visit the Ultimate Guide to Gluten-Free Cakes.

Lemon Raspberry Cake on a cake stand

How to make a cake more lemony

There is nothing more disappointing than a lemon cake which doesn’t taste of lemon. These are a few methods to add lemon flavour to a cake

  • Lemon zest and juice – These are the most obvious choices. Quite often you need a lot of juice though to really come through so I prefer lemon zest as too much juice messes around with the liquid ratio too much. In this Lemon Raspberry Cake we use the zest of 2 lemons in the sponge.
  • Lemon extract makes the most intense flavour as it is really distilled. If you go this route use a really good shop bought organic extract.
  • Lemon syrup or Limoncello (!) These are excellent flavour enhancers. In this recipe we use Limoncello to brush over the sponges fresh out of the oven which intensifies the flavour. We also use some Limoncello in the Lemon Mascarpone Cream but if you need an alcohol-free version then just substitute with homemade lemon syrup (see method in recipe card).

How to make Lemon Raspberry Cake

1. First whip the egg whites so they are stiff.

whipped egg whites in a mixer
2. Beat the sugar with the lemon zest and butter.

process images of Lemon Raspberry Cake
3. Add the whole eggs one at a time then the vanilla.

batter for Lemon Raspberry Cake in a food mixer
4. Whisk the gluten-free flour, almonds, baking powder and salt. Then add into the batter.

dry ingredients for Lemon Raspberry Cake in glass mixing bowl
5. Fold in the egg whites.

batter being mixed for Lemon Raspberry Cake in a food mixer
6. Divide into two cake tins and press in some fresh raspberries.

raspberries coated in flour in a mixing bowl
7. Bake for 50 minutes at 160°C fan assisted.

batter for Lemon Raspberry Cake in cake tins ready for the oven
8. Once cakes are cool, cut in half to create 4 cake layers.

Lemon Raspberry Cake cut in half
9. Whip the double cream until thick but runny.
10. Add the mascarpone and Limoncello or lemon syrup.
11. Assemble the cake with sponge, then 1/3 cream then 1/3 fresh raspberries.
12. Smooth out the cream around the sides to create the naked look.
13. Wrap the cake in cling film and place in the fridge overnight.

Lemon Raspberry Cake wrapped in cling film ready for the fridge
14. Unwrap the cake, sprinkle over icing sugar and serve.

Baker’s Tips

  • Whisk the egg whites first. It saves washing up the food mixer. Egg whites require a good clean mixing bowl. So whisk them first, tip them into a bowl to set aside. Change the attachment on your mixer from a whisk to a paddle beater then start beating your sugar and butter right in the same mixing bowl, you don’t need to wash it out.
  • Make sure to add the whole eggs one at a time. It makes the sponge lighter. If the eggs are dumped in all at once you risk losing the air you just whipped into the butter and sugar.
  • By all means, if you can’t be bothered with Limoncello or lemon syrup then just add zest of a whole lemon. It won’t be as smooth but still delicious.
  • To cut the cakes in half I really recommend a cake leveller. These are also excellent for cutting the tops off of domed sponges.
  • Don’t skip the step of wrapping and resting the cake in the fridge before serving. This is so the raspberries have a chance to sink into the cream and the cake adheres together.

Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

How to store

The cake will keep up to 3 days wrapped up well in the fridge. Since the cake has fresh cream it should not be left out in the sun or a warm kitchen for any length of time.

Can I freeze Lemon Raspberry Cake?

You can’t freeze the whole finished cake. But you can freeze the initial two cake sponges once cooled. Double wrap well in cling film and tin foil. Remove from the fridge to defrost overnight. Then you can cut the cake halves and make the cream for assembling the cake.

Variations

  • Fruit – this cake is amazing with the raspberries but you can try any berry. Blackberries or blueberries are also particularly good. Or maybe a mixture?
  • Icing – I like this cake with a simple powdered icing sugar top but a raspberry drip, like in this Raspberry Pistachio Cake would look amazing!
  • Cream Cheese Buttercream – swap out the Lemon Mascarpone cream for a simple cream cheese buttercream. Use the recipe from this Carrot Cake.

Close up of Slice of Lemon Raspberry Cake

If you want more amazing lemon and raspberry flavoured gluten-free cakes, then have a look at these:

Whole Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cake
Raspberry Pistachio Cake
Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle
Chocolate Raspberry Cake
Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Raspberry Doughnuts

If you make this Lemon Raspberry Cake then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Lemon Raspberry Cake {gluten-free}

Gluten-Free Lemon Raspberry Cake is a wonderfully indulgent cake for a special occasion. The very lemony sponge is made from ground almonds and plain gluten-free flour so it is incredibly
accessible for novice gluten-free bakers. Fresh raspberries are baked into the sponge but also fill the cake along with a lemony mascarpone cream.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Resting Time4 hrs
Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 people
Calories: 480

Ingredients

  • 320 g caster sugar
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 240 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 180 g gluten-free plain flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 180 g ground almonds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 300 g raspberries
  • 25 ml limoncello or Homemade Lemon Syrup

Homemade Lemon Syrup (optional substitution for the Limoncello)

  • 6 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • juice of 2 lemons

Lemon Mascarpone Cream

  • 300 ml double cream
  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 1 tablespoon limoncello or lemon syrup
  • 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/160°C/gas mark 4 and line and grease a 2 x 8 inch round cake tins.
  • Whisk the egg whites until stiff in a very clean bowl and set aside.
  • Beat the sugar with the lemon zest and butter until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions.
  • Add the vanilla extract.
  • Whisk together the flour, almonds, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl then beat into the rest of the ingredients.
  • Finally fold in the egg whites.
  • Divide the cake between the two tins.
  • Sprinkle the extra tablespoon of gluten-free flour over the raspberries and shake the bowl until the raspberries are well coated in the flour.
  • Drop 75g of raspberries into each tin, smoothing the cake batter over the top.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove the cakes from the oven, leave in their tins for 5 minutes before inserting them out onto cooling racks.
  • Brush 2 tablespoons of limoncello liberally over the top surface of the cakes.

Homemade Lemon Syrup

  • Pour the caster sugar and water into a small saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Whisk in the lemon juice and simmer for a couple of minutes.
  • Remove the lemon syrup from the heat and leave to cool.

Lemon Mascarpone Cream

  • Whip the double cream in a medium sized bowl until thick but still a little runny.
  • Add the mascarpone and limoncello (or lemon syrup) and mix in until smooth.

Assembly

  • Cut both cakes in half so you end up with 4 cake layers.
  • Place one of the cake layers on a round 8 inch cake card for support.
  • Take 1/3 of the Lemon Mascarpone Cream and completely cover the top of the cake to the very edges of the sponge.
  • Sprinkle over the cream 50g of raspberries, pressing slightly into the cream.
  • Lay the second cake layer over the top, pressing down gently so the cake layer is even. Cover with another 1/3 of the cream and sprinkle over another 50g raspberries.
  • Lay the third cake layer over the top and repeat with the last of the cream and raspberries.
  • Finally place on the last cake layer, pressing gently so the cake have an even straight top.
  • Using a palette knife, smooth the cream, which will have burst out of the sides of the cake, along the sides of the cake creating the ‘naked’ look.
  • Wrap the cake in cling film and place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or up to overnight to settle.
  • Just before serving unwrap the cake, place on a serving plate and sieve some icing sugar over the top surface.

Notes

Limoncello or Lemon Syrup
  • If you don’t want to include any alcohol in this cake then you can substitute the Limoncello with the Homemade Lemon Syrup outlined in the recipe above. If you are using the Limoncello then you don’t need the Lemon Syrup
Lemon Mascarpone Cream
  • Use a balloon whisk to whip the double cream and always whisk by hand for maximum control. The cream can be overwhipped in a matter of moments. The double cream will continue to be whipped when you are mixing with the mascarpone so if anything underwhip the double cream at first.
Assembly
  • Use a sharp knife or a special cake cutting tool to cut the cakes in half.
  • It’s important to wrap the cake up and leave to rest before serving. This is so the raspberries have a chance to sink into the cream and the cake adheres together.
Store
  • The cake will keep up to 3 days wrapped up well in the fridge. Since the cake has fresh cream it should not be left out in the sun or a warm kitchen for any length of time.
Freeze
  • You can freeze the initial two cake sponges once cooled. Double wrap well in cling film and tin foil. Remove from the fridge to defrost overnight. Then you can cut the cake halves and make the cream for assembling the cake.

Nutrition

Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 109mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 28g | Vitamin A: 950IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 1mg

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

This Pork Belly Salad is a revelation. It is the perfect balance of crackling crunch, melting meat, crisp apple, sweet walnuts and peppery dressing.

Roast Pork Belly Apple & Caramelised Walnut Salad in a white bowl on a wooden board

This recipe was originally published in 2014 but there was one key issue I had with the recipe which meant I didn’t make it as often as I wanted to. The pork belly took too long to cook.

But guess what?? I fixed it. This pork belly salad is now a quick and delicious week night supper. It bursts with flavour and will be a guaranteed hit with anyone you serve it to.

What’s so brilliant about this Pork Belly Salad

  • If you like salads with big hearty flavour this is one for you as the pork belly smacks you round the chops with garlicky lemon zest and herbs.
  • Plus its salty crisp crackling and soft tender meat is so divine.
  • The apple adds a fresh juicy crunch.
  • The bitterness of the walnuts contrast perfectly with their salted caramel coating and make the salad something quite special.
  • The honey mustard dressing brings all the flavour components together perfectly.
  • It’s wonderfully satisfying and doesn’t leave you laden down with that carby feeling.

Bowl of Roast Pork Belly Apple & Caramelised Walnut Salad on a wooden board

If you want some more big flavoured salads then why not try:

Coronation Chicken Salad
Easy Brown Rice Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Tahini Turmeric Dressing

So how do you make a quick pork belly recipe?

Easy. Use pork belly slices. Our butcher actually pre-butchers the pork belly and displays it in slices as it’s so much less hassle to cook it that way.

Also you can get more flavour into your pork belly by seasoning it and cooking it in slices.

The pork belly slices cooking time is only 30 minutes to roast in the oven. In that time you will achieve soft and tender meat and gorgeously crunchy crackling that almost melts into the pork.

Freshly roasted pork belly strips resting in a bowl

How to make the best pork seasoning

This is my favourite pork seasoning and I use it as a dry rub on everything from pork chops to pulled pork. It’s easy to prepare and so punchy with flavour. All you need is:

  • fresh rosemary
  • fennel seeds
  • garlic powder
  • lemon zest
  • salt and pepper

Ingredients for pork belly seasoning on the work top

Finely chop the rosemary leaves and mix them with crushed fennel seeds, garlic powder, lemon zest and salt and pepper then rub all over your pork before cooking. No marinating time needed.

How to cook pork belly slices

Pork belly slices are incredibly easy and quick to cook. Plus they seem really impressive.

  • First make several incisions along the skin of the pork belly to open up the fat. This means your crackling will cook in the same amount of time as your meat. The crackling will be crunchy and your pork will be soft and juicy.

Raw Pork belly on a wooden board

  • Pat the pork belly dry with kitchen towel then place uncovered in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight. This will help dry out the fat for the crackling to really crisp up.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  • Rub the seasoning mix all over the pork belly slices.

Pork belly slices on a board covered in pork seasoning

  • Lay them, untouching, on a metal rack set over a deep roasting tray.

Roast pork belly slices on a tray ready to go in the oven

  • Roast the pork belly for 15 minutes, flip them over then cook for another 15 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and rest for a few minutes before slicing width ways and serving.

Expert Tips

  • Use a very good pair of sharp kitchen scissors to cut into the skin of the pork belly. Cut into the side of the fat, rather than snipping from the top. Aim a scissor blade just beneath the skin to make a very controlled cut.

  • Don’t penetrate the flesh, otherwise the meat will go dry in the oven.
  • Don’t skip resting the pork belly in the fridge. It will dry out the crackling making it all the more crunchy.
  • Depending on how thick your butcher has cut your pork belly slices, some may be cooked quicker than others. Keep an eye on the slices after 30 minutes of total cooking time and remove and rest the slices that are ready.
  • The pork belly slices are ready when the meat still looks juicy and the crackling bubbled. When you press the crackling it shouldn’t bounce back but be firm and crisp to the touch.
  • Rest the pork belly for 5-10 minutes before serving but not too long otherwise the meat will dry out.

Caramelised Walnuts

If you think the pork belly sounds good enough as it is then these caramelised walnuts take the proceedings to another level entirely.

They are not to be missed.

caramelised walnuts cooling on a wooden board

Making a mini caramel may sound decadent or a bit of a scary prospect but I’m here to take you through it and assure you how easy and foolproof it is.

  1. First toast the walnut halves for 10 minutes in the oven.
  2. Make the caramel by melting the sugar in a good heavy based saucepan.
  3. Keep a close eye on the sugar. Do not stir but wait until it has melted. Then immediately add the butter.
  4. At this point you can stir together.
  5. When the butter and sugar are smooth then add the walnuts. Quickly coat with the caramel.
  6. As soon as the walnuts are completely coated then tip out onto some baking parchment and leave to cool.
  7. Once cool, roughly chop, leaving some of the walnut halves whole.

Expert Tips

  • Do not answer the phone or the doorbell if you are making caramel. It burns in the blink of an eye.
  • I use enamelled cast iron saucepans (like Le Creuset) for all my caramel work as they create an even heat distribution.
  • Use a silicone spatula for stirring otherwise the caramel is a pain to clean off utensils.
  • Place your baking parchment on a heat resistant surface (I use a baking tray) before you begin melting the sugar so it’s
  • ready straightaway.
  • To clean your saucepan, leave to soak in hot water. It will melt the sugar off and leave it easy to clean.

What else can you use Caramelised Walnuts for?

Bowls of Roast Pork Belly Apple & Caramelised Walnut Salad on a wooden board

Salad Veg for Pork Belly Salad

  • The pork belly and caramelised walnuts are paired with a fresh sliced dessert apple like a Jazz apple or Braeburn. However you can use Granny Smith if you want extra crunch.
  • Little Gem – you can swap for romaine lettuce or cos if that is what you have to hand.
  • Green Pepper – the slight sourness of this salad vegetable fits so nicely with the apple and caramelised walnuts. However, if you don’t like green pepper then swap for a sweeter red pepper.
  • Celery – If you don’t like celery then swap for a thinly sliced fresh fennel bulb or diced cucumber.
  • Spring Onions – you can leave them out if you don’t like them.

If you make this Roast Pork Belly Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Roast Pork Belly Apple & Caramelised Walnut Salad in a white bowl on a wooden board
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5 from 1 vote

Roast Pork Belly, Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad

Roast Pork Belly Apple and Caramelised Walnut Salad is the perfect balance of crackling crunch, melting meat, crisp apple, sweet walnuts and peppery dressing.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Resting Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 45 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: British
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 1327

Ingredients

  • 800 g pork belly
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds crushed
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • zest ½ lemon
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 apple (something like braeburn, jazz or pink lady)
  • 2 little gem lettuces leaves removed and washed
  • 1 green pepper core and seeds removed and sliced thinly
  • 6 spring onions sliced on the diagonal
  • 2 celery sticks sliced thinly

Caramelised Walnuts

  • 60 g walnut pieces
  • 30 g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salted butter

Dressing

  • 1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon honey
  • 30 ml extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

  • Place the raw pork belly slices on a clean surface and make deep cuts into the fat on the top of the meat. Make sure not to penetrate the pink flesh.
  • Place the pork belly on a plate, on some clean kitchen towel. Place uncovered in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • The next day, pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  • Remove the pork belly slices from the fridge.
  • Mix together the rosemary, fennel seeds, garlic powder, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a small bowl then rub all over the pork belly.
  • Place the pork belly slices on a rack over a deep roasting tray and roast in the oven for an initial 15 minutes.
  • Turn the pork belly slices over and roast for another 15 minutes or until the crackling on the pork belly is golden and crisp. Some slices may be ready before others. If so just remove and leave to rest whilst the others finish cooking.
  • Once all the pork belly is ready, remove from the oven and leave to rest whilst you make the rest of the salad.
  • Place the walnuts on a small baking tray and place in the oven pre-heated to 180°C for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.
  • Place the sugar in a small saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has melted.
  • Add the butter and mix into the sugar with a silicone spatula. Stir to create a smooth caramel.
  • Drop the toasted walnuts into the caramel and stir to coat. Remove from the heat and tip the caramelised walnuts onto a tray lined with baking parchment to rest. Once cool, roughly chop.
  • To make the dressing, pour the mustard and vinegar in a small dish with plenty of salt and pepper and whisk together until the salt dissolves, then whisk in the honey. Drizzle the olive oil into the dish, whisking hard to emulsify the dressing, once it’s all mixed in, taste for seasoning.
  • Assemble the final salad by slicing the pork width ways, then toss together with the rest of the ingredients, drizzling with the dressing at the last minute.

Notes

Pork Belly
  • Buy your pork belly ready sliced from your local butcher.
  • Cut the pork belly skin with a good pair of kitchen scissors. Cut into the side not snipping from the top. Do not pierce the pink meat.
  • Try not to skip the resting of the pork belly in the oven which helps to dry out the skin for creating the best crackling.
  • Some pork belly slices may be ready sooner than others depending on the thickness of the cut.
  • Rest the roasted pork belly for 5-10 minutes but not too long otherwise it will dry out.
Caramelised Walnuts
  • Do not answer the phone or the doorbell if you are making caramel. It burns in the blink of an eye.
  • Use good heavy bottomed saucepan.
  • Use a silicone spatula for stirring otherwise the caramel is a pain to clean off utensils.
  • Place your baking parchment on a heat resistant surface (I use a baking tray) before you begin melting the sugar so it’s ready straightaway.
  • To clean your saucepan, leave to soak in hot water. It will melt the sugar off and leave it easy to clean.
Salad
  • Any of the salad vegetables can be swapped. Try:
  • Little Gem  >  Cos or Romaine
  • Green Pepper  >  Red Pepper
  • Celery  >  Fennel or Cucumber
  • Spring Onions can be omitted.

Nutrition

Calories: 1327kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 126g | Saturated Fat: 42g | Cholesterol: 149mg | Sodium: 566mg | Potassium: 967mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 1765IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg

Update Notes: This recipe was originally posted in 2014, but was updated in August of 2019 with slight changes to the recipe as well as new photos, nutritional information and expert tips.

The Best Chocolate Tiffin

To say that this Chocolate Tiffin is addictive is underselling quite how moreish these little bars are. A buttery biscuit base of crushed digestives is studded with glacé cherries and dried apricots then topped with salted dark chocolate. This is a super quick and easy no-bake and gluten-free treat that is irresistible to both children and adults.

Close up of Chocolate Tiffin Bar on a wooden board

Chocolate Tiffin is a nostalgic treat. Morning break at school meant a twenty minute respite from classes where we would be served juice and biscuits in the dining room. On an average day the biscuits would be mini packets of bourbons or custard creams. But, every once in a while Cook would proudly roll out a trolley of her homemade Chocolate Tiffin which we would all pounce upon like the 11 year old animals we were. Every since then I have had an irresistible soft spot for this no-bake childhood treat.

What is Chocolate Tiffin?

Chocolate Tiffin is a variation on the Chocolate Fridge Cake, the cake that Prince William requested for his groom’s cake when marrying Kate Middleton. It may seem pretty humble but if it’s good enough for the royal family…

Crushed biscuits and dried fruit are stirred with melted butter and sugar then set in a layer in the fridge. Cocoa powder is often added to the biscuit layer but that’s not how Cook made it at school so I like to abstain. The Tiffin is then topped with a decadent layer of dark chocolate, set again in the fridge then cut into bars.

If you imagine a biscuity cheesecake crust made into a cake then you have a pretty good idea.

Overview of Chocolate Tiffin bars

What biscuits can you use in Chocolate Tiffin?

It’s the crushed biscuits that form the basis of these bars so it’s wise not to use just any biscuit. A strong sturdy biscuit which isn’t too sweet is best. Traditionally Rich Tea Biscuits or Digestive Biscuits are the order of the day.

Bakers’ Tip:

Homemade Digestive Biscuits. All the way. Have you made these yet? If not, then definitely give them a go. They will elevate your Chocolate Tiffin to the regal status that is their birthright. It does mean an extra step and it does mean turning on your oven but it’s worth it.

My favourite shop bought gluten-free digestive biscuits

Gluten-free digestive biscuits from the supermarket can be a little hit and miss. My favourite brands and the ones I recommend are:

Nairns Nairns Biscuit Breaks – Oat & Syrup 160g (Pack of 5)
Schar Digestive Biscuits 150 g (Pack of 3)

Ingredients for Chocolate Tiffin

What dried fruit can you use in Chocolate Tiffin?

Traditionally glacé cherries and raisins are used but here I have swapped out the raisins for dried unsulphered apricots which impart such a gloriously fruity flavour. Sometimes raisins can be a little sweet with not much flavour but the apricots are a lovely tasty alternative.

Bakers’ Tip:

Homemade Glacé Cherries. Now, this is only if you have them knocking around. I wouldn’t suggest you make them specifically for this recipe but honestly the flavour of homemade glacé cherries is unbeatable.

Process image for making Chocolate Tiffin

How to make Chocolate Tiffin

  1. Crush the digestive biscuits into rough sand with some rubbly bits. Use either a food processor or a rolling pin.
  2. Stir in the chopped dried fruit.
  3. Melt the butter with the sugar and honey until the sugar has dissolved. Stir into the biscuits and fruit.
  4. Press the biscuit layer into a lined and greased cake tin and place in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
  5. Melt the chocolate with the butter and salt. Pour over the biscuit layer. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set.
  6. Cut the Chocolate Tiffin into bars and sprinkle with extra flaked salt.

Process image for making Chocolate Tiffin

Baker’s Tips:

  • So that the Chocolate Tiffin is really easy to remove from the tin, line with two sheets of greaseproof paper, crossed in the middle and go up the sides of the tin.
  • If you crush your digestive biscuits in a food processor then use the pulse button for extra control. You want a variety of texture with your crushed biscuits.
  • Use your hands to press the biscuit layer in the tin. You want it really tight in there so it sets nicely packed together.
  • To get extra texture to your chocolate topping only spread on ¾ of the melted chocolate onto the biscuit layer. Freeze for 10 minutes. Pour the rest of the melted chocolate into a small piping bag or a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the set chocolate layer then place back in the freezer for a couple of minutes to set for a final time.
  • That extra flaked salt at the end is a game changer. It amps up the flavour and provides a lovely contrast to this sweet treat.

Process image for making Chocolate Tiffin

Process image for making Chocolate Tiffin

Process image for making Chocolate Tiffin

How to store Chocolate Tiffin

You can store your Chocolate Tiffin in a cool airtight tin for up to 5 days. However, I like to eat my Tiffin straight from the fridge so that’s where mine are kept.

How to make Vegan Chocolate Tiffin

Actually the switches in this recipe to make it vegan are very easy.

  • Use shop-bought digestive biscuits. Both the Nairn’s biscuits and Schar’s biscuits recommended above are suitable for vegans.
  • Switch all the unsalted butter in the Chocolate Tiffin recipe for coconut oil.
  • Swap the honey for agave nectar or golden syrup.
  • Use vegan dark chocolate.

Close up of Chocolate Tiffin Bar on a wooden board

Are you looking for more easy traybakes? Then why not try:

White Chocolate Raspberry Flapjacks
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Lemon Iced Stem Ginger Parkin
Picnic Slice
The Ultimate Popcorn Rocky Road

If you make this Chocolate Tiffin then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Close up of Chocolate Tiffin Bar on a wooden board
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5 from 1 vote

The Best Chocolate Tiffin

A buttery biscuit base of crushed digestives is studded with glacé cherries and dried apricots then topped with salted dark chocolate. This is a super quick and easy no-bake and gluten-free nostalgic treat that is completely addictive.



Prep Time20 mins
Resting Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 16 bars
Calories: 284

Ingredients

  • 325 g gluten-free digestive biscuits
  • 70 g glacé cherries chopped roughly
  • 70 g dried apricots unsulphered, chopped roughly
  • 140 g unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light soft brown sugar
  • tablespoons honey
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 200 g dark 70% chocolate
  • 50 g unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Line and grease a 20cm square cake tin.
  • Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until the majority of the biscuits resemble rough sand with larger rubbly bits.
  • Pour the biscuits into a large mixing bowl and stir in the glacé cherries and dried apricots.
  • Melt the butter with the sugar, honey and salt in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour into the biscuits and fruit and stir until everything is evenly coated.
  • Press the biscuit layer into the cake tin, using your hands to get it packed in firmly and evenly.
  • Chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight to set.
  • Melt the dark chocolate with the butter and salt in a bain marie or a glass bowl set over simmering water.
  • Once melted pour over the biscuit layer.
  • Place in the freezer for 10 minutes to set, then sprinkle with extra flaked salt and cut into bars.

Notes

  • For extra delicious Chocolate Tiffin use Homemade Digestive Biscuits and Homemade Glacé Cherries.
  • Line the tin with two sheets of greaseproof paper, crossed in the middle which go up the sides of the tin for easy Tiffin removal.
  • If you don’t have a food processor you can crush your digestive biscuits by placing in a large food bag and use a rolling pin to hammer down. The food bag will keep the biscuit crumbs from spilling everywhere.
  • Use your hands to press the biscuit layer in the tin. You want it really tight in there so it sets nicely packed together.
  • To get extra texture to your chocolate topping only spread on ¾ of the melted chocolate onto the biscuit layer. Freeze for 10 minutes. Pour the rest of the melted chocolate into a small piping bag or a plastic food bag with a corner snipped off. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the top of the set chocolate layer then place back in the freezer for a couple of minutes to set for a final time.
  • Don’t forget the extra flaked salt at the end - it’s a game changer.
  • Store your Chocolate Tiffin in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Nutrition

Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 31g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 26mg | Sodium: 175mg | Potassium: 171mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 460IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 2.4mg

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This post is not sponsored but some of the links within the post are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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Image collage of Chocolate Tiffin bars with text overlay

Ice Cream Cone Recipe {gluten-free}

This Ice Cream Cone Recipe is incredibly quick to make and utterly delicious. A light buttery biscuity cone made with gluten-free flours which enhance the flavour of your ice cream. These cones are an absolute treat – never mind the ice cream!!

Going out for ice cream with the boys is such a treat. All four of us have a weakness for it and we are so lucky that recently a fancy new gelateria has opened up five minutes from our house. Lucky but also a little bit dangerous.

I tend to order the ice cream in the tub though rather than a cone as a gluten-free cone option is hard to come by. Not in our house though since I developed a gluten-free ice cream cone recipe that is so delicious it is just as much a treat as the ice cream itself.

Customising your cone

One of the pleasures of baking with gluten-free flours is the opportunity to boost the flavour of your bake by choosing the right gluten-free flour.

This ice cream cone recipe has a sort of ‘choose your adventure’ element to it. Depending on which flavour you are serving in your cone you can customise the gluten-free flour to best match your ice cream.

These gluten-free ice cream cones are so easy to make and I’ve got all the tips to help you make them perfectly first time.

What are ice cream cones made of?

Typically ice cream cones are made from a very simple batter of whisked flour, melted butter, egg whites and white sugar.

Here we are switching out the flour for two alternative flours which will enhance the flavour of the cone and make it gluten-free to boot.

We don’t want to skip the melted butter which gives a delicious rich biscuity flavour. Nor the egg whites which give lightness to the cone whilst holding it together. The sugar gives a little sweetness so it’s just like holding your ice cream in a light crisp biscuit.

Finally we want to include some vanilla extract and a pinch of salt for flavour.

hand holding a gluten-free ice cream cone filled with ice cream

How to make gluten-free ice cream cones

For a go-to ice cream cone which will taste delicious with any ice cream you pair it with then the best gluten-free flour to use is sorghum.

We also need a bit of tapioca flour whisked into the sorghum as the starchiness is needed to hold the cone together and give it a little bit of elasticity.

  1. Whisk the sorghum and tapioca flour together with the salt and set aside.
  2. Stir the egg whites, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl.
  3. Stir in salt and half the flour
  4. Mix in melted butter then the rest of the flour
  5. Rest for 10 minutes.
  6. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  7. Drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto one half of the greaseproof paper and using an offset palette knife, swirl the batter into a circle of 12cm diameter.
  8. Repeat to create another circle of batter on the other half of the greaseproof paper.
  9. Bake these two cone discs for 8 minutes.
  10. Remove the baking sheet and hold a palette knife in one hand and the cone mould in your other hand. Lift one of the pliable cone discs with the palette knife and shape it round the cone mould. Carefully place the cone into the cone holder to set its shape.
  11. Repeat with the other cone disc.
  12. Whilst the cones are cooling, make a second batch. Repeat the baking process until you have used up all the batter.

gluten free ice cream cone batter

gluten free ice cream cone batter before baking

gluten free ice cream cone before moulding

Essential Tips:

  • Resting the batter is essential for the flours to absorb the liquid. It helps to stiffen the batter so it is easier to spread into circles.
  • You can draw two 12cm circles onto your greaseproof paper and drop your batter into the centre, swirling out until the batter is exactly the right size.
  • Bake for exactly 8 minutes. The cone discs can burn very easily as the batter is so thin.
  • The cone mould and the cone holder are essential tools for making the cones as easy as possible. I tried using every day kitchen utensils that I already had around but it was more time consuming and the results just were not as good. If you can go the extra mile then both of these pieces of kit are under £10 each.

Ice Cream Cone mould and stand

Alternative flour options

The tapioca flour is essential to all the ice cream cone flavour variations but the sorghum flour can be switched out for numerous different wholegrain flours, depending on the ice cream flavour you wish to serve them with.

Vanilla – sorghum, oat
Chocolate – teff, buckwheat, sorghum, oat
Nuts – buckwheat
Fruit – sorghum, oat
Caramel – oat, teff
Coffee – teff, buckwheat, oat
Spiced – sorghum, teff
Floral or herby – oat

How long do ice cream cones last?

Make a batch of ice cream cones and store them in an air tight tin for up to a week. They taste best for the first couple of days after baking.

gluten-free ice cream cones in a cone holder

Can you freeze ice cream cones?

You can. My favourite way of doing it is to fill your cone with ice cream, drizzle on some toppings then wrap loosely in greaseproof paper. Store carefully in the freezer and you have an instant ice cream cone. Best to eat within a week though.

Now, do you need some ice cream recipe inspo for your cones?

Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream
Butter Mint Ice Cream
Tequila Lime Ice Cream
Red Velvet Ice Cream
Cookies and Cream Raspberry Ice Cream
Bitter Chocolate and Orange Ricotta Ice Cream

If you make this Ice Cream Cone Recipe then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Ice Cream Cone Recipe {gluten-free}

This Ice Cream Cone Recipe is incredibly quick to make and utterly delicious. A light buttery biscuity cone made with gluten-free flours which enhance the flavour of your ice cream. These cones are an absolute treat – never mind the ice cream!!
Prep Time8 mins
Cook Time8 mins
Resting time10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 cones
Calories: 221

Ingredients

  • 90 g sorghum flour
  • 60 g tapioca flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 90 ml egg whites
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 45 g unsalted butter melted

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C /160°C fan/gas mark 4.
  • Whisk the sorghum flour, tapioca flour and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  • Stir the egg whites, sugar, vanilla together in a large bowl. Then whisk in the salt and half the flour mix.
  • Whisk in the melted butter, then the rest of the flour mix.
  • Rest the batter for 10 minutes.
  • Line a large baking sheet with greaseproof paper.
  • Drop 2 tablespoons of batter onto one half of the greaseproof paper and using an offset palette knife, swirl the batter into a circle of 12cm diameter.
  • Repeat to create another circle of batter on the other half of the greaseproof paper.
  • Bake these two cone discs for 8 minutes.
  • Remove the baking sheet and hold a palette knife in one hand and the cone mould in your other hand. Lift one of the pliable cone discs with the palette knife and shape it round the cone mould. Carefully place the cone into the cone holder to set its shape.
  • Repeat with the other cone disc.
  • Whilst the cones are cooling, make a second batch. Repeat the baking process until you have used up all the batter.
  • Once your cones are cool then fill with ice cream!

Notes

You can customise your ice cream cone by swapping out the sorghum flour for another wholegrain flour of your choice. Try teff flour, buckwheat or oat flour.
• Do rest the batter. You can even make the batter up to 1 day in advance and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
• For uniform cones draw two 12cm circle on the greaseproof paper so you can make sure you are spreading your batter out to exactly the right size.
• Don’t overbake the cones, if they are overbaked they will crisp to much which will make them difficult to mould.
• Work as quickly as you can whilst shaping your cones. The more you do the faster you become. It’s all about practice.
• I tried using everyday kitchen utensils to mould the cones but had little success. I do recommend buying at least the cone mould which was under £10. The cone holder means that you don’t have to hold the cone in place whilst it is cooling. If you plan on making ice cream cones regularly then the right equipment is essential.

Nutrition

Calories: 221kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 123mg | Potassium: 71mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 185IU | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 0.6mg

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This post is not sponsored but some of the links within the post are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

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gluten-free ice cream cones in a cone holder with text overlay

Apple and Blackberry Crumble {gluten-free}

Apple and Blackberry Crumble is a delightful example of a gluten-free crumble. A crisp biscuity topping is the perfect contrast to the ooey gooey sweet and tangy fruit jumble beneath.

A bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in a bowl

If you are following me on Insta Stories you’ll know that I’ve been studiously working on a gluten-free crumble recipe for a couple of weeks. Cole received the Gruffalo Crumble and Other Recipes Cookbook for his birthday earlier this month and immediately set me forth to make the titular recipe.

Well I made the recipe from the cookbook as instructed but switched things around a bit to make a gluten-free version. Cole was happy enough with it. I was not. It definitely needed tweaking. So I set forth to embark on my next obsession. How to make a dazzling gluten-free crumble (gruffalos substituted for apples and blackberries on this occasion).

How to make a great gluten-free crumble topping

A gluten-free crumble topping is quite forgiving. I have made so many crumbles over the years as it’s my number one Sunday night dessert and they nearly always turn out delicious.

However lately I have settled on a method that gives a perfect crumble topping every time.

The secret… oats and almonds

Have you ever experienced a gluten-free crumble that has melted into your fruit base upon baking? Gluten-free flours tend to absorb too much liquid (especially if they are rice flour based). However, by tossing in some jumbo rolled oats and ground almonds they create a perfectly robust structure to the crumble topping.

The addition of oats and almonds not only has the added benefit of extra flavour but also provides the perfect crunch to your crumble.

However, if you are looking for an oat-free crumble try this Strawberry Gooseberry Crumble.

Baker’s Tip

If you don’t have any ground almonds you can grind your own from whole almonds. Place the whole almonds in the food processor with the brown sugar. The sugar will prevent the almonds from becoming almond butter and instead will give them a nice even grind.

a bowl of gluten-free crumble

Gluten-Free Flours

What I have found is that with the inclusion of the oats and ground almonds you can be a little bit laissez-faire with which gluten-free flour you choose to use. I wouldn’t even decry you for choosing a plain gluten-free flour which you can pick up at any supermarket. Although do avoid single origin starchy flours, especially white rice flour as it just absorbs too much liquid.

Sorghum Flour

Here we use sorghum flour. It’s one of my favourite alternative flours. It has an earthy yet slightly sweet quality which pairs so beautifully with the apples and blackberries. The touch of cinnamon included in the crumble topping really takes it into the sublime.

Alternative Version: Buckwheat Hazelnut Crumble Topping

You could switch out the sorghum flour for buckwheat flour which has an intense robust flavour. However if you were going to go in that direction then I would also dare you to swap the ground almonds for ground hazelnuts. A taste sensation indeed. Amazing with the apples and blackberries.

Quick and Easy Crumble

The assembly of the crumble topping is child’s play and in fact Cole often helps me with this job.

  1. Whisk the sorghum flour with the oats, ground almonds, sugar and cinnamon.
  2. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients to form a chunky rubble mixture, aka. crumble.

Now that the gluten-free crumble has been sorted, next on the agenda is the perfect apple and blackberry fruity base.

How to prepare apples for a crumble

Most recipes for apple and blackberry crumble will have you just peel and core the apples and just toss them in with the blackberries as they fall at the bottom of the baking dish.

However I’m going to let you in on a little secret on how you achieve the best texture in an apple blackberry crumble. No fruit swimming in a watery juice. No apples that are crunchy at best and raw at worst.

The best tip for a soft gooey perfectly sweetened fruit base which contrasts with the crisp crumble topping is…

The apples need to be pre-cooked.

pureed apples in a saucepan

When you pre-cook the apples the puree provides a saucy bed for the blackberries to absorb their excess juice and the two fruits jumble together so much better.

The apple prep is easy enough:

  1. Place the peeled apple chunks in a small saucepan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon water and 1 tablespoon caster sugar.
  3. Place the lid on and cook for 15-20 minutes until the apples have completely broken down into a pulp.

Luckily you don’t need to do anything to the blackberries save place them on top of the apples.

Can you freeze Apple and Blackberry Crumble?

Yes, you can freeze this apple and blackberry crumble. After the final dish has been baked, leave to cool then double wrap well in cling film as well as tin foil to prevent freezer-burn. You can freeze the crumble for up to three months. To defrost simply remove the dish from the freezer the night before. Once completely defrosted you can re-heat the crumble for 20 minutes at 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4.

Can crumble be made in advance?

Yes, you can make the crumble a day or two in advance. I recommend assembling the crumble to the stage where it’s ready to be baked in the oven. When you want to serve it then follow the instructions for baking stated below.

Can you make Apple and Blackberry Crumble with frozen fruit?

Yes. I will often have scores of apple puree and wild blackberries in my freezer in late August/September leftover from our adventures in foraging. The apple puree will need to be defrosted before adding into the crumble. However, the good news is that the frozen blackberries can just be tossed in straight from the freezer with no amendment on the original cooking time.

If you are looking for more gluten-free desserts that make the most of summer produce why not try:

Plum Nectarine Cornbread Cobbler
Blackberry Lemon Pudding
Coconut Cherry Clafoutis
Blueberry Ricotta Coconut Crisp

If you make this Apple and Blackberry Crumble then please leave a comment below and/or give the recipe a rating. If you then go on to use this recipe as a launch pad for your own baking creation then I’d also love it if you’d share it and tag me on Instagram. It is so lovely for me to see your versions and variations of my recipes.

Apple and Blackberry Crumble

Gluten-Free Apple and Blackberry Crumble boasts a crisp biscuity topping. The perfect contrast to the ooey gooey sweet and tangy fruit jumble beneath.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: British
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 338

Equipment

  • 30cm x 20cm Baking Dish

Ingredients

  • 3 dessert apples peeled cored and cut into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 300 g blackberries

Crumble

  • 100 g sorghum flour
  • 50 g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 50 g soft light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 75 g unsalted butter room temperature, cubed

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4
  • Place the apple chunks in a medium sized saucepan along with the water and caster sugar.
  • Turn the heat on low-medium and place a lid on. Give the apples a stir occasionally but only remove from the heat once the apples have broken down into a pulp. Maybe 15-20 minutes.
  • Place the apple pulp into a 30cm x 20cm baking dish and tumble the blackberries evenly over the top.
  • Prepare the crumble topping by placing the sorghum flour, oats, almonds, sugar and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl.
  • Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until a chunky rubble has formed.
  • Scatter the crumble topping over the fruit and bake for 30 minutes until the crumble has turned golden.
  • Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream or in cooler months hot vanilla custard.

Notes

  • Apples - I like to use pink lady apples or braeburns.
  • Frozen Fruit - You can use frozen blackberries straight from the freezer without any alteration on the cooking time.
  • Sorghum Flour - You can replace the sorghum flour with gluten-free plain flour.
  • Make Ahead – The crumble can be assembled a day or two in advance and baked on the day of serving.
  • Freeze – The crumble can be frozen after baking for up to 3 months. Defrost thoroughly before re-heating.

Nutrition

Calories: 338kcal | Carbohydrates: 48g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 271mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 23g | Vitamin A: 470IU | Vitamin C: 14.7mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 1.6mg

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This post is not sponsored but some of the links within the post are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these link to make your purchases then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. To learn more about how the data processing works when using these Amazon affiliate links then please visit my privacy policy page.

PIN THIS POST FOR LATER!

A bowl of apple and blackberry crumble with a scoop of ice cream in a bowl with text overlay