Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pâtisseries françaises sans gluten

My partner in crime Romie has dashed off on a fabulous holiday overseas with her girlfriends. After dropping her off at the airport on the weekend, I was left reminiscing about my past holidays (all pre-coeliac).

One of my best memories from a trip to Paris, was sitting under the Eiffel Tower with my sisters digging into a feast of French pastries, baguettes, cheese and champagne while the beautiful lights were twinkling above us! Hmmm I can still taste the pastries and baguettes as if it were yesterday!

When I was first diagnosed with coeliac disease, after the initial shock that I could no longer have real bread or real pasta again (I’m Italian, come on!), I realised I would never taste another buttery croissant. With this in mind, I was determined to create some gluten free pastries that would take me back to my memories of Paris.

So I had my first attempt at making chocolate croissants! It wasn’t as hard as I thought. The only thing that was challenging was trying to keep the kitchen cool and not melt the buttery pastry in my hands.

I was feeling quite proud of my first attempt at making the chocolate croissants, but the real test was getting my non-coeliac husband to taste my creation. So straight out of the oven, I presented him with a croissant. Guess what? He liked it! He even went back for seconds. Yeah!

I have to admit, they weren’t as flaky and melt in your mouth as the real deal, but they definitely pass as a croissant and went down well with a nice cup of tea that afternoon. The next day however, they weren’t as delicious as they had been straight out of the oven the day before, but a quick reheat is all that was needed to perk them back up again.

All in all I was happy with the outcome, but I will continue to practice my technique until I get the flakiness and buttery consistence of the French ones.

The recipe I used was from one of my favourite cookbooks,“Allergy-friendly Cookbook” by Alice Sherwood.


225 gluten free plain white flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
2 tsp xanthin gum
1 tbsp fast-action dried yeast
55g cold butter, cut into 1cm dice
150ml milk
1 egg
a little vegetable oil for greasing

1. Shift flour with the salt, sugar, and gum in a food processor.Use the dough attachment. Add the yeast and diced butter.

2. Warm the milk very briefly until tepid then whisk in the egg. Add to the processor and run the machine for 1 minute to knead a soft ball.

3. Tip the mixture onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out to a rectangle. Fold the top third down and the bottom third up over. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll and fold again. Turn, roll and fold once more.

4. Dust rolling pin with flour and roll the dough into an oblong about three times as long as it is high and about 5mm thick. Trim the edges and cut into 6 equal squares.

5. Grease baking sheet.

6. Beat the eggs with the icing sugar and brush all over the surfaces of the squares. Lay 3 squares of chocolate in the centre of the dough in line. Fold over the dough and place, folded sides down, on the baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave in a warm place to prove until well risen, about 45 minutes.

7. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200◦C. Brush the pains au chocolat with the remaining glaze. Bake until spongy and golden, about 15 minutes.

8. Dust with a little icing sugar. Best served warm or transfer to wire rack to cool before wrapping and storing. Makes 6.

Bon Appétit!

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