Well, it’s almost Easter and school holidays and it’s that time of term when we’re all utterly exhausted. I get pretty busy in the lead-up to Easter because I have a musical directorship which demands quite a lot of Easter music. That’s fine by me, because I love Easter music almost as much as I love Christmas music.
Anyway, while other food bloggers have been creating their own Easter recipes, I …. well, I haven’t. Two reasons – the music situation has meant there’s little time for other things, and also because I’m no good at bread recipes. So no gluten-free hot cross bun delights from me, I’m afraid.
But the good news is that if you are really hankering to make some gluten-free hot cross buns this year, look no further than the beautiful gluten-free blog Decadent Alternatives. Libby is an amazing and prolific baker and has developed her own gluten-free flour mix which, just quietly, is the best mix on the market in my view. Just recently, she published a recipe for gluten-free Sourdough Hot Cross Buns. They look divine. So head over to her blog for all your Easter baking needs.
Meanwhile, here’s my latest lunchbox contribution – Gluten-free Hedgehog Slice.
I’m no expert, but from what I’ve read about hedgehog slice, it’s traditionally a no-bake slice. Interesting, because it also usually has egg in it. So if you’re not into eating raw egg, then it’s probably one to avoid the next time you are thinking about buying a wicked slice at your local café.
No-bake doesn’t really lend itself to lunchboxes – too many issues with trying to keep it cool so that it remains set. It’s impractical if it warms to room temperature as it becomes too difficult to eat. My version is baked, which takes care of that issue. It has puréed prunes in it for a whopping big whack of dietary fibre and for sweetness. There’s a little bit of added sugar as well as a thin layer of icing spread over the top (because hedgehog slices are also traditionally iced, so it seems), but on the whole, in my book this is healthy enough for a recess time snack.
For the biscuit pieces, I used Dr Schar Maria biscuits. Any gluten-free plain digestive biscuits will work fine – the less sugar, the better. If you want a cheaper, sugar-free option, use broken plain rice cakes instead, although you won’t get the delightful crunch because the rice pieces will soften.
My family loves these, and I love that I can freeze and defrost them. It makes packing lunchboxes so much easier.
270 g pitted prunes
100 g tapioca flour
80 g sorghum flour
80 g brown rice flour
5 g psyllium husk
50 g gluten-free cocoa powder
120 g brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
120 g butter, melted
70 ml milk
125 g gluten-free plain biscuits
100 g gluten-free icing mixture
5 g gluten-free cocoa powder
50 g butter, melted
1 tsp milk
To make the base, grease and line a 18 x 28 centimetre slice tray. Preheat the oven to 180° Celsius (conventional oven) or 160° Celsius (fan-forced oven).
Put prunes in a medium-sized bowl. Add enough cold water to cover the prunes. Cover the bowl with cling film or a plate and microwave on high for 4 minutes, or until prunes are softened. Drain thoroughly and then purée. Set aside to cool a little.
Into a large bowl, sift the flours, psyllium husk and 50 g cocoa powder. Add the sugar, eggs, 120 g butter and 70 ml milk. Add the prunes and mix to combine.
Using your hands, break the biscuits into small chunks and add to the bowl. Stir gently to combine.
Tip the mixture into the slice tray and spread evenly. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in tray.
To make the icing, sift icing mixture and 5 g cocoa powder into a medium-sized bowl. Add 50 g melted butter and 1 tsp milk. Stir or whisk to combine.
When base is completely cooled, spread the icing evenly over the top and allow to set.
Cut into 4 centimetre squares. Store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Makes approximately 24 squares.