Spelt Eclairs with dairy free Crème Pâtissière

Gavin WrenBaking, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt eclairs are a beautiful baked treat made with my spelt choux paste and stuffed with my dairy free pastry cream. Don't be afraid, these hollow buns are a patisserie favourite which can extend your knowledge of baking without stressing you out!
When writing the recipe for these spelt eclairs, I wondered if people will think it odd that I'm using a dairy free filling in pastry which contains butter. Weird, huh?

However, it's not as odd as it may appear.
Boundaries of Tolerance
I experience an intolerance to lactose. This means that if I drink a pint of milk, or worse still, if I consume a mountain of whipped cream, I will get anything from mild discomfort up to severe stomach cramps and nausea.

Products such as butter and yoghurt contain far less lactose than milk or thick cream. Therefore, people such as myself who experience a variety of physical symptoms from consuming lactose can often consume amounts of yoghurt or butter without any significant negative reaction. I eat yoghurt every week and have never noticed discomfort from doing so.

I seem to be able to eat butter, with...come and read more...

Spelt Choux Paste (Pâte à Choux)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Spelt choux paste (otherwise known as Pâte à Choux) is an amazing pastry which puffs up when cooked, leaving hollow buns or pastries which can be stuffed, filled and topped however you desire! Whether it's eclairs, profiteroles or a croquembouche which you want to bake this weekend, you can extend your patisserie skills with this amazing spelt pastry.
Suddenly, inspiration hit me. I want to make a croquembouche, a spelt croquembouche and it needs to be a massive one made up with loads and loads of little spelt choux (pronounced 'shoe') balls.

Croquembouche is one of the most spectacularly decadent culinary creations in existence. It's a celebratory sweet used in French cuisine at special occasions, comprising choux pastry balls into the hundreds, stuffed with cream then piled high in a cone shape and bound together with large splurges of caramel. It's the kind of recipe that should have The Samaritans' phone number attached, especially if you're making it to a deadline, or for the first time, because I could easily induce some kind of nervous breakdown.

As the saying goes, there's no use trying to run before I can walk. The first step in this adventure is to make, and become comfortable with choux pastry. Also known as...come and read more...

Dairy Free Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

Gavin WrenBaking, Basic Ingredients, Dairy free baking, Recipes, Sauces

Dairy Free Pastry Cream, otherwise known as Crème Pâtissière is a sticky sweet custard filling for eclairs, profiteroles, doughnuts, cakes and any other patisserie or bake you care to make! It's made with just eggs, dairy free milk, sugar and flour, which gives a lusciously silky sweet sauce to create a sweet treat or dessert for your friends and family.
I'm tackling a patisserie basic today, luscious crème pâtissière, that thick, sweet, yellow cream found in the most amazing patisseries treats and tarts. This version here has undergone a lactose free tweak, making a dairy free pastry cream that everyone can enjoy.

"Krem pat"
Don't worry, I've not adopted a peculiar language or speaking in tongues. It's how I first heard crème pâtissière referred to during a croissant making workshop. The instructor was demonstrating other uses for the lovely, flaky, layered, enriched dough, working through pain au chocolat, before mentioning we could make pain au raisin.

He suddenly shouted across the kitchen to his assistant "Can I use some of your krem pat?". She said "sure! It's in the walk-in". As I blankly wondered what the hell this krem pat was, he went on to explain crème pâtissière, or pastry cream as it's also known.

I love...come and read more...

Spelt Cinnamon Bun Cake

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload. This recipe is loaded with cinnamon and cardamom infused with soy milk to make a sweet bake which is a traditional Scandinavian treat and for good reason, because it's utterly irresistable!
It's said that our sense of smell invokes profound feelings and emotions within us. Baking this spelt cinnamon bun cake put that to the test and confirmed that a tantalising aroma can put my brain into sensory overload.

The Road Less Travelled.
When talking of food, it's easy to lapse into trite, oft-repeated phrases, loaded with food-friendly adjectives. An author's job is to track down the scent of unique expression, rather than propping up the bar with descriptions that we've all heard before. Originality provokes interest, I often ponder over how to construct the description of a recipe, without resorting to the usual suspects of 'simple', 'rich', 'tasty', 'easy', 'quick'. Rich brevity is the key to success.

It takes a deeper analysis of the food, a bear-hug of emotional connection with it and an expansive relationship with the English language to venture beyond the obvious... come and read more...

Spelt Focaccia

Gavin WrenBaking, Recipes, Spelt & ancient grains

Tender, fresh, homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil. The job of baking bread at home may seem like an onerous task, but when it produces such beautifully tender, flavoursome bread, the ability to bake your own bread begins to feel more like a special privilege.
Twenty-six recipes. That's how many you'll find on my blog which feature spelt flour. With the inclusion of this recipe for spelt focaccia it's a total of twenty-seven on the list. Having created so many spelt recipes, I've become a bit of an expert on this ancient grain and today's recipe has drawn on that knowledge. This fresh, tender, aromatic homemade Italian spelt focaccia, studded with rosemary sprigs and drizzled with olive oil is simply beautiful and a treasure to adorn your table.

Yes, Italian Food, Again.
I love good Italian food, it holds a highly seductive allure for me, because when it's good, it's magical. The beauty is often in the simplicity of using great ingredients, then treating them with incredible respect. Unfortunately, it has historically seen some shocking handling at the mercy of the UK restaurant trade and via the over-spiced, over-flavoured... come and read more...

Dairy Free Banana Milkshake with Peanut Butter, Shame and Sharing Life Experiences

Gavin WrenDairy free baking, Drinks, Vegan

Ice cold and ready for summer, this dairy free banana milkshake with peanut butter is also vegan, perfect for a hot day and anyone's diet, it's a summer drink that will keep you cool and your tastebuds tantalised. Made with any non-dairy milk, frozen banana, a smattering of peanut butter and topped with crushed pecans, it's even more delicious than it looks.
What's more important in life? Honest, open connection to other people or a dairy free banana milkshake recipe mixed with peanut butter and topped with pecans? The answer lies in their similarities, as you'll see...

I'm lost. Really, I don't know what I'm doing. I hit two hundred blog posts just over a month ago, I'm about to hit three years of blogging and I'm reaching a creative hiatus. I promised myself at the beginning that blogging will be what I want it to be. I swore never to cling to a certain subject or style, simply because that's what I did last week; it's the creative freedom which brought me to blogging, so creative freedom is what I must defend if I'm to continue to thrive in my blogging.

To be frank, I enjoy writing about life the most. Food may feature, because there is something utterly compelling about... come and read more...