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Tuesday 10 December 2013

Dairy Free: Pistachio & Strawberry Santa Hats

'Tis the season to be KITSCH WITH EVERYTHING. This is fantastic. Glitter? Allowed. Sequins? Pile them on me. Cuddly polar bears and penguins wearing stylish knitwear? Why is that even a question?!

Continuing our quest for fun Christmas recipes, like these gorgeous stained glass window biscuits, here are some cute cakeys that'll make a good addition to any gingerbread laden wonderland. You could use dairy free brownies as the base, if you're in a more chocolatey mood. Either way, these are dairy free, naturally gluten free and don't involved refined sugar. And they look like little hats. Jolly.

Dairy Free: Pistachio & Strawberry Santa Hats (Makes 8)
You will need:
For the cake:
  • 75g ground almonds
  • 100g pistachios, shelled 
  • 75g nut butter (cashew, pistachio or hazelnut will all work)
  • 50g coconut oil (cool, so that it has a butter-like texture)
  • 40g honey
  • 40g maple syrup
  • 4 free-range eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp baking powder (check that it's gluten free)
  • Strawberries (to decorate)
For the marshmallow topping:
  • 2 free-range egg whites
  • 3/4 tsp agar-agar (or gelatine, if you prefer)
  • 30g maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, or vanilla pod, seeds scraped out
  • small pinch of salt
Make it!
The cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease and line a baking tin (I used a shallow 20 x 30cm tray), with a little melted coconut oil.
  2. Place the ground almonds and pistachios together in a blender or spice grinder and blitz until they form delightful green fine crumbs.
  3. Place the nut butter and coconut oil together in a large bowl along with the honey and maple syrup, and beat together until creamy and completely combined. 
  4. Add in a quarter of the egg, along with a quarter of the ground nut mixture and baking powder, and stir gently together, repeating with the remaining ingredients until the mixture is smooth. 
  5. Pour into the baking tray, smooth over and bake for 20 minutes, until set. Cool in the tray before turning out into a wire rack.
  6. When cool, use a small cake ring or cutter to cut circles from your cake. 
  7. Slice the tops off the strawberries so that they'll sit flat on the cake. 
The marshmallow topping:
  1. Prepare the agar-agar as per the packet instructions if necessary. 
  2. Place the egg whites in a heatproof bowl along with the agar. Allow to stand for 5 minutes or so.
  3. Add in the maple syrup, vanilla and salt.
  4. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering water (so that the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water in the pan) 
  5. Whisk together for 8-10 minutes, until the mixture feels like thick cream. 
  6. Spoon into a piping bag with a fluted nozzle. 
  7. When you're ready, pipe a dot of marshmallow onto the centre of the cake to hold the strawberry in place. 
  8. Pipe a ring around the base of the strawberry and a dot on the tip for a santa hat effect. 
  9. MARVEL at your creations before eating.

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