Two gluten-free slices

RECIPES: I take any opportunity to bake for other people because it’s a way to get practice without having a whole bunch of baking at home staring in my face begging me to eat it. I was running a training day at work and the catering was starting to look costly, so I decided to cover the morning tea myself. I had several gluten-free people and since generally anyone is happy to eat gluten-free treats, I chose to make two gluten-free slices.

Chocolate Financiers
I followed the recipe from Felder’s book but baked the slice in a slice pan, as I didn’t have the individual financier pans. I substituted gluten-free flour for the small amount of all-purpose flour in the recipe. I was a bit short on some of the nuts, but it didn’t matter. To manage my time better, I prepared the mix to the stage prior to putting it in a pan, then put it in the fridge overnight covered with plastic wrap. If doing this, it needs to be brought back to room temperature before spreading it in the baking pan, then you sprinkle the nuts and press them in lightly.

Citrus Delicious Slice
The recipe was taken from an old book of slice recipes that I’ve had a few successful bakes from. I used cow’s milk and substituted gluten-free flour for the all-purpose flour. I topped the slice with glacé oranges. The author is right when they say the slice is fairly fragile while hot. After following the recipe as written, I recommend cooling the slice in the pan, then placing the pan in the refrigerator and only removing it from the pan once chilled and set (which I did once I realised how soft it was). There will be less damage and a much better finish.

IMPRESSION: Everyone liked the financiers well enough. They weren’t too dry and had a basic chocolate taste, with a slight hint of the browned butter, which I liked. Everyone loved the citrus slice! The slice is reminiscent of lemon delicious, a favourite dessert of mine that is like a self-saucing pudding of light sponge with a tangy curd sauce. If you can master the delicate nature of the slice, you’ll make it again and again.

Recipe for the chocolate financiers from Patisserie by Christophe Felder
Recipe for the citrus delicious slice from Slice Recipes by the Family Circle Test Kitchen

Chocolate Financiers
150g butter
160g bittersweet chocolate (60-70% cocoa)
100g confectioners’ sugar
120g ground almonds
50g gluten-free flour
5 egg whites

50g hazelnuts
50g unsalted pistachios
50g pine nuts
25g sliced blanched almonds

Preheat the oven to 210 degrees Celsius. Line a slice pan with baking paper or butter 20 financier pans.

Cook the butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat until it browns. Strain through a small fine sieve and let cool to lukewarm.

Finely chop the chocolate and place in a medium bowl set over a saucepan filled with 2.5cm of barely simmering water and let melt. Alternatively put the chocolate in the microwave in short bursts on medium heat, stirred each time. Remove the bowl from the heat and stir until smooth.

Sift the confectioners’ sugar with the ground almonds and flour into a bowl. Pour in the egg whites and store with a wooden spoon. Pour in the warm melted butter and the melted chocolate and stir the batter until smooth.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, tapping them on the work surface to smooth the batter. If working with individual financier pans, transfer them to a baking sheet. Coarsely chop the larger nuts and combine the four types before sprinkling over the financiers. Lightly press the nuts into the mixture and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for five minutes in the pan, then transfer the cakes to a rack and let cool.

Citrus Delicious Slice (recipe uses Australian measures)
150g butter
1 1/4 cups caster sugar
2 tsp each of grated orange and lemon rind
1 tbs grated lime rind
4 eggs, separated
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
2 tbs each of lemon, orange and lime juice
1 cup milk
Glacé orange wedges, for decoration

Preheat oven to moderate 180 degrees Celcius. Line a 28 x 18 cm tin with baking paper.

Beat butter, sugar and rind with electric beaters until light and creamy. Add yolks, beating until well combined. Using a metal spoon, fold in sifted flour alternately with combined juices and milk. Stir until smooth.

Beat egg whites with electric beaters in a separate bowl until firm peaks form. Fold into citrus mixture then spoon into prepared tin. Place tin in a larger baking dish; pour enough water into the larger dish to come halfway up the sides of the smaller tin. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until golden on top and springy to the touch.

Remove tin from water bath. Leave slice in tin to cool, before carefully turning out onto board (I recommend chilling it first to ensure it is set and maintains its shape). Cut into squares or fingers. Place on plates cake side down, topped with a wedge of glacé orange. Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or thick cream, or serve cool as a slice. Take care, the slice is fairly fragile.

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