Makes 20 – 24 small slices
(No gluten, dairy, egg, cane sugar; with options for soy)
Sweet, moist, long keeping and super easy. The apricots are particularly high in alkaline potassium, a key nutrient for calm nerves and muscles including the heart. Dried fruit supplies a surprising amount of protein, fibre and minerals including iron. For visual appeal, choose a selection of different coloured fruit. Candied ginger is an especially punchy flavour contributor, but it does have cane sugar…..
¾ cup finely chopped mixed dried fruit (such as apricots, candied ginger and
½ cup boiling water
6 Tbsp soymilk or other Milk Option*
6 Tbsp mild cold-pressed oil or virgin olive oil*
6 Tbsp honey
¼ tsp natural almond extract*
¾ cup rice flour*
¼ cup soy flour or chickpea flour*
1 ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder
1 cup coconut
6 Tbsp flaked almonds
3 Tbsp fruit-only apricot jam*
1 Tbsp water
Combine the dried fruit and water. Cover and let sit 1 hour or longer.
Combine by hand or in a food processor the milk, oil, honey and almond essence. Add the flour, soy or chickpea flour and baking powder. Combine until smooth. Briefly stir in the coconut, dried fruit and any remaining water – do not over-mix. Batter will be like thick custard.
Pour into an oiled 20 cm (8”) square pan. Sprinkle top evenly with flaked almonds. Bake at 180ºC (350ºF) for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out dry. While hot cover with Glaze; using a pastry brush can help. Cool before slicing into small pieces.
Glaze: In a small saucepan bring water and jam to a simmer. Use while hot.
Shopping and Preparation Tips*
• Jam/Marmalade: buy jam and marmalade made from fruit with fruit juice only as a sweetener, and no artificial additives. The St Dalfour brand is available in supermarkets.
• Milk Options: organic cow, goat, soy, oat, almond or hazelnut milk is available in most supermarkets. Or use rice milk – to each cup 1 Tbsp coconut cream can be added for more body. Use options in the same quantity as regular milk called for in recipes. Check packet milks for added sugar; ensure soy milk is made from the whole bean (less processed). Pure Harvest is a good brand with many varieties; whole, organic, no added sugar.
• Oil: mild, cold pressed oil suitable for baking and cooking is Ceres brand Organic Roasting and Frying Oil (from health stores). It is also second to extra virgin olive oil for affordability. Or use peanut, almond or untoasted sesame oil. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
• Olive Oil: extra virgin olive oil is achieved by using cold mechanical pressure rather than the high heat and chemical solvents typical to most supermarket oils. These practices damage oils and the people who eat them. For information on which fats to choose for which purpose and why, see my article on the TIPS page: The Fats of Life.
• Rice flour: for baking use finely ground (can be called ‘zentrofan’) whole rice. Results will not be the same with coarse, gritty flour; or Asian rice flour (from starch only; looks sticky like cornflour*). Use brown rice flour (finely milled; not gritty). Or mix ½ brown rice flour (for increased nutrients); ½ white rice flour (for increased lightness) as preferred. For sauces 2-3 Tbsp thickens 1 cup liquid.
• Soy flour or chickpea flour: these add golden colour, binding ability and markedly increased protein and calcium content. Most supermarkets stock these. Legume flours taste bitter when raw so batter-lickers are warned. If you cannot use legumes then to help with binding and minimise crumbliness add 1 tsp guar gum (a white powder from ground guar seed), or 1 tsp xanthan gum (a white powder made from fermented corn) per standard size cake, loaf or pastry recipe. These are available in health stores. Replace the quantity of legume flour called for with equivalent rice flour, cornflour or tapioca flour.
• Vanilla and other Extracts: use top quality vanilla without artificial additives; it and other real flavours such as almond are often termed extract (as opposed to faux essence, often labelled ‘vanillin’). Good brands available locally and overseas are: Heilala Vanilla and Equagold. These are in most supermarkets and health stores.