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With Christmas approaching, I was determined this year to crack the art of gluten-free shortcrust pastry. I too want to have my mince pie and eat it!

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Achieving a good, crumbly pastry is no mean feat. I’ve tried all sorts of variations on a theme; adding egg, different flours, using almond meal and coconut to give flavour. Results have varied between something resembling cardboard to being nothing short of bin worthy! But I am not a woman easily defeated so, after doing some more research and a bit of experimentation, I have come up with something that works. It tastes like pastry, it cuts like pastry, it’s crisp and it’s crumbly.

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Here’s how to make it…

150g gluten-free plain flour blend
50g gram/chickpea flour
100g soft butter/marg or a mix
25g caster sugar (omit if making a savoury dish)
half a tsp xanthan gum
Pinch of salt
2-3tbsp cold water

Mix flours, salt, sugar and xanthan gum in a bowl. Add the fat and use a fork to blend until it resembles breadcrumbs. Slowly add the water and use a knife to bring it together. The amount of water you will need will vary depending upon your flour blend, some are more thirsty than others but just keep an eye on it, the last thing you want is it too wet. Bring the dough together lightly with your fingers and then wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour.

When ready to use, roll out the dough on a well floured surface. It may crack but it’s quite forgiving when you need to mould it into a tin. If it tears, just squash it back together or use a scrap to patch it. This recipe made 9 deep mince pies with tops, so you’d probably get a full tray of shallow filled tarts or a regular flan from it.

I really can’t tell you how happy I am to finally be able to make a light and crumbly short pastry. Now please excuse me; someone has to eat that mince pie I cut up to photograph!

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