An Annual Fig-sture
It’s time for my annual fig fix, I couldn’t let the season go by this year without writing a new recipe for you all. So here are my gluten free yorkshire puddings – used as canapés filled with figs and blue cheese.
I have a thing for figs. They’re just so pretty and equally fabulous in a sweet or savoury recipe. The figs we find in the markets in the UK this time of year are mostly Bursa figs from Turkey, however these are not the only type. During my San Francisco spell 3 years ago I got excited about Black Mission figs – smaller and darker and this year I even managed to get my hands on some UK grown wild figs! At last weekend’s yoga retreat in Sussex at Brantridge Park the yogis came back from a walk with a hoard of green skinned fresh figs from a tree in the grounds (I’d served them cashew cheese stuffed figs the night before so they knew all about my obsession). I can’t quite explain how good they tasted and how incredible it was to eat something so fresh from the tree. I served the fresh figs alongside the imported ones in a tart that evening, and kept one behind for today’s photo-shoot (the paler of the figs below).
I’ve had the idea for this recipe for ages, and so it came as a bit of an annoyance to see that using Yorkshire puddings as canapés was brought to the mainstream in batter week on the Great British Bake Off a few weeks back. I’m not copying honest! But did anyone try a gluten free batter? Nope! I’ve used this recipe for gluten free Yorkshire puddings a fair few times this last year, and as always I prefer to make up my own mix of flours to ensure a more wholegrain bite. You have to use some starch (not very nutritious) in the mix because it will lighten and lift the bake, a 100% buckwheat Yorkie for example would be rather stodgy and flat.
I’ve learnt a great deal about creating gluten free flour blends over the last 3 years from a variety of places, and with endless combinations, I’m still learning what works best. Over the Atlantic pond Gluten Free Girl was an early source, followed by my learnings on the Natural Chef programme at Bauman College and more recently from Naomi Devlin at River Cottage. It seems everyone has their own way of doing things, but this is mine. 60-80% two types of wholegrain protein rich flours and then 20-40% starch (depending on the recipe).
- Wholegrain protein flour – sorghum, brown rice, teff, buckwheat
- Starchy flours – arrowroot, tapioca flour, potato starch, sweet rice flour
There are way more flours (quinoa, millet, amaranth, then the non grain flours like chickpea flour or almonds), but I keep it simple. It doesn’t always work, but its a good start.
I haven’t tried it yet but a friend of mine Vicki Montague – The Free From Fairy has just come out with a gluten free flour blend that is hurrah – mostly whole grain (and also suitable for rice free diets). Well worth exploring if making your won blends is not something that you have time to be bothered with.
The Yorkshires do actually work better with cows milk if you’re happy to use it, though I have tried them with almond milk in the past also. Do make sure to serve these without the filling alongside your Sunday roast beef.
- 100g gluten free flour (40g brown rice flour, 30g sorghum flour, 30g tapioca flour)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- pinch black pepper
- 2 medium free-range eggs
- 250mls organic semi-skimmed milk
- olive oil
- 3 figs, sliced into ⅙ths
- 120g blue cheese (I used an organic stilton)
- Drizzle of honey, a few basil leaves and black pepper for garnish
- Preheat oven to 220°C (fan) and add ½ tsp of fresh olive oil into each shallow cupcake mould. Heat the dish with oil for 5 minutes till really hot.
- Meanwhile combine all your gluten free flours together in a small bowl, and ensure they are well mixed. Then add in the rest of the batter ingredients and whisk thoroughly to whip air into the batter, preferably with an electric whisk.
- Pour the batter into the moulds and cook for 20-22 minutes, until the batter is puffed up, set and golden brown on top. (Get to know your oven I burnt my first batch)
- Allow the puddings to cool for a minute, then fill with crumbled cheese, a slice of fig, a drizzle of honey and some basil. Serve immediately.
- Any yorkshires can be frozen (prior to adding canapé toppings)