Hello again. Saturday saw me up to the elbows in cake mixture and the whole house filled with the warm spicy aroma of Christmas. Shop-bought cakes are never as good as those you bake yourself at home and today it’s easier than it used to be to find free-from foods in the supermarkets. But most of the bakery items on offer there are confined to gluten-free; which is no good if you have to avoid nuts or dairy or eggs, let alone nuts and dairy and eggs. The only realistic answer is to bake cakes and pastries at home and with the right recipe you can create puddings and treats that are not only nicer than any shop-bought version but safe to eat too.
One of our bestselling recipe books at AllergyBestBuys.co.uk is Katie Crookston’s Dairy & Egg free Cake recipes. She has a lovely recipe for Christmas Pudding and as well as cakes, buns and traybakes, there is a section for sauces, fillings and icings and a list of alternative ingredients to help you create great tasting bakes without eggs or dairy.
But if you have multiple food allergies then things get more difficult, particularly at party time when unknown dangers can lie in the most innocent looking canape. But living with allergies doesn’t have to mean giving up festive treats. Alice Sherwood has a famous recipe for a great-tasting traditional Christmas fruit cake whether you need it nut-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free or wheat-free. It’s a classic, luxurious and festive fruitcake, lightly spiced, moistened with brandy and not too rich. She gives a nut-free main recipe and shows how to adapt it to dairy-free, gluten-free and/or egg-free versions. It’s easy to make in advance and it keeps well.
You can get a copy from the AllergyInfo & Advice pages at www.allergybestbuys.co.uk
Some other points to watch at Christmas:
- Marzipan is made of ground almonds, egg yolk and sugar. Some brands use egg white, some are egg-free.
- When decorating the cake check the ingredients on shop-bought cake decorations. Most silver balls contain wheat starch and some ready-roll icings have ‘nut-trace’ warnings. Remember Royal icing is made with egg whites.
- If you have asthma or sulphite allergy remember that dried fruits, especially apricots, often contain sulphites as preservatives. This will be listed on the ingredients panel.
You can browse for more allergy solutions at my website www.allergybestbuys.co.uk or send me an e-mail if you need advice and I’ll try to help.