Merry ‘gluten free’ Christmas


I wish you a merry ‘gluten free’ Christmas

The merry season is fast approaching and I know how
challenging this time can be if you need to cater for family and friends who
need an allergy free diet.

In my previous blogs I’ve talked about;

  1. The need to plan your events and to find out beforehand
    whether any of your guests have dietary needs. Include in your invitations a
    question about any food allergies or intolerances.
  2. To provide a range of food options.
  3. To label any platters/foods to avoid confusion.
  4. To have some handy recipes or easy to make allergy free products available just in case you need to provide some additional options at the last minute.
  5. If you’re a guest with food allergies or
    intolerances, let your host know ahead of time.
  6. To bring your own ‘emergency’ food supplies.

There are many more allergy free food options available now
because of the growing awareness of the prevalence of food allergies. It’s
important that guests with dietary needs don’t feel that they are a nuisance
and can enjoy themselves. With enough planning, the Christmas season can be
stress and allergy free!


Announcing our new luxury competition

Commencing 1 December 2011

We are very excited to announce our latest luxury competition to
thank you for supporting us.  We have teamed up with Spicers Group Luxury Retreats to offer a wonderful prize to the glorious Queensland mountains.

Winner 2010 Best Luxury Accommodation in Queensland.

Spicers Peak Ridge Pool

Spicers Peak Ridge Pool

Simply purchase any two (2) Melinda’s products from any outlet
(supermarkets, independents, online or speciality retailers) and visit to enter.
The first prize is an all-inclusive weekend for two at Spicers Peak Lodge,
located in the Scenic Rim and only 2 hours drive from Brisbane.

Our second and third prizes are an iPad2 containing our allergy free entertaining app.

Stock up for Christmas and enter as many times as you like during
the competition.


My Gluten Free Pastry Quest

The merry season means lots of delicious pies, tarts and pastries.

I have loved pastry ever since I was a child and I remember vividly
my pastry distress after my diagnosis around 16 years ago. There was no
commercial gluten free pastry available and all attempts at creating a pastry
were nothing like the real thing. My Mum had my Grandma’s famous shortcrust
sweet pastry recipe which worked okay with a variety of flours. I developed my
own ‘blended’ flour six years ago and the results were very good. In my
experience blended flour mixes work much better than straight flour like rice
or potato flour products.  I particularly like soy flour as it adds a lovely texture
and non-grittiness to my baked products.

Melinda's Basic Sweet Pastry Tart Shell
Melinda’s Sweet Pastry Tart Shell

Mel’s Sweet Pastry

125g butter*
40g caster sugar
250g Melinda’s Gluten-Free Self Raising Flour
1 egg yolk
40ml milk*


1. In a mixer, cream softened butter & sugar. Add yolk, milk &
flour in turns until combined. Place onto floured surface. Lightly knead &
roll out as required.

2. Blind bake in a pie dish for 5 mins. Remove
weights, continue baking for 10 mins. Fill with preferred filling.

*Use soy milk and margarine if you’re dairy free.


My top tips for baking gluten free pastry are:

  1. If your time poor or couldn’t be bothered trial
    the variety of pre-made brands available on the market and pick a favourite.
  2. Using our base sweet pastry recipe, trial your
    favourite flours to get the best consistency once cooked.
  3. Give the pre-made sheets and extra roll with a
    rolling pin or large glass jar as they can be too thick once cooked.
  4. Always blind bake or egg wash the pastry (shell)
    to ensure moisture doesn’t seep into the pastry and make it soggy.
  5. Use two pieces of baking paper to roll the
    pastry to as thin as you like. Gently transfer the pastry to your pie dish or
    prep board.
  6. Always use cold ingredients for home made gluten
    free pastry (butter, eggs and milk).

There are also a range of new gluten free pastry products.  I’ve included some of
them below. Some will home deliver.

The Gluten Free Bakery:

Choices Bakery:

The Pastry Pantry:

You can also check our online stores listed on our website for other brands available:


More Recipes

When developing our allergy free entertaining app for the iPhone and Android I used several different
pastries to create some of our family favourite recipes.  For the festive season I’ve included my Mum’s
very popular Fruit Mince Tarts and our Traditional Meat Pie.  For all of our vegetarian friends you can
substitute the meat for more vegetables with no problems. I’ve also included my Mum’s rum balls recipe,
no pastry needed but a great Christmas treat.

Fruity Mince Tarts
Fruity Mince Tarts

Fruit Mince Tarts

1 quantity of Mel’s Sweet Pastry
180g sultanas
180g raisins, chopped
125g currants
125g seedless dates, chopped
125g seedless prunes, chopped
100g apple, peeled & grated
50g brown sugar
30g plum jam
90ml brandy or fresh orange juice


 Place all mince ingredients into a kitchen whizz and pulse
blend for 30 seconds to assist in chopping. Cover tightly with wrap and store
in a cool, dark place or refrigerate for at least three (3) days before using.
Store for up to six (6) months stirring every few days.

Prepare the pastry and sit for one hour in the fridge to
rest. Roll out pastry and use a cutter to line patty tins. Cover with a small
piece of bake paper and fill with rice or baking weights and bake for 5
minutes. Remove paper and weights and bake for another 5 minutes until sealed.
Fill with fruit mince and stars of pastry and bake in 170 degree oven for 15-20
minutes until slightly browned. Cool and sift with icing sugar to serve.


Traditional Meat Pie
Traditional Meat Pie

Traditional Meat Pie

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pieces gluten-free shortcut bacon (Hans)
1 onion
750g premium beef mince
2 tablespoons Melinda’s Gluten-Free Self Raising flour
1 1/2 cups gluten-free beef stock (Massell)
1/2 cup gluten-free tomato paste (Homebrand)
2 tablespoons gluten-free Worcestershire sauce  (Homebrand)
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1 tablespoon dry mustard
2 sheets gluten-free savoury pastry (Gluten Free Bakery)
Milk for glazing


1. Dice bacon & onion. Heat oil in a frypan, add bacon & onion, cooking until browned.
Add beef, cook for 5 mins until well-browned & liquid evaporated. Add flour, stir for 1 min.

2. Add stock, tomato paste, sauce, herbs & mustard. Bring to the boil, reduce heat.
Cook uncovered for 10 mins or until all liquid has evaporated.  Cool.

3. Prepare pastry sheets according to packet instructions.  Press sheet in glass pie dish.
Spoon in cooked mince. Moisten edge of shell with a little milk, top with second sheet.
Trim to fit. Make four cuts around the top of the pie to allow steam to escape.
Brush with more milk.  Cook for 30-35 mins or until browned.


Creamy Rum Balls
Creamy Rum Balls

Creamy Rum Balls

 420g gluten free plain biscuits (crushed)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup coconut
½ cup cherries, chopped
1 tin condensed milk
½ cup powdered milk
2-3 tablespoons rum
1 ½ cups coconut (extra)


Mix all ingredients into stiff dough. Chill for
1 hour. Roll spoonfuls in extra coconut.
Makes approximately 70 rum balls.


These recipes should keep you busy for the next month so Merry Christmas, have a safe and happy break with your family and friends.

Melinda and the Melinda’s team.

3 Responses

  1. Kim Cass Says:

    wow that pastry reciepe looks easy enough for even me!! Definately going to give it a try Melinda!

    Totally Gluten Free Toowoomba

  2. Cath Says:

    Thanks for this Melinda … I love your blog and products I have always been a bake from scratch girl but with our son’s coeliac dx that has changed so many things … So your products have helped when I don’t have the time to find all the ingredients for a bake from scratch!


  3. Helen Says:

    Going to give your pastry recipe a go for sure. Thank you for creating such a wonderful blog.

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