Sunday, 29 September 2019

GBBO 2019 Week 4 - "Dairy" - Vegan Gulab Jamun

Vegan Gulab Jamun

Yep, I was not a big fan of the dairy week on GBBO - it's very difficult to bake a vegan version of bakes when the theme is dairy...So, what I did was take the showstopper of Indian milk sweets, and find a vegan version of one of these.

After trawling the internet for recipes, I came across an interesting version of the Indian dessert "Gulab Jamun", which traditionally contain a lot of powdered milk, and are deep-fried dough balls soaked in a spiced syrup. Instead, this recipe blended cashews, water and white breadcrumbs to make a dough - I was sceptical, but they held together when frying and after soaking, kept their shape!

They also took less than an hour to prepare and cook, and then just need to be left in a homemade spiced syrup (which only took 10 minutes to make from start to finish) for a few hours before serving.

If you don't like cardamom, you could replace the spice with, for example, a cinnamon stick or ginger, or even something like rose water.

So this is my dairy-free vegan version of the dairy week on GBBO.

Makes 14 (serves 3-4)


For the dough balls:
300g (around 8 slices) white bread, with crusts, removed
75g (1/2 cup) cashews
125ml (1/2 cup) water

For the syrup:
375ml water
300g caster sugar
1 heaped tsp ground cardamom
1 tbsp lemon juice

Oil, for frying


1. Prepare the syrup by pouring the water, caster sugar, cardamom and lemon juice into a saucepan and bringing the mixture to a boil. Keep boiling for around 5 minutes, then take off the heat.

2. Make the dough balls by blending the cashews and water together to make a smooth paste. Blend the bread into fine breadcrumbs, and then add to the cashew paste mixture and bring the mixture together into a sticky ball of dough.

3. Divide the dough into 14 balls and roll between your hands until they are smooth.

4. Heat oil in a pan - I used a fairly large saucepan and poured in oil until it was about 2 inches high. Heat until the oil is 148c/300f.

5. Add the dough balls to the pan (4-6 at a time) carefully and fry, turning occasionally, until they are golden brown all over. Use a slotted to spoon to transfer the dough balls to drain on some kitchen paper.

6. When the syrup is warm (but not hot) add the dough balls to the syrup. Leave for at least three hours, turning the dough balls occasionally to ensure they have absorbed enough syrup.

7. Enjoy! These can be enjoyed if you heat the syrup up slightly before serving, but I think they're really nice eaten at room temperature as well!

Vegan Gulab Jamun
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Wednesday, 25 September 2019

GBBO 2019 Week 3 - Bread - Tear & Share Cinnamon, Apricot and Apple Rolls (Vegan)

Vegan Cinnamon, Apple and Apricot Rolls

I know...I'm quite late with this post. My defence is that I attempted the first batch of cinnamon rolls, which were a bit of a disaster, and then episode 4 of GBBO was on, and I got very annoyed with the theme (Dairy week for a vegan is NOT much fun!).
However, I picked myself up yesterday and had another go at some vegan cinnamon rolls. To the filling I added, as weird as it sounds, a small jar of apricot and apple puree (like that found in the baby food aisle). This gave the rolls a wonderful fruity flavour. Before placing the rolls in the tray I also poured in a simple vegan caramel. After baking, this leaves a gorgeous caramel stickiness to the bottom of each bun.
This is the jar of apricot and apple puree (125g) I used. It has no weird ingredients in it, just 60% apricot and 40% apple, so seemed perfect for this bake.

The dough was really easy, lightly spiced with cardamom, and I kneaded the dough using the dough hook in a stand mixer - you could knead by hand, but the dough is a sticky one, so if you can, I'd recommend following my method.

Makes 9 cinnamon rolls


For the dough:

  • 475g strong white bread flour, plus an extra handful for dusting
  • 25g cornflour
  • 7g dried fast-action yeast
  • 50g light soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 300ml soy milk
  • 75g dairy-free (I used a soy-based) margarine

For the caramel:

  • 45g golden syrup
  • 45g light soft brown sugar
  • 75g dairy-free margarine

For the filling:

  • 2-3 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 30g light soft brown sugar
  • 125g apricot and apple puree (you could blitz your own apricots and cooked down apples if needed)


1. Tip the bread flour and cornflour into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with a dough hook. To one side of the bowl add the yeast, and to the other side add the sugar, cardamom and salt.

2. Heat the soy milk in the microwave for 30 seconds - 1 minute, until warm but not hot to the touch. Pour over the flour and add the margarine.

3. Turn on the stand mixer and leave to knead for around 8 minutes, until it is very soft.

4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour, or until the dough has at least doubled in size.

5. Meanwhile, make the caramel by pouring the syrup, sugar and margarine into a small saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil. Stir whilst boiling for around a minute, then take off the heat.

6. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin with baking parchment, then pour caramel into the base of this tin.

7. To make the filling, simply stir together the cinnamon, sugar and puree, and set aside.

8. Once the dough has at least doubled in size, tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly to knock the air out. Roll to about 50 x 40 cm rectangle. Spread over the filling evenly. From a long end, roll the dough tightly.

9. Evenly slice into nine rolls, and then carefully place in the prepared tin, cut side facing up.

10. Cover the tin with clingfilm and then leave for around another 45 minutes, until well risen.

11. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 180c (160c fan)/355f/gas mark 4.

12. Bake the cinnamon rolls for 25-30 minutes, until golden on top and firm to the touch. Check after around 20 minutes, and if they are browning too much, cover with foil.

13. Enjoy warm or at room temperature!

Vegan Cinnamon, Apple and Apricot Rolls
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