Saturday, 23 October 2010

Vegan gluten free carrot muffin

Carrot muffins are one of my favourite snack foods and great to keep in the freezer. I put one in a tub for a day out when I don’t know if there will be anything safe to eat. My usual recipe is gluten and dairy free but does contain eggs, so this is an attempt to find a good vegan recipe.

I made two batches of muffins, one with pre-gelatinised tapioca starch and one with the same amount of water and tapioca added to the rest of the ingredients. The second batter was very sloppy so I probably should not have added so much water, just mixed in water until the texture was right, but I haven’t retested this yet.

The muffins were quite different.

The one made with water was wetter, the muffin stuck to the paper case, and the individual ingredients were very visible. The pieces of carrot will still very clear. The taste was light, the texture moist, but this moistness gave a gelatinous feel. The muffin did hold together and was fine to eat. Considering there was no gluten or egg it had a lot more coherence than I had expected, presumably because the carrot strands gave structure.

The one made with the pre-gelatinised tapioca starch (gel) was quite different. If you haven’t seen the earlier instructions on this all I did was mix 10g tapioca flour with 60g cold water and heat, stirring continuously, until it looked like thick wallpaper paste – a clear very sticky gel. Be warned, you need to clean the pan and spoon with paper towel before putting in the dishwasher or you will find blobs of the stuff left in the dishwasher at the end. It really does stick together. Technical papers I have been reading suggest the temperature you cook this to makes a difference as to how it performs but I didn’t do anything other than cook until clear and thick.

I had to work harder to mix the batter, so I started with the gel and worked first the sugar, then flour, then margarine, then carrot and raisins into the mix. As I was making a tiny amount I did this with a wooden spoon; it may well be that in a food mixer it would be easy.

This carrot muffin was lovely. I gave a blind taste test to my resident Mr Taster, who has a fine palate, an analytical mind and a good descriptive capability (he writes novels while I bake). His words were ‘If I came across one in Starbucks I would make a note to have it again. It has a deep, complex mature flavour; an extremely good taste experience.”

In the photo the ‘gel’ muffin is on the left with the reddish colour.

Ingredients (makes four muffins about 70g batter each)

60g sugar

60g sunflower margarine (usually use oil but tried Pure margarine)

50g grated carrot

30g raisins

gel – 10g tapioca 60ml water

25g urid lentil flour

15g tapioca

15g polenta

1tsp baking powder

1tsp cinnamon

0.3tsp baking soda

Place about 70g of batter in each muffin case and bake at 17degrees C for approx 25 minutes until skewer comes out clean.

When cool, ice with a glace icing made with icing sugar and lemon juice.

I’ll run some best-before tests – my usual carrot muffins are still great after seven days. That, of course, needs time. I’ll report back.

I note that lots of sites suggest flax seed as an egg substitute. I’ll try that when I get some, as they have a nutritional advantage over tapioca starch. Will report later.

This recipe will give less protein than the usual one made with egg but is a great way to have a gf, dairy and egg free portable treat.

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