Low FODMAP Christmas Roll

Oh wow. Low FODMAP Christmas baking was a treat this year! Rarely does a new recipe surprise me so much – there’s no way I’m going to tell you how many pieces I ate when the roll was ready. Waaaaay too many. I totally deserve the flare-up… too much starch, the SIBO nasties are having a Christmas feast. I suppose it is the season to be generous…

The recipe was inspired by my all-time favourite Polish Christmas cake called makowiec. Some of the main ingredients of that cake are poppy seeds, dried fruit and honey, so it’s probably a no-go, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t come up with a new holiday tradition, right? Just as long as it includes rolling decadent Christmas ingredients into sweet yeast dough. It was surprisingly easy, much quicker than makowiec – at least my version of it which used to include overnight steps – and dare I say, almost as delicious!

Disclaimers: The proportions I’m listing below will give you a semi-sweet cake, appropriate for someone who goes into shock after two bites of an American chocolate chip cookie. If your tolerance for sweetness is higher than mine, double the sugar and consider icing the roll. Use gluten-free ingredients if necessary, and egg replacer, coconut or almond milk and margerine to make it dairy-free/vegan. Also, apologies for some of the photos being sub-par, I was baking this while packing for an eight-day road-slash-camping trip I’m setting off on tomorrow and while simultaneously trying to talk on Skype with family in Poland who were having their Christmas Eve supper. Right. Time to unveil…


Cranberry, Almond and Cream Cheese Roll

(yield: 12-15 portions, preparation: 45 minutes, total time: 3.5 hours, difficulty: medium to hard but come on, you can do it!)


  • 1 tablespoon granulated yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (~105 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 2 cups rice flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 1 tablespoon xanthan gum
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg or equivalent egg replacer
  • 4 tablespoons butter or margerine, melted and cooled down
  • 1/3 cup warm lactose-free milk


  • 8 oz lactose-free cream cheese (I used Trader Joe’s vegan cream cheese)
  • 4 tablespoons lactose-free milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 6 tablespoons almond meal
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar

To ensure smooth rising, bring all ingredients other than water and milk to room temperature. In a large bowl mix yeast, warm water and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Make sure the water is the correct temperature – too cold and the yeast won’t reactivate, too hot and you’ll kill it. In a separate bowl whisk together the flours, xanthan gum and salt. Once the yeast mixture looks cloudy and you can smell the fermentation (this should take about 15-20 minutes), add the flour mix followed by the egg, butter and warm milk. Knead only until the dough is uniform, maybe a total of one minute; cover with a linen napkin or kitchen towel and leave in a warm place to rise. I usually put the bowl next to a heater and after 1.5 hours, the dough doubles volume – that’s what we’re aiming for. When it looks ready, prepare the rolling station: put a clean kitchen towel on a flat surface, cut a piece of oven-safe wax paper (12×22 inches) and place on top of the towel. Cover the parchment with grease, either butter or neutrally flavored oil (not olive oil or the cake will taste funny). Transfer the dough onto the paper and spread, leaving at least 1 inch free on three sides. and at least 6 inches on the remaining short side.


Start on the filling: in a small bowl mix the cream cheese and milk, there’s no need to whip it, just makesure it’s homogenous. Spread it on top of the dough – again, leave 1/2 inch free on all sides. Next, distribute the almond meal, cranberries and sugar evenly on top. Press the cranberries lightly into the cream cheese. Now comes the slightly tricky part: the rolling. Carefully lift one of the shorter sides of the parchment paper and use your other hand to peel off the dough, then start rolling it by both pulling the side of the paper in your hand up and towards the side that’s still on the table and by helping the dough with your free hand. You can see the process on the photo above – I’m holding my camera in my right hand, but normally I’d be using it to pull the edge of the paper up and to the left, while at the same time using my left hand to stabilise and shape the roll. Make sure you’re giving the roll enough ‘lift’ so that the filling isn’t being pushed off the dough. This whole process takes some practice and I’ve certainly had my share of disasters over the years, but even if the roll ends up a little wonky, it will still taste awesome. (In case you’re wondering, the festive green patch on my arm is kinesiology tape which helps my nerve heal after the surgery. Friends at work decorated it with stickers a few days ago!)

When you’re done rolling, wrap the wax paper very loosely around the roll and tuck the free end underneath. You want to leave some space to let it rise in the oven, but also to keep it from spreading itself into a lake of cream cheese and dough. See below for the just-before-wrapping version; it’s a good idea to leave the roll seam at the bottom, this way it will seal itself.



Place the wrapped roll in a baking tin and let it rise again for 30 minutes. Then, put it in a cold oven, set the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and the timer to 45 minutes (not including the time it will take to reach the correct temperature). Once the roll is baked, switch off the oven and leave the roll inside for another 30 minutes, then transfer it onto a wire rack and let cool to room temperature. The next part is optional: for easier slicing (this is crumbly gluten-free dough after all), put the roll in the fridge for 30-45 minutes, but let the slices come to room temperature before eating. Please, please, DO NOT try to slice it when still warm or it will fall apart. Unless you don’t mind eating it out of a bowl. Maybe with custard on top. Hmm… this is giving me ideas.

Low FODMAP Chrsitmas Roll

You can of course vary the filling: use chopped nuts instead of almond meal, replace the cranberries with strawberries or blueberries… I definitely enjoy the roll on the semi-sweet side, but I suppose you could add chocolate chips to the cream cheese? Let me know if you come up with a particularly delicious combo, and merry low FODMAP Christmas to you all! I’m off to finish packing now, and maybe to have another slice…

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