… It’s as Good as Pie, Without the Rolling Pin!
Perhaps some of you will think I’m crazy by this statement but I love making pie crust. I love creating decorative pies for the holidays, or blanketing chicken pot pie with that flaky, tender cover, even making sandwich pockets. I’ll be honest, though, and admit that I loved it even more when I was using that lovely gluten-containing flour that does anything you want it to. But, alas, I digress, so let’s move forward with reality. Once you get the hang of it, and know some very key tips, making homemade gluten-free, dairy-free pie crust isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s quite wonderful because that means that we can enjoy pie anytime we want, right? Yep!
There are those times, however, when you just don’t feel like fiddling with crust-making, yet pie is definitely calling your name. I had one of those moments recently. So instead of doing without because I was feeling lazy, I did the next best thing … I made a streusel crust and topping to border my sweet and tangy mixed berry pie filling. And it worked perfectly. In fact, the streusel topping added a little something extra with the nutty, crunchy elements it brought to the table, uh, pie.
This pseudo pie has a sweet-tangy raspberry, blackberry filling and an almond-pecan-coconut-streusel-crumble thing going on. Without using any dairy, gluten, grains, or oats, we still get sweet, nutty, rich and buttery characteristics … and with the addition of chia seeds and flaxseed meal, and all those berries, we can (almost) claim this dessert is good for us. Yes, let’s!
To thicken the pie filling, I used Kraft Minute Tapioca Pearls, but any gluten-free tapioca pearls should work fine.
As you’ll see in the photos with the baked filling, the consistency is not loose, but thicker and tighter and obviously not real juicy. The filling is very good this way, but if you prefer it to be a looser consistency with more juice, simply reduce the called-for amount of tapioca pearls by a tablespoonful or so. The consistency also varies by how juicy your berries are. Here I used frozen berries, which didn’t give off as much liquid as do my fresh, summer berries. So just play with this variable to your preference.
I like the less juicy texture when I want to pack portions into lunches. Travels well this way. Also, if your texture comes out tighter than you were looking for, try popping individual portions in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. This will give the cobbler a fresh out-of-the-oven warmth and loosen up the filling slightly. So, so delicious with a dollop of non-dairy whipped topping on it. Oh the oozing! (Sorry, I ate that photo prop too quickly!)
I also like raspberry and blackberry pie fillings to be kissed with cinnamon and nutmeg. This is totally optional, again to your preference. Their presence is subtle in the quantities I’ve included. If you want to boost that flavor, I’d recommend also adding these two ingredients to the streusel topping mixture.
This recipe will make about four and a half cups of the crumble topping/crust mixture. I used only 3 cups of it here. It freezes well and can be added to additional topping for a complete batch for your next “pie”, but it’s also fabulous sprinkled over non-dairy ice cream, added to the top of muffins just prior to baking, stirred into your dairy-free yogurt parfaits, or topped on your baked sweet potatoes. So, go ahead and make the entire recipe because I know you’re going to want the extra on hand.
Why is this dessert baked in a cast iron skillet, you ask? Cast iron creates a wonderful crispiness to most baked goods. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, or just prefer not to use one, this bakes up beautifully in any shape/style of baking dish. I coated the skillet with organic virgin coconut oil (solid when I coated the pan). This helped the crumble release effortlessly from the pan while infusing just a hint of additional coconut flavor into the “crust”. There is also an essence of sweet coconut from the coconut flour included. Not so much coconut flavor that it is prominent though. My hubby didn’t even know it was there. He just said, “Wow, this has really good flavor!” Thanks, Sweetheart!
Cast Iron Berry Cobbler with Grain Free Streusel Topping will last on the counter top at normal room temperature (not hot, summer temps) for a day or so. I’d recommend storing any leftovers in the fridge for longer keeping. It freezes well too. I’d suggest dividing it into single-serve portions before doing so.
If you prefer a streusel topping that isn’t grain-free, you might also like my Raspberry Amaretto Peach Cobbler with Oatmeal Pecan Crumble Topping.
Cast Iron Berry Cobbler with Grain Free Streusel Topping
- 1 teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
For the pie filling:
- 6 cups frozen or fresh berries - I used 3 cups each of raspberries and blackberries
- 1 1/4 cups brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1/4 cup tapioca pearls
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 Tablespoons vegan butter substitute, cut into 8 cubes
For the streusel mixture:
- 1 cup almond flour - I use Honeyville
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- 2 Tablespoons chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) vegan butter substitute - I use Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks
- 1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat inside of cast iron skillet or baking dish with 1 teaspoon (firm) coconut oil. Set aside.
- To make the filling, combine berries, brown sugar, tapioca pearls, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl. Stir well. Add "butter" cubes. Stir to distribute cubes (no need to break them down). Set aside to allow berries to thaw a little and add moisture to the mixture. Stir a few times while making the streusel topping.
- To make the streusel mixture, combine almond and coconut flours, brown sugar, pecans, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and salt in a bowl. Mix well. Add "butter" and coconut oil and press into mixture with fingertips until mixture is crumbly and coarse.
- Add 1 1/2 cups streusel mixture to prepared baking dish. Pat down in an even layer. Spoon filling in and spread to an even layer. Add 1 1/2 cups streusel mixture over filling and spread to an even layer.
- Place baking dish in a preheated 375ºF oven, on center rack, and bake for 37 to 45 minutes, or until filling is bubbly and has thickened, and topping is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and rest baking dish on a cooling rack. Allow to cool at least one hour. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold from the fridge. Store remaining cobbler on countertop for up to 24 hours. Keep longer in fridge, or divide into individual serving portions and freeze in airtight containers.
This recipe first appeared on DailyForage.com and has been shared on Gluten Free Fridays #225 on VegetarianMamma.com.
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