Monday, January 18, 2010

Brown Sugar Blueberry Crumb Pie

One of the many things I love about baking is that being an experienced baker I can easily manipulate other baker's recipes. Actually, scratch that.  I would not call myself an experienced baker, as I am not a professional, however I have been baking for well over 15 years, and I enjoy it.  And with enjoyment comes learning and lots and lots and LOTS of lessons and mistakes.  Becoming Gluten-Free in my adult years has led me back to my baking roots.  Many challenges and many scrumptious baked goods in return.  Ah, life is sweet.  Literally.  

And luckily for you, one of my favorite past times is browsing the baking sections of the many bookstores in New York City (where I live).  I usually frequent Border's and Barnes and Noble, but when it comes to the purchase I chose because I can always find great deals (actually this cookbook is on sale right now at Amazon)!  During one of my many excursions I came across The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook.  If anyone knows this bakery (NYC location), you know that prior to being Gluten-Free this would be the bakery to go to.  The recipes remind me of sweet sugary goodness waiting for children and adults hands to touch. One bite is heaven, and the rest is well fattening.  Irresistible, fattening and well worth the calories.  Obviously I have not been there since my diagnosis because at this point it is just a tease.  When I came across this Cookbook I had to have it.  I couldn't wait to buy it from Amazon and had to have it right then and there.  Just the pictures of these amazing desserts made my mouth water and the pastel coloring of the Buttercream icings sent my mind into Gluten-Free imagination.  Why can't I have these baked goods I thought?  Why can't I manipulate these recipes while maintaining the same taste and feel of this cookbook?  Why?  And then I thought, of course I can, I just have to figure out the right flours and ingredients to add.  Simple.  

I decided that if I kept putting these baking obstacles and road blocks in my face, and then I would never be able to enjoy desserts again.  When you think about it, baking is similar to a mathematical equation.  And I was going to find a way.  So not only do I get to enjoy these wonderful desserts, you do too.  And isn't that the point? To live life after being Gluten-Free?  I think so.

If you have read my other post's you will notice that I use this cookbook often.  I only own ONE, yes ONE gluten-free cookbook. The rest are not, and I convert, convert, and convert.  I let baking take over my imagination and I create.  I create my recipes in a mathematical way and I design and decorate like art, in an artistic way.

A Blueberry Cobbler.  I have to say, I haven't made a pie since the fifth grade when my school class was taken on a field trip to a pilgrim like tour where we had to as a class make Stew and Pie and live like pilgrims or something close to that.  My mom was one of the parents who came along, and told me she will never forget how I made the piecrusts.  She said it was like watching someone create art.  I guess I was very into it, taking pride in every step of the way.  A young Baker at heart.

Fast forward to now.  I am 32, and didn't really have the time to make a gluten-free Piecrust.  So I bought one from Whole Foods.  They have their own Gluten-Free brand called Gluten-Free Bakehouse. This pie crust is frozen and made from rice flour, tapioca starch, cornstarch, butter, eggs, potato starch, water, lemon juice, salt, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda and evaporated cane juice.  This is a great piecrust to keep in the freezer as a staple item.  You never know when you will want to bake a pie or a cobbler.  Really.

The only part of this recipe I manipulated was the crust and the crumbs.  

Easy Breezy Blueberry Cobbler
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

1 Gluten-Free piecrust


1/2 cup of sugar
2 pints of fresh blueberries (about 3 containers worth)

Gluten-Free Crumb topping:

2 1/4 cups of GF flour blend  
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
1 cup unsalted butter softened and cut into pieces

**To make flour blend combine 2 cups rice flour, 2/3 cup potato starch, 1/3 cup tapioca flour and 1 tsp   xanthan gum.  Store in tight-fitting lid; stir before using.  **Do not sift for this recipe

To prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the sugar and the cornstarch.  Add the berries and toss gently until coated.  Transfer the berry mixture into the piecrust (pie crust can be defrosted or frozen).

To prepare the topping: In a medium-size bowl, mix the GF flour mixture and the brown sugar.  Using a pastry blender or your hands, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle the crumb topping over the berry mixture until well covered.  Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn down the oven to 375 degrees and continue baking for an additional 25-35 minutes or until golden brown on the top.  You know your crumb pie is done when you see the blueberry juices oozing out of the pie.  It's always good to have some tin foil on the rack below the crumb pie just in case it oozes a bit too much.  And don't worry if it oozes.  It will still taste fantastic!

Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite Gluten-Free Vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Enjoy!! xoxo Julie

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