Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Cherry Cobbler – Gluten Free, Dairy Free

Old fashioned fruit cobbler is a favorite dessert of mine, even though it contains the big three of bad-for-us ingredients: sugar, fat and salt.  Cobbler is thickened fruit covered with sweetened biscuit topping. Cobbler is simple and unsophisticated, with no difficult ingredients. Except one: white flour. White flour is everywhere but is not okay for people who don’t tolerate it, such as daughter Sarah. So, here is how we enabled Sarah to eat this dessert along with daughter Dede/Dori,  granddaughter Dana, and me.

Red tart cherries are ripe in northern Illinois, I learned from my friend Tom, who picked some and gave them to me via my daughter Dede/Dori, who visited me last weekend.  And so we made cherry cobbler. We had two roadblocks to navigate. First, someone had to pit all those cherries. Second, in order for Sarah to be able to eat the cobbler, we needed substitutes for the all purpose wheat flour and cow milk.

Dede/Dori and I pitted the cherries (she pitted most of them), and Sarah supplied us with a box of gluten free Bisquick.  Normally I don’t recommend using prepared mixes like Bisquick, but it worked for our cobbler. Its main ingredient is rice flour. Since the Bisquick mixture already contained leavening and some sugar, I needed to modify the cobbler recipe in my old fashioned cookbook.  Here is what we created, with input from The Betty Furness Westinghouse Cook Book, published in 1954.

Cherry Cobbler – Gluten Free

Find your 2-quart casserole dish or 8x8 inch baking dish and grease it. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

1 cup sugar
¼ cup brown rice flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups fresh cherries (see below for canned cherries alternative).
Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon and blend with cherries. Pour it into the baking dish.

Make dough:
2 cups gluten free Bisquick
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup shortening
¾ cup white almond milk (cow milk works too)
Stir the Bisquick, salt and sugar together. Cut and blend in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the almond milk and mix only enough to blend the ingredients. Roll it to the size of your baking pan if it is dry enough and place it on top of the cherry mixture. If the dough is too wet to roll, distribute it by spoonfuls evenly onto the cherries. Sprinkle a little sugar over the top. Bake it for 25-30 minutes until it is somewhat brown.

This is good plain or with ice cream or whipped cream.

For canned unsweetened cherries: Use 2 cups canned cherries with ¾ cup juice and blend with sugar, flour and cinnamon and proceed as above.
Also, you can easily substitute wheat for the gluten free ingredients, and milk for the almond milk. I haven't used regular Bisquick for many years, so don't know if it will perform well in this recipe.
Door County cherries are my preference when they are ripe.

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