How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Cobbler Topping

How To Make the Best Gluten-Free Cobbler Topping

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Meghan Splawn
Jul 6, 2017
(Image credit: Christine Han)

I have fallen in love with a cobbler topping and I want to tell the world about it. Instead of a cobbler topping derived from all-purpose flour, this one is toothsome with cornmeal and toasty with oat flour. It's a cobbler topping that falls somewhere between a biscuit and a corncake. On its own, it'd be a revelation of quick breads — the perfect combination of textures and flavors for smears of butter or jam — but bake this cobbler biscuit on top of juicy ripe fruit and you'll be forever changed.

We've pulled this topping recipe out as a standalone because we believe that if you know this part by heart, you can cobble together any fruit and make an excellent gluten-free fruit cobbler. It doesn't require any hard-to-find flours or special mixing methods. Essentially a riff on a cream biscuit, this topping is changing my cobbler game this summer. Here's how to up your cobbler topping game too.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Essentials of Gluten-Free Fruit Cobbler Topping

Cobbler should be easy, whether it's gluten-free or not, and this cornmeal-meets-oat cobbler topping is no exception. Here's what you need to know for the best gluten-free cobbler topping, ever.

  • The best flours for gluten-free cobbler and where to find them.
  • How to make a cream biscuit dough.
  • How to bake this topping on fruit for life-changing fruit cobbler.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

The Best Flours for Gluten-Free Cobbler: Cornmeal, Oat, and Rice

This cobbler topping uses three common pantry staples that are naturally gluten-free. You're likely to have cornmeal and rolled oats on hand, but rice flour is a less common kitchen ingredient. Rice flour is still incredibly easy to find, though — I scored mine at Target. The biggest point to remember with these flours is to check for gluten-free labeling.

  • Cornmeal: Either yellow or white will work here, but be sure to buy fine (not coarse) cornmeal and look for gluten-free labeling. Just like oats, cornmeal is naturally gluten-free, but it's not always processed in a facility that prevents cross-contamination from wheat products.
  • Oat flour: You can buy oat flour or quickly make your own by processing old-fashioned oats in a food processor for about five minutes. Again, make sure the oat flour or oats you buy are labeled gluten-free.
  • Plain rice flour: There are a few different varieties of rice flour available, including brown rice flour and sweet rice flour. Plain white rice flour works best for this recipe. Many supermarkets sell this near the breadcrumbs or fish-fry ingredients since it is often used for tempura batter.

Gluten-free labeling: Why Are Some Oats Labeled Gluten-Free?

(Image credit: Christine Han)

What Is a Cream Biscuit, and Why Is It Awesome?

A cream biscuit is a quick bread that uses heavy cream as both the fat and liquid. The real boon here is that once you've found your special flours, there's nothing new to learn. Simply whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and leavening, then stir in the cream. It bakes up incredibly tender. And if you buy a pint of cream for this recipe, you'll have just enough cream leftover to whip for topping the warm cobbler.

(Image credit: Christine Han)

Turn This Topping into a Gluten-Free Fruit Cobbler

You'll need about two pounds of fruit and you'll want to slice or chop the fruit into bite-sized pieces for easier eating. Personally, I like to sweeten my fruit with a little sugar and thicken their juices with a little cornstarch (make sure it's gluten-free too!), but you can simply top unadorned fruit with this cobbler topping and bake it with outstanding results.

How To Make The Best Gluten-Free Cobbler Topping

Serves 6 to 8; makes about 3 cups of topping, enough for 2 pounds of fruit

What You Need

Ingredients
For the fruit filling:
2 pounds fruit, peeled and chopped as desired
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

For the cobbler topping:
Butter, for coating the baking dish
1/2 cup fine cornmeal
1/2 cup oat flour
1/3 cup rice flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Optional toppings:
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon demerara or other coarse sugar

Equipment
8- or 9-inch square baking dish, or 9-inch pie pan
Mixing bowls
Rubber spatula
Whisk
Measuring spoons and cups

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven and butter the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat 8- or 9-inch square baking dish, or 9-inch pie pan, with butter.
  2. Prepare the fruit filling. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Add the fruit and toss to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients for the topping. Place the cornmeal, oat flour, rice flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
  4. Add the cream to the dry ingredients. Pour in the cream. Stir with a rubber spatula until just combined; the dough will be quite wet.
  5. Top the cobbler. Scoop the dough into 8 even mounds onto the fruit filling. Brush with the 1 tablespoon cream and sprinkle with the coarse sugar if desired.
  6. Bake the cobbler. Bake until the fruit bubbles and the juices thicken, and the topping is browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.

Recipe Notes

  • Gluten-free flour: Oats and corn are naturally gluten-free, but many packagers also package wheat in the same facilities. If you are making this for someone who is gluten-free, look for gluten-free labeled oats, cornmeal, and cornstarch.
  • Storage: Cobbler is best served the day it is made, but leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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