Fruit cobbler is the kind of homey dessert that can and should be eaten year-round. Whenever you find yourself with peak-season fruit, consider the cobbler. With the right recipe, pulling one together is easy. Here's what you should expect: A deep-golden biscuit topping with a crisp exterior and cakey center that hovers over a pool of luscious baked fruit.
The challenge in baking a gluten-free cobbler is preserving the inherent ease while baking with gluten-free flours. This recipes does it, though, with a final dessert that rivals its classic counterpart, thanks to a cream biscuit made with cornmeal, oat flour, and easy-to-find rice flour.
Everything You Need to Know About Making a Gluten-Free Cobbler
Cobbler should always be easy. You should literally be able to "cobble" it together with just the ingredients in your pantry and fresh or frozen fruit. A gluten-free cobbler may require you to grab one unusual flour, but every other ingredient is a regular in most pantries.
Here's what you need to know for the best gluten-free cobbler.
- How to make a cream biscuit dough.
- The best flours for gluten-free cobbler and where to find them.
- Is cornstarch gluten-free?
The Best Cobbler Topping Is a Cream Biscuit Topping
There are many variations on cobbler toppings, but for most, a cobbler topping is always based on a lightly sweetened biscuit. Cream biscuits are particularly well-suited to sweetening and spooning atop juicy fruit. They also have the distinction of being incredibly effortless to mix up — even when you change up the flour. What I particularly enjoy about cream biscuits for cobbler is if you buy a pint of cream and use most of it to make this recipe, you'll have just enough cream to whip up for topping the finished cobbler.
Cream biscuits rely on baking powder for leavening, but they don't require any additional fat or liquid, as the heavy cream provides both. Expect this biscuit dough to be quite wet, so use a scoop or two spoons to top the fruit filling.
The fun part of gluten-free baking is that there are so many flours to choose from, each lending a distinct quality or flavor to the finished desserts. Here, cornmeal and oat flour work in unison to create a toothsome and earthy cobbler crust, but on their own they can be quite dense. Enter: rice flour, the only specialty flour you'll need for this recipe. You shouldn't run into any trouble finding it in most markets; I bought mine at Target.
- 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 it's labeled gluten-free.
- Fine 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 is not always processed in a facility that prevents cross-contamination from wheat products.
- 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?
Fruit for Gluten-Free Cobblers
The recipe below calls for fresh peaches and raspberries, but you can easily swap them for whatever is ripe; you'll need about two pounds of fruit. You can certainly bake the fruit unadorned under the cobbler topping, but expect a very thin sauce as a result. For a thicker sauce, toss the fruit with just a half-cup of sugar and two tablespoons of cornstarch before baking. The sugar and starch work in tandem in the oven to make a sauce for the fruit. The cobbler should bubble in the oven — this is how you know the cornstarch is properly cooked.
Is cornstarch gluten-free?
Cornstarch is widely regarded as the best thickener for the fruit base. Partnered with a bit of sugar, this starch thickens the warm juices from the fruit baking up into a luxurious sauce. Cornstarch is finely processed corn-flour that is naturally gluten-free. As with cornmeal and oats, it bears repeating that when baking for those with gluten-intolerant, it's imperative to check the labels and buy from a trusted source.
How Do I Know My Cobbler Is Done?
Fruit cobblers generally take 40 to 50 minutes to bake depending on the density of the fruit and topping. Beyond being golden-brown on top, the fruit sauce should be bubbling vigorously — not just on the edges, but also in the center of the baking dish. The biscuit topping should bounce back when pressed and a probe thermometer inserted in the center-most biscuit should read at least 200°F.
How To Make Gluten-Free Fruit Cobbler
Serves 10 to 12
What You Need
- For the peach-raspberry filling:
unsalted butter, at room temperature
finely grated lemon zest
freshly grated nutmeg
1 to 1 1/2 pounds
peaches (about 6 medium peaches), pitted and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
raspberries (about 1 1/4 cups)
- For the cobbler topping:
white rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 cups
- Optional toppings:
demerara or other coarse sugar
8 or 9-inch square baking dish, or 9-inch pie pan
Measuring spoons and cups
Baking sheet or aluminum foil
Heat the oven and butter the baking dish. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Coat an 8- or 9-inch square baking dish or 9-inch pie pan with the butter.
Prepare the fruit filling. Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, lemon zest, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. Add the peaches and raspberries and toss to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
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 well.
Add the cream to the dry ingredients. Pour in the cream. Stir until just combined; the dough will be quite wet.
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.
Bake the cobbler. Bake until the fruit bubbles and the juices thicken, and the topping is browned and cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.
Gluten-free oat flour: Oats are naturally gluten-free, but many oat packagers also package wheat in the same facilities. If you are making these bars for someone who is gluten-free, look for gluten-free oats.
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.