This cobbler recipe was created in partnership with Pamela’s Products as part of the 2015 Baking Partner program.
Well, spring whizzed by, didn’t it? It’s been a really busy few weeks and months, but I feel like I managed to really enjoy the nice weather, beautiful blossoms, and the return of some of my favorite fruits and veggies to the produce section. There are also so many exciting things are happening right now, not the least of which is that I’m teaming up with Pamela’s Products again this year as a Baking Partner. (Cue the Happy Dance!) Throughout the rest of the year I’ll be sharing some new recipes I’m developing using Pamela’s Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour and other baking mixes. (You can see last year’s recipes here.) First up: Gluten-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler.
Cobblers come in many shapes and forms. I chose to do a sort of deep dish variety topped with gluten-free drop biscuits or dumplings. I think this is our preferred fruit dessert of all time. Tender, sweet biscuits on top of in-season fruit is just fantastic – nothing better. I was tempted to try other fruit with the rhubarb, but I kept coming back to the old standby. It’s a classic combo for a reason! I also love that ruby red color. Cobbler tends to be a homely dessert, but in a “so ugly it’s pretty” kind of way. Am I right?
I made several variations of this cobbler as I was testing it out and every single bite was 100% enjoyed by me and my family. We are strawberry-rhubarb fiends! It was a tough job, I’m sure they’d tell you.I’m experimenting with going dairy- and (mostly) egg-free again. So this recipe is also vegan. Eggs aren’t needed at all with the Pamela’s Biscuit and Scone Mix anyway, so that wasn’t an issue. And it’s easy enough to make dairy substitutions for the almond milk and organic vegetable shortening. For the topping, our go-to is whipped coconut cream. But…someone, I won’t say who, did complain a little that I didn’t make homemade ice cream to go on top. Ha! (SPOILED.) It so good piping hot out of the oven with the cream melting into a pool around the fruit. Mmm…
Let’s talk about the filling. I tried a couple of different things as I tested it. I decided to ditch as much sugar as I could. Some recipes I’ve seen call for a lot of sugar. No doubt it’s because rhubarb can be fairly tart. I didn’t want to hide that trait, but instead enhance it and just take the edge off the tartness. I used organic 100% pure maple syrup instead of sugar. I also opted for a higher strawberry to rhubarb ratio which also kept it tasting sweet enough without adding any more sugar. The biscuits have a teeny bit of sugar which helps promote browning on top, but for the most part the sweet factor comes from the strawberries and maple syrup.
It probably goes without saying, but using really good strawberries and rhubarb is important. The very best strawberries, of course, are the ones that are left to ripen on the plant. Picking them yourself at a local farm or in your garden is a luxury not everyone has. The next best thing is to buy organic strawberries. It’s worth the extra splurge and they are just generally better than run of the mill grocery store strawberries. (In my humble opinion.) If you can’t find good berries in your area, frozen ones will work fine too. The same goes for the rhubarb. I didn’t have luck finding anyone nearby with rhubarb in their garden, so I bought some at Whole Foods. Frozen rhubarb will also work.
The filling also used a good amount of vanilla extract. I found using a bit more than I normally would helps boost the sweetness factor. By the way, I make my own extra strong vanilla extract made with gluten-free bourbon and whole vanilla beans, but any good GF pure vanilla extract works great. And I like to add lemon juice and zest because I feel like it rounds everything out. If the fruit isn’t quite flavorful enough, the lemon can help with that by adding some brightness.
Now for the biscuits/dumplings. One reason I like keeping Pamela’s flour and baking mixes in my cupboard is that not only are they convenient, but whatever I make always, always turn out great. Honestly, I’ve made some pretty horrendous homemade gluten-free biscuits in the past 5 years. It’s really tricky to get the right blend for light and fluffy biscuits. Since I started using Pamela’s instead, ZERO complaints from my non-GF family members. That’s huge. HUGE, I tell you. Pamela’s Biscuit and Scone mix is one of my favorites and the biscuit-y dumplings on top of the strawberry rhubarb filling are perfection.
I like to portion out the dough with a mini-ice cream scoop because a) it’s super easy, b) the biscuits are the same size, c) I think it looks cute, and d) I love any excuse to use my mini-ice cream scoop.
I tried a few different things when it came to timing and pre-cooking the filling or baking everything all together all at once. The latter was the winner because I felt like the amount of time was about the same, and it was a simpler method. The added baking time was only about 10-15 minutes, which was the same amount of time it took to cook the filling separately, then top with the biscuits. I did find that it was important to not have the oven rack too high or too low. Dead center worked the best because then everything cooked evenly, and the biscuits browned nicely on top too. If you’re a fan of tons of filling, you could make 1 1/2 times the filling, use a deeper baking dish, and add about 10-15 minutes to the baking time. We were sort of split on the biscuits vs. filling ratio. I feel like what I ended up including in the recipe was a good middle ground for both filling and biscuit lovers.
Memorial Day is next week, and this is certainly on our menu! Even after all the recipe testing I did, my husband said to me, “Man, that cobbler is just so good! I can’t wait to have it again!” Ha!
- Biscuit dough:
- ⅓ cup chilled butter or butter alternative (I used organice 100% pure non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening)
- 1¼ to 1½ cups unsweetened almond milk or regular milk
- One package Pamela's Products Biscuit and Scone Mix
- 1 Tablespoon organic evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
- 2 heaping cups of sliced rhubarb
- 2 pounds strawberries
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Juice and zest of 1 lemon
- 2 Tablespoons arrowroot starch (can also use cornstarch)
- For whipped coconut cream:
- 1 can coconut cream, chilled and whipped
- 1 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon organic pure maple syrup, optional
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Place the rack in the center of the oven.
- In a 3- or 4- quart Dutch oven or casserole dish, combine sliced rhubarb, strawberries, maple syrup, vanilla, arrowroot starch, lemon juice and zest. Stir well and let stand for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl, stir together the Biscuit and Scone Mix with the 1 Tablespoon cane juice or sugar. Add the chilled butter or butter alternative. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dry ingredients until crumbly. Add the milk and stir together all at once using a fork, being careful not to over-mix; stir just until combined. Add a little extra almond milk if the dough feels too stiff. It should be neither too runny nor too stiff.
- Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, drop rounds of the dough evenly on top of the fruit filling. Bake uncovered for 50-60 minutes, or until the dumplings are cooked through and golden on top, and the filling is bubbling around the edges and in the center. Let cool slightly before serving.
- To make the coconut whipped cream - carefully spoon out the solidified coconut cream into a mixing bowl, leaving behind any clear liquid. Add the maple syrup, if using, and vanilla extract. Whisk well. It will get slightly lighter and creamier, but won't be as airy as dairy whipped cream. Chill until ready to use.
HOW TO PHOTOS + TIPS
Rhubarb tends to break down when it’s cooked. I like to slice it into about 1/4-inch slices. It doesn’t cook so long that it disintegrates, but long enough it softens quite a bit. Cutting the large strawberries into four slices, or small strawberries in halves works great.
I chose to use arrowroot starch to help thicken the filling. Stirring together the fruit, maple syrup, and other ingredients allows the fruit to release some juices which will thicken up and become syrupy as the cobbler bakes.
The biscuit dough should not be too stiff or sticky. It also shouldn’t be overworked too much even though there’s not gluten in there, over-mixing could keep them from being light and fluffy.
I like using the mini-ice cream scoop, as I mentioned above. It’s easy and less messy too – always a plus!
Make sure to move the oven rack to the center of the oven so the biscuits brown nicely and the filling cooks through. Too low and the biscuits will stay blond rather than turning golden. You’ll be able to tell the cobbler is done when the filling is bubbling all over, including the center. Use the tip of a knife to peek down into the center between the biscuits and the filling. If it looks at all raw, return it to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.
Last tip – serve it up with plenty of whipped coconut cream! :)
Disclosure: As a Pamela’s Baking Partner, I am compensated for my time. All opinions expressed 100% my own.