The Berry Crumble (Gluten Free / Vegan)

Some tweaks were made, but nevertheless: the berry crumble is here. You may recall talk of this crumble in my pandemic birthday adventures and I said I would share that recipe and then I just… didn’t, but it’s here now! I don’t know if this is actually a crumble – maybe it’s a crisp or a cobbler, I don’t really care and I don’t care what you call it either, as long as you enjoy.

Do I like the crumble because it’s the least precise recipe in all of baking? … Probably. One of the things I am especially fond of is that the crumble is very open to personalization. Do you want to use a different kind of sugar? Swap the flour for almond meal? Use nuts and coconut instead of oats? Use butter instead of coconut oil or coconut oil instead of butter? You can do all of those things! The main constant is that, if you’re keeping it gluten free, don’t skip on the arrowroot starch in the berry mixture. Now, proper chefs everywhere may gasp, but I prefer to crumble the cheater’s way by using ~frozen~ berries which also means I can throw this together basically any time.

Note: I realize oats, even the gluten free variety, are not, strictly speaking, paleo. You can absolutely swap the oats for a chopped nut / coconut situation. That said, if you really are telling yourself you’re sticking to “strict paleo” you probably shouldn’t be eating a baked berry crumble to begin with. Not that I’m trying to micromanage anyone else’s dietary habits, do what you want, but use common sense. We’re keeping things as simple and minimally processed as possible here, but like… it’s still a baked dessert with added sugar. Don’t fool yourself into thinking this is truly healthy.

To make this, you’re going to need more than just a bunch of fruit. Let’s start with:

  • A 9″ x 13″ pan like this one from Nordicware that I am in love with
  • Parchment paper
  • Large mixing bowls (two)
  • Measuring spoons / cups
  • A spoon or two, and a fork, for mixing
  • A silicone spatula

You’ll also need the actual ingredients, which are as follows:

A measuring cup full of gluten-free oats on a white kitchen towel with a painted lemon pattern. Behind the measuring cup is a bag of date sugar and a bag of Otto's Cassava Flour. Marble countertop.For the crumble:

For the berry filling:

  • 64 oz frozen berries, your choice (yes, I realize this is four pounds, just go with it)
  • 4 tbsp date sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

In a large bowl, combine one cup of Otto’s cassava flour with gluten-free oats and 1/2 cup sugar. Mix gently with a fork to combine. Melt half a cup of coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl in 10 second increments – that means nuke it for 10 seconds, give it a stir, microwave for another 10 seconds, stir, and so on, until the coconut oil is fully melted (really shouldn’t take more than 20-30 seconds).

Very slowly, pour the coconut oil into the flour/oat/sugar mixture 1-2 tablespoons at a time, stirring with the fork to combine in between pours. Repeat this process until all of the coconut oil is incorporated and you have a fairly uniform crumble mixture – once all the oil was poured in, I ended up using my hand to get it all fully mixed. Set your crumble mixture aside.

Prepare your baking dish first with some non-stick spray or a wipe down with a bit of oil and then by lining it with parchment paper. You want the bottom fully covered and for the parchment to come up the sides on the long edge of the pan. If there is a lot of paper hanging over on either side, you can fold it down facing outwards to tuck the extra material in between the pan and the rest of the lining. Give the parchment paper a very light sprinkle of arrowroot starch – you don’t need extra for this, just take a pinch or two from the 2 tbsp we already planned to use. This is probably also a good time to preheat your oven or toaster oven to 350*F.

Depending on the size of your second large bowl and your ability to lift it, you may want to prepare your berries in two separate batches (which is exactly what I did – I find it easier to stir and maneuver that way). In said large mixing bowl, combine half of your berries with half of the sugar, arrowroot starch, and lemon juice – so that’s 32 oz of berries with 2 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of arrowroot, and 1/2 tbsp of lemon juice. Mix to combine and pour the berry mixture into the bottom of your pan. Repeat this process with the second half of the berries/sugar/starch/lemon juice. Make sure to scrape out the bowl and add everything to the pan, a silicone spatula helps here so you don’t miss out on that juice + sugar goodness that stuck to the bowl!

When the full berry mixture has been added to the pan, assess and adjust any rogue berries as we want the top to be as flat and even as possible. Obviously this is only going to be an approximation of flat and even since berries are neither of those things, but the goal is to not have too many areas where there are big dips or large peaks since that may impact the crumble on top.

Using a large spoon (or your very-clean hands), scoop/sprinkle the crumble mixture on top of the berries. Aim for a fairly even thickness across the whole pan, making sure to get the corners and not concentrating too much of the crumbly oat-y goodness in any one area. Using your hands, press down on the crumble to even it out – just like the berries, we’re trying to minimize big dips or large peaks.

Bake your crumble/crisp/cobbler magic in the oven or toaster oven at 350°F for 40 min. Increase the temperature to 375°F and bake for an additional 10 min. Remove the pan to a cooling rack/trivet and let cool for at least an hour at room temperature before digging in. Seriously. I know this is hard, I know it’s really exciting, but we want the berries and the crumble to soak up some of those juices before cutting into it. The longer you wait the better, which also makes this a perfect day-before bake. Some day, when we can have dinner parties again, this will be a great one to make the night before and wow your friends with its deliciousness.

Serve as is, or get fancy and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or – my preference – a big spoonful of coconut milk yogurt mixed with a bit of honey.

That’s it! Keep refrigerated.

I’m not sure how long this will actually hold as it’s never survived more than three days in my house.

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