Creating New Gluten-Free Recipes: The Fruit Cobbler Experiment
Updated: Feb 8
Lots of people ask me how I create my easy, tasty, gluten-free recipes. Well, I'm in the process of creating one right now, so I'll let you in on how it works.
I need a goal, some inspiration, honest tasters and time.
This recipe began with a bunch of unwanted fruit in the refrigerator. Does that ever happen in your house? For whatever reason, I lost interest in eating more. But I hate seeing perfectly good food go to waste, so I needed to do something with it. That was my goal.
I started by thinking about the ingredients. Grapes, cherries and blueberries. What spices worked with all of them? Cinnamon and cardamom came to mind. Hmm, write that idea down.
For a place to start, I asked myself, "What's easy and delicious and made with fruit?" The answer? "Apple cobbler!" Cherries and blueberries work in cobblers too. A quick Google search assured me that yes, people made tarts, pies and even crumbles out of grapes. And an idea was born: mixed fruit cobbler!
I looked in my recipes for a reliable gluten-free base to build on. My cherry cobbler recipe is super-easy, so I used that. The batter is butter, rice flour, sweet rice flour, sugar and water. I changed the water to apple juice (mostly because I had some in the refrigerator). Here's a picture of the ingredients:
I mixed it into a smooth batter and spread it in the pan. I used a metal pan because it was the right size to hold all the fruit. Here's the batter in the pan:
The Assembly Line
Time to put it all together. I took the pits out of the cherries, checked the grapes for stems, and picked out the wrinkled blueberries, then dumped all the fruit on top of the batter. I poured in a little bit more apple juice, and sprinkled the top with cinnamon sugar.
And I forgot to take a picture at this stage. Sorry about that. It's been busy around here.
The moment of truth
After 45 minutes in the oven I had a cobbler. It looked pretty good, even if the grapes looked a little strange. And it smelled really tasty. I served it for dessert that night.
The verdict? It wasn't perfect, but for a first try it was more than OK. My tasters liked the flavor. I thought the middle wasn't firm enough; I need to either reduce the liquid or change the baking time or temperature. Certainly it was good enough to keep trying. I love turning a problem (unwanted mixed fruit) into a success!
The Secret to Recipe Success
The last step is to keep refining the recipe. And the secret to doing that well is to only change one thing at a time. My next step will be to use less apple juice. I will try using a silicon bake form ( I love silicon). I may use the same metal pan at a lower temperature for a longer time.
The whole process usually takes me 4 or 5 tries until I hit on one that I really like. Then I make it a few more times, to see how reliable and forgiving it is. Each time, I ask my tasters for feedback and adjust accordingly. The whole process might take up to a year before I have something that I consider delicious, easy and reliable enough for anyone.
I'll keep working on this fruit cobbler for now. Stay tuned for updates...
For recipes that have already been tested and proven click here.