I made this gluten free apple and pear cobbler for Lucas. Who is Lucas, you ask? Lucas is my cousin. I was 18 when Carson was born, and 20 when Lucas was born. For a time I helped my aunt out a few days a week with both the boys.
My favorite memory of Lucas and me together was when he was just 8 months old. I fed him his bottle, and then was singing him one of my favorite Disney songs as we rocked together. He was soon fast asleep, and successfully moved to his crib. But there’s nothing like the sweet moments of rocking a baby who’s ready to nap.
Lucas is 10 now, and the spitting image of my uncle, Mark. His blond hair has only just started to darken, the same way both my uncles’ did when they were young. He’s a beautiful, bright boy with limitless possibilities. He also has autism.
One thing that has helped Lucas to be better focused and healthier is to have a gluten free, dairy free diet. I’m sorry to admit that for a long time, I’ve allowed that to intimidate me enough not to cook for Lucas. I cook for everyone else in my family, but I was scared that what I might try to make would hurt Luke more than help him, so I just didn’t.
Enter Shauna, Danny, and Lucy Ahern. I’ve had the chance to talk to Shauna via Twitter, and Lucy was a fixture at BlogHerFood 10 that I most enjoyed seeing. And seeing how joyously, how freely and simply they live gluten free inspired me.
When Shauna asked a bunch of bloggers to take the Gluten-Free challenge, and try to make or bake a recipe using all gluten-free ingredients, I knew it was time to get past my fears. Below you will find a slightly altered version of Shauna’s Gluten-Free Apple and Pear cobbler. Because Lucas is also dairy-free, I omitted the butter and sour cream, and substituted vegan options.
I took the cobbler to a potluck dinner that included all food bloggers, both gluten free and not. Everyone gave the cobbler a resounding approval. It’s pretty delicious. But then, it’s Shauna and Danny’s recipe, so that was kind of already guaranteed. I’ll be making this for Lucas this Thanksgiving, the first time any of us besides his parents have cooked him food for a holiday.
Where you should take note is that this novice was able to bake with gluten free flours for the very first time – and it was successful. Wildly successful!
Shauna and Danny (and well, let’s be honest, I’m pretty sure Lucy was pretty influential) wrote a book, called Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. It’s based on Shauna’s blog, Gluten Free Girl, and it is as much a love story as it is a cookbook.
The book has already made it onto my Christmas shopping list for several friends and family, both gluten free and not. The story alone is worth the purchase. Just knowing that the kind of love that Shauna and Danny share exists in the world – is enough.
Make this cobbler for someone you love. Try something new. Try something that scares you. Because when you conquer it – when you conquer it for someone you love, the feeling is immeasurable.
Apple & Pear Cobbler
Gluten Free and Vegan, adapted from Gluten Free Girl and the Chef
2 c. King Arthur Flour gluten-free all purpose flour
1 tsp iodized salt
4 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 6 oz container of vanilla flavored coconut milk yogurt
4 tbsp chilled, cubed butter flavored vegetable shortening
Combine the flour with the salt, sugar, cardamom and cloves. Cut the pieces of shortening into the flour or use a food processor to pulse together until the mixture comes together with the texture of coarse cornmeal. Pour in the coconut milk yogurt, stirring with a rubber spatula. Stir until just combined, but do not overmix.
Cut two pieces of parchment paper to the size of your baking pan. Place the ball of dough between the two sheets of parchment paper, and then roll out into a rectangle the size and shape of your parchment – do this gently or your dough will turn out tough. Slide a thin plastic chopping sheet under the parchment, then slide into the refrigerator and let chill while you make the cobbler filling.
Apple and Pear cobbler filling
2 lbs. fresh apples (I used Organic Granny Smith)
2 lbs. Bartlett pears
1 c. fresh cranberries
Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375F.
Peel, core, and dice the apples and pears. Add in fresh cranberries, then toss all with lemon juice and zest. Sprinkle sugar, cloves, and cinnamon on top, then splash vanilla extract over the top. Stir everything together until well distributed.
Remove the dough from the fridge, and place it on top of the fruit. Place in the oven and back for 35 to 45 minutes. When the cobbler feels firm to the touch and the fruit is bubbling around the edge of the pan, you’re ready to go.
Let it cool, and then, to quote Shauna, “then eat, with great gusto”.
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