A super-simple fruit crisp recipe made with rolled oats, pecans, and maple-syrup that’s naturally gluten-free and kissed with the zing of fresh ginger. Adapted from Gluten-Free for Good by Samantha Seneviratne.
This recipe comes from a beautiful new book by one of my favorite authors Sam Seneviratne. Sam wrote and styled The New Sugar and Spice, from whence came these delectable flans. She also contributes recipes to The New York Times (which are crazy good and which Sarah and I have had the pleasure of styling!) Her new book Gluten-Free for Good: Simple, Wholesome Recipes Made from Scratch is a total gem. And we’re giving away copies of Gluten-Free for Good and Alternative Baker today! See below for details.
But first, a wee rant.
When I was doing research for my book proposal, I came upon a lovely looking book on Amazon which had a poor rating. The book came from the UK, thus it only had a handful of reviews, one of them with only one star. As I read the review, it became clear that the reviewer had made an error that he then blamed on the cookbook author. “A cake recipe called for polenta, but the polenta was listed with the dry ingredients, which was wrong. I used the pre-cooked polenta in a tube. The cake batter was too wet and never baked – it was disgusting. This book stinks.”
I wanted to grab that reviewer by his ignorant shoulders and scream “Polenta IS a dry ingredient, you moron! Only an idiot would buy precooked polenta in a tube to put in a cake when it was clearly listed as a dry ingredient. The book is fine – you’re the one who stinks!” The fact that the review remained up, tarnishing the rating of the book, seemed a gross injustice.
I realized then that, should I ever be fortunate enough to publish my own book, I’d need to toughen up and be ready for annoying Amazon reviews (and take up kickboxing to get out my aggression, clearly).
“Don’t read the Amazon reviews,” more than one cookbook author warned me. But did I listen? I was thrilled to get my first positive reviews, calling Alternative Baker “My Baking Bible,” “utterly gorgeous” and full of “jaw-dropping photographs, meticulously crafted recipes, easy-to-follow instructions, and tasty results.” I was thrilled! Maybe I would manage to dodge psycho reviewers after all.
Alas, I was as naive as an inexperienced baker buying polenta for the first time. The first annoying review came in the other day, complete with 3 stars. “I guess there wasn’t enough info when I ordered this. It seems every recipe I have looked at uses dairy. It’s just Gluten free. Bummer, I will have to give it away.” I found this incredibly frustrating because 1) there are several recipes in the book that are dairy-free, including 4 that are completely vegan, and vegan crust options for both the pie and tart sections that make it easy to convert those recipes to being dairy-free, and 2) nowhere does the book claim to be dairy-free, so there was no need for the reviewer to slam my book for their own mistake in purchasing a book that didn’t meet their dietary needs.
I took some deep breaths, visualized floating down a quiet stream with the breeze in my hair and no pesky vegans, then wrote a (hopefully) calm and kind note back to the reviewer letting them know about the dairy-free recipes in the book, and explaining my rationale for including dairy in the recipes. Since the book already asks for 14 different flours, and many recipes are made with highly seasonal fruit, I wanted to keep the other ingredients as accessible and familiar as possible. I was also careful to keep plenty of nut-free options in the book, since many GF baking books use a lot of almond flour that can be difficult to substitute out for allergies, and I even included some naturally-sweetened recipes.
Luckily, all was not lost. Some kind soul also saw the reviewer’s rating as unfair, and replied, “Like you I’m gluten and dairy free so I know it’s hard to find recipe books that accommodate that. I haven’t seen this particular book but from the cover and description it simply says ‘gluten free’ and makes no claims to be dairy free so I think your three star review is perhaps a little unfair? Most gluten free recipe books (unless they state otherwise) will use dairy, you just need to look out for that.”
Speaking of books that are gluten-free but full of (some) delicious dairy, I’m currently obsessed with Gluten-Free for Good by Samantha Seneviratne. Like me, Sam isn’t 100% gluten-free, but her love of cooking and baking for everyone she knows drove her to rock some deliriously good GF recipes. The book is filled with stunning photos and streamlined, everyday fare, from breakfast through to dessert, all loaded with vibrant colors and flavors. Sam’s baking recipes all use alternative grains and flours rather than relying on pre-fab baking mixes, and most recipes are free from gums as well, using psyllium powder instead. The book is mostly vegetarian, and it even has some dairy-free and vegan options. Paging through the book makes we want to run to the kitchen and cook every time I open it up. Which is a lot.
Sam’s Pear and Ginger Crisp exemplifies the recipes in GF for Good, with easy-to-source ingredients, a seasonal fruit base, streamlined instructions, and clean flavors. I added blackberries this time around, but the recipe is just as good without (and I bet pomegranate, cranberries, or poached quince could be tasty, as well). A dose of fresh ginger adds zing and acidity to the filling – just pears, maple syrup, and a little cornstarch. The topping is simply oats, nuts, brown sugar, butter, and just the right level of salt, and it bakes up into a topping that reminds me a bit of tender, clustery granola. In fact, this crisp works as well for breakfast with plain yogurt as it does for dessert with ice cream. I’m especially glad to have this recipe in my arsenal for when I don’t have a pantry full of alternative flours at hand.
I’ve made this crisp twice, and Sam’s hazelnut flour scones (they’re super addictive), and I have a ton of other recipes bookmarked, including:
- Sweet Potato Spinach Hash
- A Simple Loaf of Bread
- perfect looking Cinnamon Buns
- Smoked Gouda Grits with Eggs and Arugula
- Creamy Breakfast Quinoa with Roasted Strawberries
- Roasted Kabocha Squash Soup with Gomasio
- Red Quinoa and Brussels Sprout Salad
- Rosemary Amaranth Crisps
and loads more. Gluten-Free for Good gets five stars from this reviewer!
TO ENTER: Leave a comment below about your favorite seasonal fruit dessert OR a recipe you’d like to find a good gluten-free version of.
THE DETAILS: Open to residents in the U.S. and Canada. Giveaway will run from Thursday, October 12th through Wednesday, October 19th, 2016. Winners will be notified by email by Sunday, October 23rd.
- 1 ¾ pounds firm-ripe pears (such as Bartlett; about 4 medium)
- 12 ounces ripe blackberries, halved if large
- ¼ cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
- 1 ½ tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup (90 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (GF if needed)
- ¾ cup (80 g) chopped pecans
- ¼ cup packed (55 g) light or dark brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea or kosher salt
- 4 tablespoons (56 g) unsalted butter, softened
- ice cream, for serving
- Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
- In a large bowl, toss together the pears, blackberries, maple syrup, ginger, and cornstarch until well-combined. Scrape into an 8x8” pan or the equivalent.
- In another large bowl, combine the oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt, and butter, rubbing the butter with your fingers until the mixture forms large clumps. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit. Bake the crisp until the top is deeply golden and the fruit is bubbling, 35-45 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve warm, with a scoop of ice cream if you like.