Have you seen Dorie Greenspan's latest cookbook-- Dorie's Cookies? It's one of those cookbooks that I coveted at the library, checked it out (and renewed and renewed), and then decided to treat myself on my birthday and actually bought it. It's a BIG book, but there are so many amazing cookie recipes in there. And, so many that look fairly easy to convert to gluten-free. I'm basically counting down the days until cookie baking season. I mean, just listen to the names of these cookies... "Sesame-Sea Salt," "Mocha-Ricotta Puffs," "Pecan-Brown Sugar Crack-Ups," and "Cabin-Fever Caramel Banana Bars."
To be honest though, these all seemed sort of heavy given the season. When I first made these Gluten-Free Cornmeal-Crusted Blueberry-Buttermilk Pie Bars, our family was overwhelmed with blueberries from our CSA, so I was searching for blueberry recipes. And, let me tell you, this is a great recipe to enjoy your blueberry bounty.
I followed Dorie's recipe fairly exactly, just subbed my gluten-free flour blend in 1:1. (I actually just discovered her website and she even has a lot of GF recipes!) I suppose this could be a dessert, but it makes an amazing breakfast treat. It would be great for a summer brunch-- use a fork and enjoy with coffee & fresh squeezed OJ. That sounds like vacation.
gluten-free blueberry-buttermilk pie bars, (makes 8" square "pie")
- FOR THE CRUST
- 3/4 CUP (102g) gluten-free flour blend, be sure it has xanthan gum in it
- 1/3 cup (67g) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (33g) fine cornmeal
- 2 TBSPs cornstarch
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 8 TBSPs cold unsalted butter, sliced into 8 pieces
- FOR THE TOPPING
- 1.5 TBSPs cornstarch
- 1.5 cups full-fat buttermilk
- 4 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 2 TBSPs unsalted butter, melted & cooled
- 1 cup (150g) fresh blueberries
This recipe is a double-bake recipe. Is that a word? Not sure, but what I mean is that you'll bake the bottom crust, add some toppings, and then bake again. The bake that happens first is the cornmeal crust. To make the crust, pulse gluten-free flour, cornmeal, cornstarch and salt in your food processor. Add sliced & chilled butter and continue to pulse until the dough begins to come together. Don't pulse until it forms a ball, just until it forms small clumps. Turn the dough out into an 8" square baking pan, using your fingers to press it evenly into the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for 15-30 minutes.
Move rack to the middle of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. After the crust has rested in the fridge for 15-30 minutes and oven has come to temperature, remove plastic wrap and bake crust 20-25 minutes. Check after 15 minutes and rotate pan, baking until crust is golden brown. You want to be sure that the crust is fully-baked, so feel free to err on the side of more golden than less golden.
Once fully-baked, remove crust and let cool completely on a rack. Leave your oven on, still set at 350 while the crust cools. Meanwhile, it's time to make the blueberry buttermilk topping. Begin by melting butter and setting it aside to cool. Add cornstarch to a small bowl and stir in 1/4 cup of buttermilk until a thickened slurry forms. In a separate bowl and using a whisk, vigorously mix your eggs until they are foamy. Add sugar and continue to whisk. (Your arm will get tired.) Next, whisk in salt & vanilla extract, finally whisking in the cornstarch-buttermilk slurry. Once it is fully-combined, gently stir in remaining 1.25 cups buttermilk and the melted, cooled butter.
Evenly spread fresh blueberries over the top of the cornmeal crust. Pour buttermilk topping over blueberries and crust. Your blueberries will be swimming in buttermilk and that's the way it should be. Place cake pan back in oven and bake 40-45 minutes, rotating half-way through the bake time. Bake until the topping's center is fully-puffed up and the bars are firm and brown around the edges.
Remove bars from the oven and let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Carefully remove bars from the baking dish by running a table knife around the edges of the baking dish. Place a rack over the top of your baking dish and gently flip bars out of dish. Cover with a second cooling rack and gently flip bars back over so they are right-side up. (Alternately, you could bake with a parchment sling from the very start, almost as if you're making brownies.) Let bars cool to room temperature and cut into squares when ready to serve.