I awoke yesterday to a very distraught little girl pleading with me to let her stay home from school. “My tummy really, really hurts mum”, she said.
There have been all sorts of nasty bugs doing the rounds lately and even though Ada has a bad habit of saying something hurts on a daily basis, for some reason her tears seemed much more genuine than usual and I found myself telling her she could have the day off at home with me. We dropped Kye off at kindy and just like magic Ada perked up, tears disappeared and any hint of that sore tummy were long forgotten. I’d totally been conned.
It’s been a long term at school and we’re nearing the end of it with only one week to go until the holidays start. It’s not very often that Ada and I get to spend time alone without her brother around, so conned or not, I didn’t mind letting her spend the day at home, call it a mental health day if you will. Because even if the sore tummy was not real, I know her poor little body and mind could do with a day off. It’s been such a big year.
So we baked. Ada ran to her closet to grab her gorgeous new apron, a handmade gift from my clever sister that’s as pretty as a dress. She pulled up her chair and helped cut the butter. I showed her how long to pulse the flour and butter “see, you want just teeny bits of butter left in there love, these will melt when the pastry cooks and will create lovely little pockets of flaky goodness. Just like we want”. She smiled and gave me a hug.
We made pandowdy, a smashed-pie-like dessert which originates from America’s deep south. Kinda pie like in it’s method, the filling is piled up under a sheet of rich cookie-like pastry which bakes to golden perfection. Later comes the fun bit when you then smash the pastry to encourage the filling to bubble up and over the top, leaving some pieces of pastry crisp while others soften from the fruit juices. Rustic, gorgeous, insanely delicious and totally my kinda dessert.
gluten-free apple berry pandowdy
You will need to start this recipe a day ahead to allow time for your yoghurt to drain. Just a note on using frozen berries; check on the label where the berries are from. I stopped buying them after discovering that most of the store bought ones are from places as far afield as China and Peru. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy eating berries grown overseas where we have no idea of the standards in which they are grown in. Buy locally grown or pay that little bit extra to buy organic ones. Even better, do what I do and when berries are in season buy up loads and freeze them yourself for use later on in the year. In NZ it’s easy to buy NZ grown berries, but for some reason over here in Australia I’m yet to find any? I’ve been meaning to write to the big supermarkets here and ask why…
- 1 cup (120g) fine brown rice flour
- 1/2 cup (70g) fine millet flour
- 1/2 cup (55g) almond meal (ground almonds)
- 2 tablespoon gluten-free cornflour (corn starch)
- 1/4 cup (40g) blitzed raw sugar* or any other fine grain sugar
- good pinch fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, optional
- finely grated zest 1 lemon
- 140g cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 1/2 cup (100g) labne (strained yoghurt)**
- 4 each of granny smith and pink lady apples, peeled, cored and cut into eights
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornflour (corn starch)
- 1 1/2 ups frozen mixed berries ~see headnotes
- juice 2 mandarins
- finely grated zest 1 lemon
- raw sugar, to scatter
- pure icing sugar (powdered), to dust, optional
- cream or coconut cream to serve, optional
To make labne pastry, place brown rice flour, millet flour, almond meal, cornflour, sugar and salt into food processor, pulse to combine. Add vanilla bean paste, lemon zest and butter and pulse a few times until just small lumps of butter remain. Add labne and pulse until just combined. Turn out onto a clean bench and knead a few times until dough comes together. Form into a flat disc, wrap in a plastic bag and chill in the fridge for an hour.
Preheat oven to 200C/395F. To prepare the filling, place cut apples into a medium bowl. Combine raw sugar and cornflour then add to the apples along with the berries, mandarin juice and lemon zest. Mix thoroughly. Turn out into a 23cm diameter, 5cm deep pie dish. Brush the edges of the dish with a little water to help the pastry stick. Roll out pastry on a piece of baking paper until 4mm thick. Using the paper, invert the pastry onto the filling and press down the edges to stick. Trim edges off with a sharp knife (save them to bake off later as cookies). Brush top of pastry with a little water and sprinkle with raw sugar. Cut a little hole in the top to let the steam out and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from the oven and using a fork make a few good big cuts in the top of the pastry, pressing down a little to encourage the filling to rise up and over the top. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 20-25 minutes or until top is golden. Dust with icing (powdered) sugar and serve with a drizzle or cream or coconut cream.
* Instead of using caster sugar I like to use organic raw sugar which I blitz to a fine powder in my upright blender. You could use any fine grain sugar you like.
** To make labne (strained yoghurt) place about 1 1/2 cups of natural plain yoghurt into a fine mesh sieve over a bowl or square of muslin, tied up and suspended over a bowl overnight in the fridge. Tip out the collected whey in the bowl periodically or save to add to smoothies or bread dough. The next day you will be left with a lovely thick strained yoghurt, which can then be used in this recipe or stored for later use.
Inspired by this recipe from Australian Gourmet Traveller.