Like an upside down deep-dish pie, this easy gluten free blueberry cobbler has a thick gf pastry crust baked to perfection on top of lots of fresh or frozen blueberries.
What makes this gf blueberry cobbler special?
Fruit cobblers, in general, are sort of like upside-down pies. But when you make a pie upside down, it's much easier and less precious for a couple of reasons.
First, the pastry crust is exposed more readily to the heat of the oven, so it's almost guaranteed to bake properly (provided it's cold and not overworked). When you bake a pie crust underneath fruity liquids like those these blueberries release during baking, it can be harder to get it crisp and browned without risk of burning.
Second, the same amount of crust works for nearly any size baking dish. If you'd like to use a deep 9-inch square baking dish instead of a 9-inch x 12-inch dish, you can simply make a thicker crust that takes a few more minutes to bake all the way through.
Cobbler recipes are pretty adaptable, too. In fact, you can make this recipe with another berry, like raspberries, as they'll both cook at about the same rate, and give off about the same liquid.
Strawberries have more water, so they likely would require more tweaking to the filling recipe. Stone fruits, like peaches and nectarines, must be handled differently since they take longer to bake. For that, try our recipe for gluten free peach cobbler.
Alternative pastry topping techniques
If you're intimidated by the idea of rolling out pastry crust, maybe you feel more comfortable with something smaller. Try making this gluten free blueberry cobbler by shaping the crust into biscuits or even placing it in dollops on top of the raw, prepared filling in the dish.
The pastry topping recipe makes a slightly more wet dough than I would use as a traditional gluten free pie crust. It can still be shaped into rounds like biscuits.
To make a biscuit shape, just roll the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle, cut rounds, and place them on top. You can also just scoop mounds of the pastry dough and place them on top. If you're looking for a nubbier topping, try our master gluten free berry crumble recipe.
Just space them evenly, either way. The baking time may need to be increased a bit, though, because the dough will be thicker. And the filling may splatter during baking a bit.
Is it better to use fresh or frozen blueberries?
If you're making this blueberry cobbler any time other than the height of blueberry season (for me in NY, that's the height of the summer months), I really recommend using frozen berries. Frozen fruit is picked at the height of ripeness, and perfectly preserved until you're ready for it.
If you do use frozen berries, be sure they're the full-sized variety. The miniature ones are delicious, but they'll melt into more of a smooth sauce in the oven.
You'll know if your fresh blueberries are cobbler-worthy if they taste relatively sweet and smooth inside. I find that, in the off-season for blueberries, they tend to have a bit of a chewy texture.
If the berries don't have the best texture before baking, they tend to retain some of that unpleasant chew even after they've softened during baking.
Ingredients and substitutions
There are different types of dairy in all parts of this recipe. Let's take the one at a time.
For the butter in the pastry topping, filling, and for brushing on top, you can try replacing it with Melt or Miyoko's Kitchen brand vegan butter.
You can also try using shortening, but you can't shred it, so you'll have to add it in small pieces as best you can. I like Spectrum brand nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening.
For the buttermilk in the pastry topping, you can use my favorite buttermilk replacement: 1/2 plain yogurt (nondairy or dairy) by volume, 1/2 unsweetened milk (nondairy or dairy) by volume.
You need a gluten free flour blend with xanthan gum in the pastry topping, for it to hold together properly. If you can't have cornstarch, try arrowroot. If you're using a starchy all purpose flour, like (mock) Cup4Cup, in place of the starch, use more of your all purpose flour.
For the flour blend in the filling, I really prefer to use our gum-free flour, since it doesn't allow the liquid to separate in the filling like cornstarch does, even as it cools. In its place, you can try using just tapioca starch or just superfine sweet (a.k.a. glutinous) white rice flour.
Gluten Free Blueberry Cobbler
For the pastry topping
1 1/3 cups (187 g) all purpose gluten free flour (I used Better Batter), plus more for sprinkling
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if your blend already contains it)
3 tablespoons (27 g) cornstarch (See Recipe Notes)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup (50 g) granulated sugar
6 tablespoons (84 g) unsalted butter, chilled and grated on a medium box grater
3/4 cup (6 fluid ounces) buttermilk, chilled
For the blueberries
2 pounds (about 4 cups) fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (36 g) basic gum-free gluten free flour (See Recipe Notes)
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (28 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon (14 g) unsalted butter, melted with (optional) 1 tablespoon (21 g) pure maple syrup
For the cornstarch
If you can’t have cornstarch, try arrowroot. If you are using a starchy all purpose flour, like Cup4Cup, in place of the starch, use more of your all purpose flour.
For the gum-free flour in the filling
I prefer this gum-free flour in the filling to cornstarch, since it doesn’t allow the liquid to separate in the filling, even as it cools. In place of the gum-free blend, you can try using just tapioca starch or just superfine sweet (a.k.a. glutinous) white rice flour.
Preheat your oven to 375°F. Grease an 9-inch x 12-inch x 2.5-inch baking dish lightly and set it aside. I used an oval dish, but a rectangular dish works fine.
To make the pastry dough, in a large bowl, place the flour, xanthan gum, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar, and whisk to combine well.
Add the grated butter, and toss to combine, flattening any large clumps of butter. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined.
Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, press together and wrap tightly. Refrigerate the pastry dough for at least 10 minutes and up to 5 days.
Remove the chilled pastry dough from the refrigerator and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle it lightly with more flour and roll out into a rectangle that is similar in size and shape to your baking dish.
Place the shaped pastry on a flat surface and then in the freezer to chill while you prepare the filling.
To prepare the filling, in a large bowl, place the blueberries, sugar, flour blend, salt, and (optional) cinnamon, and toss to combine. Add the vanilla extract and melted butter, and toss to combine completely. Transfer the blueberry mixture to the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer.
Remove the pastry topping from the freezer. To allow steam to escape during baking, cut out a 1/2-inch square or other shape in the very center of the dough. I like to bake the cutout piece, too, just not on top of the cobbler.
Lift the shaped pastry topping and place it on top of the blueberries in the baking dish. Tuck any excess crust that extends over the sides of the baking dish in, and pinch to secure it.
Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, brush the top evenly with the melted butter (and optional maple syrup) mixture, and return to the oven to finish baking (about 25 minutes).
The cobbler is done when the filling is bubbling, the blueberries are fork-tender, and the top is golden brown all over. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.