Recipes, Special Diets on July 25, 2012 by

Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: Mixed Berry Crumble {Giveaway}

Learning to Bake Allergen-Free by Colette Martin is a crash course in baking without gluten, dairy, eggs, soy or nuts. This book is a packed with tips and tricks for making delicious baked goods without allergens and without compromising taste and texture. What I love about this book is the educational piece- this isn’t just a recipe book. You learn why eggs are important to recipes, then you learn how to substitute them and why you might choose one substitute over another in different applications. As anyone with food allergies or dietary restrictions can attest, one substitution solution rarely works for all recipes. Martin teaches you about the different gluten free flours available and how to mix your own flour blends or choose a premade mix that will work for your needs.

No cookbook would be complete without mouth-watering recipes and gorgeous photography, however. Martin delivers on both fronts with recipes for a variety of baked goods from flat breads and yeast-risen breads to cookie and tarts. Mixed throughout each recipe section are additional crash courses in things that pertain to those particular recipes- different sweetening options, how to proof yeast, the simple way to decorate a cake, etc.

This book is a great resource for those who want to know more about allergen-free baking. It’s not a simple cookbook, but more akin to a text book with wonderful explanations for why you should chose one ingredient over another and how to perfect (or simply fix) a certain type of dough.


The kind folks over at The Experiment Publishing sent us a copy of this book to giveaway to one lucky reader. To sweeten the deal, we’re adding in some essential ingredients for getting started with this book. In addition to this lovely book, we’re adding a package of our Gluten Free Quick Cooking Rolled Oats, a package of our Gluten Free All Purpose Flour and a package of our Gluten Free Xanthan Gum.  This would be a great thing to win if you like baking and make for a wonderful gift for someone just getting started.

To enter: Leave a comment here on the blog and tell me what your biggest challenge has been living with food allergies or diet restrictions (if you don’t have a food allergy yourself, tell me about someone you know and a challenge you’ve faced with cooking for or eating with them). We’ll pick a winner from all those who comment by 11:59 pm on 8/1/12.

Congratulations to Donna Barney!!

Mixed Berry Crumble

During the summer, fresh berries are plentiful in the Northeast; if you live near a pick-your-own farm, this is the time to stock up on berries. I freeze what I can’t use in the summer for winter pies. It really doesn’t matter which berries you choose to mix in this crumble—any combination of soft berries (e.g., blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries), or even a single berry, will do. Serve this with your favorite dairy-free ice cream.

The beauty of a crumble is that is can be served in a bowl—no need to worry about a pie crust breaking before it reaches the plate. It’s just easy and suitable for kids of all ages.

{ Makes 8 to 12 servings }

  • 5 cups Mixed Berries (see tip)
  • 2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ¼ cup Corn Starch
  • ¾ cup Light Brown Sugar
  • ¾ cup Gluten-Free Quick-Cooking Oats
  • 4 Tbsp (½ stick) Earth Balance Natural
  • Shortening, cold
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the fruit and lime juice, by hand.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and corn starch. Sprinkle it over the fruit mixture and toss to coat the fruit. Set it aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the brown sugar and oats. Break up any lumps of brown sugar.
  5. Cut the shortening into tablespoon-sized pieces. Use a pastry cutter or pastry fork to cut the shortening into the oat mixture.
  6. Spread the fruit mixture evenly in the baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle the oat mixture on top of the fruit. Use the flat side of a spoon to lightly pack the topping.
  8. Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until the fruit is bubbling around the edges.


  • If you are using strawberries, be sure to remove the stems and chop them (in half or thirds) so they are about the same size as the rest of your berries.
  • If fresh berries are not available you may use frozen (unsweetened) berries. Thaw and drain them before using.
  • This is best warm. Keep leftovers in the refrigerator and reheat for 30 seconds in a microwave.

Recipe from Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts, copyright © Colette Martin, 2012. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.


Michele says:

this recipe sounds absolutely delicious…going to have to try it…oh and please I wish to have the book…have many health issues…and I bet changing/cutting out the so called allergens (though I’m not allergic to) will definitely help in the long rung!!

Michelle says:

The biggest challenge for me in learning to bake allergen free was being able to figure out how to “bake around” the allergies I have and still make a healthy, great tasting dish. I’m allergic to dairy, gluten and eggs, and attempting to bake leaving out those ingredients has been incredibly difficult. The recipes I’ve found are either very high in fat/calories or end up tasting like dust. I want to be able to bake like I used to, but clean up the ingredients so that it’s healthy and safe.

I’m sick of hearing people say that eating healthy and allergen free means that I’m eating bland, boring food. It doesn’t mean that at all! I’ve had food from gluten and dairy free bakeries that taste just as good, and I want to have that taste and quality at home.

Karen says:

Living with Fibro after surviving Cervical Cancer has been a difficult road to travel.

Being Gluten-Free for 4 months now, has made a difference in my eating habits, and finding it very difficult to incorporate some of my favourite foods into GF. My Dr suggested GF in order to reduce some of the swelling I have that is being caused by the Fibro.

Have a wonderful day !

Ashley says:

I’ve been living with food allergies for most of my life, and have had to restrict certain things from my diet to improve my over all health. There are plenty of challenges that I have faced. I would have to say the biggest challenge is eating at other peoples houses who don’t have allergies and do not know all of mine. Also potluck type events can be difficult. A difficultly I have found with personal diet restrictions is people questioning me over and over again on what I have had to choose not to eat. Now that I have a little one and have been told not to feed her things I’m allergic to it has been a whole new challenge I make a lot of her food, but we also buy happy baby, plum organics, and earths best brand squeeze pouches and snacks for on the go and the road. This can be difficult because I have to read each label carefully before buying to make sure there isn’t something she can’t have in them. So many times the front label will say that it has certain types of fruits or what not in it and the back label will include things I wouldn’t think/expect would in them.

gail says:

biggest challenge is finding the appropriate thing to eat at restaurants

Debra Keller says:

I am a grandmother of 2 who have severe food allergies … wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, and in addition one has a grass allergy as well. Most of these allergies will likely remain with them for life. Like every grandmother I would love to spoil them with all the kid foods kids love when they come to visit. Everything we make is from scratch … eating out is not usually ever an option so treats at home become very important. We have educated the children on what they may eat and when in doubt not to eat it. They attend friends birthday parties, but with a chaperone. They are troopers. They never complain … are happy youngsters … and eat better than most other children …. meats, veggies, and fruits. Sweet treats are hard to balance in taste, texture, and getting the correct rise. I would love this book so I can “spoil” my wonderful grandchildren.

Corey says:

One of my co-workers is gluten-intolerant, allergic to eggs and soy. I also know three other people who are gluten-sensitive. I’m a baker and a giver by nature, so I’ve been trying to come up/find recipes that they can eat. It’s incredibly hard to bake for my co-workers because I have to second-guess every recipe and search for substitutes where there aren’t any- nothing can truly reproduce the leavening effect of an egg in a cake, and nearly every kind of commercial chocolate has soy in it. Despite how difficult (and expensive) baking GF cookies and cakes are, I find the substitutions are healthy and I change up my normal gluten recipes so my granola bars have mashed bananas instead of eggs or applesauce instead of oil.

manda says:

I don not have allergies but I am changing my diet for health reason. It is hard to stay true to the restrictions (though I feel noticibly worse after eating something not on the “good list”).

Maureen Williams says:

My biggest challenge is trying to find foods to feed a 19 month old. Diagnosed with a rare disease where he cannot process proteins and on top of that is allergic to all top 8 allergens. He cannot eat any grains either and no rice. Taking him anywhere is a challenge let alone traveling with foods or vacationing. My biggest challenge is trying to cook a bread without yeast or egg and getting it not to crumble and to rise!

My daughter’s boyfriend has quite an array of allergies, so it has been really difficult finding recipes for him. I am sending her this link and would love to have a copy to send her!

I want to thank you for your egg replacer product. You solved my biggest challenge.

Denise M says:

i am gluten free and the only one in my family. My biggest challenge is how to make foods gluten free that i can eat and that my family will not spit out or complain about

Dave Wagoner says:

I cook & bake for my GF girlfriend. Biggest challenge is easily making a good bread useful for sandwiches that has a good crust on it, and is fluffy. Please, anyone help me, even if I don’t win this drawing.

DeBi Tucker says:

My biggest challenge is getting others to recognize just how serious a food allergy is, and assuring my child is safe whenever we go out to eat!

The biggest challenge I face in cooking and baking is finding brands that I can truly trust to use as raw ingredients. My fiancee is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, and I’m avoiding gluten. I can’t tell you how many products I’ve come across that say “gluten free” or “nut free”, but whose manufacturing and testing standards make them unsafe for true allergy sufferers. The gluten free industry has come a long way but there is currently no nut-free industry-wide certification process.

Crystal says:

I think my biggest challenge of being allergic to gluten would be that I find it sometimes hard to cook without it. There are not a lot of places in my area that cater to people with food intolerance. Therefore I cook many and actually most of meals and I find it hard to simply eat out with my friends because they do not have food allergies. So every time my friends and I want to eat out I must always see if there are things I am able to eat on the menu.

Debbie diggs Phillips says:

Since my teen daughter was diagnosed with MS 2years ago, we embarked on a gluten-free, dairy-free, processed sugar-free diet… Quite a challenge for a family of six! BobsRed Mill has saved me countless hours with its wholesome gluten-free flour blend! I was overwhelmed with learning which were the “best” gluten-free flours to but, and this blend saved me that step!!

My biggest challenge has been learning to bake egg free so my son can enjoy the same foods as other children his age, and make the foods tasty enough that no one misses it!

Rachel Lisk says:

I have one son who has egg, dairy, soy and almond allergy to name the biggest. He is 15 months old and would eat anything. I also have a 5 year old with no food allergies. His favorite drink was always milk and yogurt a favorite snack. It has been so hard to remove these foods that can harm my youngest from our home. My older son has had to completely relearn his diet. I love this brand because the allergy free floods they make still taste good to all of us. Not just the baby. Thank goodness companies like this are around. What would we do without options for our children. Thank you for giving us some peace of mind!

danika k. says:

What a lovely giveaway! I’ve been dealing with my own food allergies for years, but it wasn’t until my son was diagnosed with severe allergies {peanut, treenut, dairy, egg, wheat, soy, corn, potato, tomatoes, tropical fruit} that cooking really became a struggle! He’s only two years old, and we’re hoping that, over time, his body will heal and not see quite so many foods as enemies! In the meantime, though, I would love this cookbook to give me ideas and inspiration in ways I can work with our limited diets to still have wonderful, tasty food. Thank you for the opportunity!

Trina says:

My biggest challenge living gluten free has been all the “hidden” glutens. It’s amazing how prevalent gluten is. I’m such a label reader now!

gaileee says:

My challenge is, my daughter is vegan, my son is lactose intolerant. Some of those things mix and some don’t. So when I make waffles/pancakes, it is rice/soy milk, no butter, no eggs. Really have to think. This cookbook will be nice to help with both the kiddos in the family, plus the rest of us going toward vegan/vegetarian life style, while one is still a carnivore!
Thanks! gaileee at yahoo dot com

Megan M. says:

We have had to avoid dairy since my son was a baby. For some reason, he just can’t tolerate it. The biggest challenge for us is finding restaurant menu items that aren’t made with butter, cream, milk, etc. Having to scour through every label at the grocery store is time consuming also, but at least I know the ingredients I’m bringing into the house!

Kelly Wyatt says:

This book looks amazing! Finally something like this is available! I have a daughter who is 3 that has some dairy intolerance and a son who is 19 months old. My son is allergic to egg, dairy, gluten, nuts and we recently added soy, melons, sunflower seeds and spinach. Every meal is a challenge! We have to do everything from scratch. I spend hours researching to find one or two recipes to try. Then I spend a lot of time with two young kids at health food stores because I don’t understand what the ingredients are that I’m buying! I’m obviously not a natural cook but I’m learning. A book like this that explains why a substitution works or doesn’t is like hearing an answer to a prayer. The cost of allergy free cooking is hard to swallow when most of what I’m making isn’t very good. At our house cooking has become extremely overwhelming and I can’t tell you how excited I am to read through this book! Thank you for developing it. Please pick our family in your give away!

Jane says:

I would like to win the cookbook to be able to help many others in my area. You see I am a baker in a small shop in southern missouri. While currently we do not offer gluten free products we do receive many requests. I can not think of a better way to help many others.

Thank you

Debra Lee says:

My biggest challenge is my time crunch. I work alot of wierd hours but I love to cook too!

Ginny says:

The most challenging part of dealing with multiple allergies and diabetes is going places (events, community activities) that only offer “regular” food products. I understand that accommodates most people, but it means we need to bring our own things-it’s not just grab amd go. It’s become easier with products like Bob’s to make things ahead of time and they are widely available. However, it is all worth it as we are healthy.

Oh, this book sounds like just what I need.

My biggest challenge is convincing my kids that GF food is as delicious as the wheat drenched food they are used to having.

Rita says:

The biggest challenge my food allergies have been so far is the cost of buying all the ingredients that are certified gluten free (flours, condiments, spices, etc), buying casein and lactose free “butters”, buying new cooking utensils, bowls, and baking dishes, and buying new cookbooks! It has definitely taken a toll on my bank account! That said, buying new cookbooks, exploring the free resources in the Internet, and learning new cooking and baking alternatives is quite fun! Before my food allergies, I never Wouk have thought it would be possible to make delicious goodies without the traditional ingredients!

Diane says:

My problem is cooking for someone with allergies, I just don’t know what to cook!

Rachel says:

I have egg allergies and it is a challenge to find many recipes that do not call for eggs cuz the egg replacer does not always help out in that kind of situation. Also my husband is a vegetarian and I love to have new recipes for him and myself. I jsut love different recipes.

Holly Thorne says:

Man…I just recently (as in the last 2 weeks) found out through my doctor that I have allergies to eggs AND casein, and I am SO lost! I have been eating oatmeal for breakfast EVERY day, and salad with chicken for lunch EVERY DAY, and chicken and rice for dinner EVERY NIGHT because I don’t know what to eat, or how to make things without eggs and dairy. I’m 34 years old, and I’m not saying you can’t teach an “old” dog new tricks, but I think it’s safe to say I need help! This book sounds AMAZING, and I know I can move forward with a smile on my face instead of dreading going to the grocery store. Please help me!!!! If I eat another flake of oats, I’m going to turn into a flake myself! 🙂

fluff says:

I don’t have any food allergens, and I don’t need the products that you’re offering here even though I’m interested. I’m responding for my cousin’s husband, who just recently started a gluten free diet due to his allergy. He and my cousin are having their third child as I sit and post this (well as far as I know, her water broke 2 hours ago). Having three children can be a real financial struggle, and eating gluten free can be expensive at times they say. I thought this would be a great gift to welcome their child and also help them save a few pennies because right now they need it most. Not to mention he (AJ is his name) is a very thin man and he was told he wasn’t allowed to work out because he couldn’t eat a lot of carbs to compensate. Perhaps the tips in this book would help him out. Keeping my fingers crossed! And congrats to them both!

Michelle says:

Biggest challenge is knowing what to substitute in traditional recipes.

Viki Brookover says:

My biggest challenge is finding anything I can bake that has flavor and is gluten free. I’m new to the gluten free baking and would love to have something I can bake and take to a family potluck that they would love and when they taste it I can say oh it’s GLUTEN FREE!!!!!!

Dawn Moore says:

This recipe sounds amazing! My 5 year old son is allergic to dairy, eggs and tree nuts so baking anything allergy-friendly AND delicious has been a real challenge for me. I would love some pointers and great new recipes!!

Donna Barney says:

I’ve been gluten free for nearly 20 years and now lactose free as well. The biggest challenges are still eating out, either at restaurants or friends’ homes, and trying to come up with inexpensive, allergen free recipes for potlucks.

Deverie says:

Our challenge is eating out and making sure restaurants realize that my son will get severely ill if he consumes gluten. We only eat out once or twice a month, and we just ask lots of questions wherever we go.

Chelsea b says:

We have a hard time figuring out what the allergen is. We think we know and then have symptoms. It’s been especially challenging for our toddler.

Karen says:

The biggest challenge with living gluten free is having foods we can eat and afford. 3 people in my household have to avoid gluten and although there are plenty of gluten free foods out there, the baked goods that the kids love are not. The ingredients required to make the texture the same as gluten containing foods are very expensive as are any packaged products we can have.

Christina B says:

Feeding a family when not everyone needs to be gluten free.

Our biggest challenge has been baking and cooking without dairy. There are lots of dairy substitutes on the market, but they don’t have the same taste as real butter, real yogurt, etc. (So maybe our challenge is adjusting to the taste?) I’d love to try recipes that are made to be dairy free on purpose (instead of just substituting), and see what they’re all about.

Lori says:

My biggest challenge is eating out. the best thing that’s come out of all the allergies/intolerances that I have is that we eat whole foods and we have a much wider variety and making food from scratch is so much better and healthier for us – I know exactly what we are eating!

Cathy says:

Our biggest challenge is keeping our son from sneaking food at other people’s houses.

Kenneth Hoskin says:

We have several gluten and peanut sensitive people in our Bible study group. I like to prepare gluten free deserts, but my imagination limits me to almond flour crusts. This book will give me better ideas and reasons on gluten free baking for our friends.

My biggest challenge cooking allergen free has been finding more and more foods that I am allergic to. From the time I was an infant to the time I was 20 years old, I was misdiagnosed and dealt with copious amounts of then unexplained symptoms and health scares. The doctors told my parents at age 2 that I had a problem with wheat/gluten but that I would grow out of it. I never did, and ended up finally getting a conclusive diagnosis of Celiac Disease at age 20. After this, my health improved, but later found that I was reacting severely to many other foods. I have a life threatening allergy to Soy, Peanuts, and all things in the Legumes family (all beans, pea, lentils, etc). I also react to eggs (and meat) that have been raised on a soy-fed diet, so I only buy soy free eggs occassionally. This can make baking seem difficult at times, but it really is so much fun to experiment in the kitchen. And it’s even more fun to finally be diagnosed and be fully healthy for the first time in my life. This whole experience led me to develop my own blog for helping others live fully with multiple food allergies. I’d love another resource to go off of to not only help develop my skills, but that I can recommend on my blog as a resource for others.

Monica says:

Dining out or eating at someone else’s house. I always take my own food. Too many people do not understand it is not a diet or fad but a medically necessary diet. I have often heard “a little bit won’t hurt” or “oh your still on that.” But a little bit will hurt, alot!

Adrienne says:

My biggest challenge has been creating something that my (GF, DF, no egg, low soy) kids’ friends will gladly eat. Though my kids have been eating mindfully for years their friends continue to sample and reject the baked goods that we eat. I’d really like help making things that have a softer texture and are pleasing to look at.

Allie says:

The hardest part about my many food sensitivites and celiac disease is how it effects my relationships with other people. People don’t realize it, but food is a big part of life! Not being able to eat with other people and share foods has been hard, and since I am still learning how to bake and cook around the foods I can’t eat, most of the stuff I make is really just gross.

Ruthann Biel says:

I have 26 food allergies. Some days I cope well. Some days it feels oppressive. I would like to understand better how to cook without eggs. (Side note: I am surprised that the above recipe includes corn starch, since corn is a high allergen.)

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