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.


JJ says:

Several members of my family are both GF and vegan. Biggest challenge was to provide some really good-looking, great-tasting, GF vegan cupcakes for my son’s wedding. But it turned out to actually be easy: I used Bobs Red Mill GF cake mix made with the vegan option that’s included in the package directions. Baked in mini muffin pans and piped on vegan “buttercream” frosting. Everyone loved them.

Karen says:

A big challenge for me has been not sacrificing my beloved hobby of baking for the slew of dietary adjustments I have been experimenting with due to Crohn’s disease. And not driving my partner crazy every time I throw out a failed batch of the newest baking experiment… rubbery textures, bitter flavors, crumbly in a not-so-good way, undercooked but blackening on the outside, etc. The list goes on. There are so many books to help with allergen free baking but it’s difficult to know where to start or how I’ll ever make something as good as those cover photos!

Linda Metters says:

Pastry and crunchy cookies are impossible to make as I am diabetic have Coronary disease and many food intolerences and allergies. I should not eat simple sugar, dairy,eggs nor any fat, including ‘good for you’. Many GF recipes have soy,dairy,or fat in the ingredients. It seems substitutes make the results soft and/or crumbly.

Emily says:

My partner has a GI disease which has forced her to eliminate many things from her diet she used to love (dairy, gluten and sugar). Over the past several months we have tried numerous sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free,etc. recipes and most of them have left us feeling greatly disappointed as we are left with burnt, flat, and tasteless crumbles that look nothing like a delectable dessert. I am worried that we will not be able to regain that magical feeling when one opens the oven door to find a beautifully fluffy and lightly toasted cookie just waiting to be devoured…. Please help bring that sexy baking spark back to our relationship!

fran says:

I am allergic to wheat, rye, barley and rice…so may of the premade prodcut for “gluten Free” pull the wheaat and in goes the rice..cost is also a major factor.

katherine d. says:

I can’t consume dairy or soy – so I had to learn how to prepare all my food fresh and homemade. It’s amazing just how may store-brought products have soy in them!

katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

Christina S. says:

I just found out that gluten and dairy are off limits to me. Being an avid baker (bread, cakes, you name it) I was distraught to have to abandon most of the food that my family and I have loved for so long. So, starting from scratch I’m trying to figure out how to continue to have natural homemade food, but without the gluten and dairy. Let the learning begin!

Emma says:

I’m newly diagnosed with Celiac. My biggest challenge will be cleaning out my pantry and figuring out how to manage my dietary needs and feed my non CD husband and kids.

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