In case you haven’t already figured it out, I love to bake. It’s a relaxing way to spend my evening, just mixing together ingredients and coming out with something delicious to enjoy. And people love home baked goods, which makes it even better. Bringing a chocolate cake to work or dropping off cookies to a friend who’s just had a baby makes people happy and that makes me happy.
However, I now have quite a few friends who can’t eat gluten, and that makes bringing treats difficult. Most desserts are made with flour. So this year I’ve started looking out for desserts to bake for my gluten-free friends. And that’s when I discovered almond meal. It’s finely ground almonds (before they turn into almond butter) and it behaves somewhat like flour. I wouldn’t suggest making a whole cake with it, but for things like crisps or some cookies, it works wonders. You can find it at Bulk Barn and likely health food places (although, as soon as I found it at Bulk Barn, I didn’t bother looking elsewhere).
Now, about this crisp. When I decided to make it, I had a bag of frozen mixed berries just begging to be used. However, I had no pecans, so I substituted the mixed nuts we had. Although it tasted great, almonds and macadamia nuts are a bit crunchy, so I suggest sticking to pecans or walnuts. No matter what nuts you put in, though, this turns out super delicious. In fact, I ate it too quickly to take a picture of a bowl of food. The topping doesn’t stick together the same way my apple crisp topping does, so in a bowl it doesn’t look amazing, but trust me, you will enjoy eating it. And my gluten-free taste-tasting friend loved it too!
Berry Crisp (from Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist)
Serves 4-8, depending on how good you are with sharing!
What you need:
4 cups fresh or frozen berries
1 cup large flake oats
1/2 cup unsalted pecans, halved or chopped
1/2 cup almond meal
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
What to do:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place the berries in the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch square pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pecans, almond meal, syrup, oil and salt. Spread this on top of the berries.
Bake for 35-40 minutes (longer if the berries are frozen) until fruit is bubbling and the topping is crisp and golden.
Serve for breakfast with a little yogurt or dessert with some ice cream. It’s also great just plain!