I’d like to start by saying that I don’t consider this a pie. Not even really close, actually. It’s definitely more of a cobbler, but my grandmother and mother always called it a pie, and swore that it was, in fact, the best pie recipe ever. I think that this may have something to do with the simplicity of the recipe, one that my grandmother came up with sometime during my mom’s childhood.
My grandmother was an amazing cook. I know she could bake well, too, but she was always more of a “this-looks-about-right” type of cook than one dictated by precision. So a lot like me, essentially, but a lot more creative. That dislike for needing everything to be exactly correct is likely how this recipe was born.
Aside from the simplicity of having few ingredients, a simple process, and some wiggle room for mistakes, this is also one of those rare dessert recipes that we can make gluten free. My mom and sister both have Celiac disease, meaning they can’t eat anything with gluten (aka, wheat). This is a lot harder than you’d think (gluten is in seemingly everything), and it’s made actual desserts like cakes and pies nearly obsolete in our household. Not this recipe though. Some white rice flour gives it a bit of a different texture, but it’s still really delicious. Sometimes I even like it with the rice flour. Either way, it’s always a good, quick option when anyone feels their sweet tooth kicking in.
There’s also great customization abilities that comes with this recipe, aside from even the wiggle room for mistakes. First: the fruit. You can use whatever fruit your heart so desires (though I personally am not crazy about apples…. softer fruits and berries tend to work better in this one). Blackberries can add a great flavor, but sometimes the texture of the crunchy seeds bothers certain people. This particular pie/cobbler/whatever-the-hell-it-is was for a coworker (and ended up being for all my coworkers when we got found out), so I splurged and bought berries even though they weren’t in season. I used strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. My all time favorite combination though? Peach and blueberries. Oh my god. Talk about heaven on earth.
You can also use a standard pie plate, as I did here, or a wider casserole dish. This one developed a crust over it, while a wider dish would show the fruit. If you’re going for a wow-factor visually, go with the wider dish. Either way, both are gorgeous once you cut into them, and are incredibly amazing with both ice cream and whipped cream on top (or anything, let’s get real).
Want to see how simple it is? Get ready. Here’s what you’re going to need:
- 1 cup self rising flour (or 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tbls baking powder, which is what I did here) (OR 1 cup white rice flour + 1 tbls baking powder)
- 3/4 sugar (regular, granulated works)
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 stick butter
- Handful of whatever fruit you’ve got or want (see above notes on what works)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the stick of butter in the pie plate/casserole dish, and stick in the oven. You can melt the butter separate, if you want, but my mother insists on doing it this way because it’s how her mother always did it, and it’s starting to wear off on me a little. It’s also a great way of adding a little natural non-stick to the pan.
Mix together all other ingredients except the fruit in a medium bowl. If you’re not using self rising flour, remember the baking powder! It helps the dessert get the right texture. After the butter is melted, pull the dish out of the oven, and carefully mix the rest of the batter into the dish (careful not to burn yourself or spill the batter). After it’s mixed, drop in the fruit by hand. It’s easy to make it gorgeous. It’s difficult (even for me) to make it not gorgeous. So you’ve got this.
After you’ve got all the fruit in, all you have to do is pop it into the oven. Bake between 30 minutes to an hour (my grandmother always swore by an hour, but mine only cooked for about half an hour… depends on how much you use that wiggle room, I think). Once the dessert is done (stick a knife in it, once it comes it clean and the dessert doesn’t straight up cave-in, it’s done), pull it out. Give it about ten minutes to rest, and serve.
This one developed a crust over it. Normally the ones my mom makes with rice flour and in a wider dish don’t have a crust, and you can see all the fruit in it’s ooey gooey glory. This recipe is definitely one from my grandmother: it changes every time, but it’s always somehow perfect. Either way, it’s all delicious!