The Best Peach Pie/Crumble/Cobbler You Have Ever Had (P.S. It also happens to be gluten-free and vegan)

image_4Hands down this is the best Peach…thing…I have ever had, and possibly one of the best desserts I have ever made. I need to decide on a name for this. Peach Crumble? Peach Cobbler? Peach Crumble Pie? Peach Pie? Hm. I’m going to go with (drum roll please) Peach Crumble Pie. Done!

We had quite the harvest of peaches recently and no one was more surprised than me. We have had a number of problems with our peach trees to date: a gross leaf curl/fungus thing that I truly thought was going to kill them; little hard peaches that never seem to ripen; animals/birds eating them; and some kind of gross bug which makes them look like they have weeping sores (that last one is the grossest so far). I have considered ripping the trees out, which to people who know me is shocking, and I have gone on several rants about how stupid it was for the previous owners to even plant peach trees because Portland just is not the right climate. So I may have a little (tasty) egg on my face. Of course, it also may be the perfect storm of unusual circumstances that led to this year’s peach harvest. Things like a weirdly early and overly hot season and the trees also being in the sweet spot of their three year cycle for producing fruit. I may never see this again (and one of the three trees still has that weeping sore problem). So I felt like I needed to make the most of this harvest.

Since peaches really don’t store well at all, and since I didn’t feel like cleaning my house Sunday morning was a very cool one, I decided I would finally try the recipe for making Ginger Peach Jam from my trusty and good old reliable canning book: Put Em Up! The recipe was ridiculously simple (Peaches, Bottled Lemon Juice, Sugar, Fresh Ginger, Pamona’s Universal Pectin & Calcium Water). And since I am starting to really get the hang of this canning thing it seemed almost too easy. The most time consuming part of it all was peeling the peaches. I ended up with 10 half-pint jars of jam. It is soooooo good. Mike was savoring it this morning on his [gf] toast.

Here is a picture of one of the jars. I love this stubby little jar. Kinda cute.

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But on to the Peach Crumble Pie! After dinner Mike still felt hungry and we deemed that “room for dessert.” Since we had a few peaches left over (some on hand and then a few more we picked from the trees) we decided to make some type of cobbler, pie, or crisp (so many words for such similar things!). I knew we would not be making a traditional pie crust because the truth is that I simply don’t think that a really good gluten-free vegan pie crust exists. I’ve tried so many mixes, so many recipes, and have experimented so many times on my own, but in the end the most I can say is that at times they have been passable (and most of the time horrendous). That just isn’t good enough for me. I’ll eventually get back to that quest, but in the meantime we had these peaches… We looked at a bunch of recipes online and a bunch of recipes in our cookbooks. In the end we came up with something that is very (VERY) loosely based on everything we read. I’ve gotten pretty good at the art of substitutions and understanding the texture, heaviness, and oiliness of various flours and sugars. I also don’t like things that are super icky sweet so we significantly reduced the amount of sugar that all the recipes called for. We did take note of the overall mass of things and that was very helpful. I also chose to go super simple on the spices (just using nutmeg) so that we didn’t mask the flavor of the peaches themselves. The miracle is that this is the first time we made this, it is a totally new recipe made up by us (Mike helped!), and we wouldn’t change a thing. It is really, really rare for me to taste a first attempt and not think to myself, “I would add less vegan butter next time, or less sugar, or less…[whatever].” It was perfect right out of the gate. We quickly wrote everything down, while it was still fresh in our minds, so that we could make it exactly the same again, and again, and again. I also think that this recipe would work with apples, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc. It was so damned good! I am getting a little bit wordy here (and maybe a little obnoxious) so I’ll stop now and get to the recipe.

Peach Crumble Pie / Vegan and Gluten Free

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Use vegan butter – we always use Organic Earth Balance – and generously butter a pie plate.

For the “filling:”

  • Approx 2 lbs peaches, peeled and sliced
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch

Nothing fancy you need to do here. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside until you are ready to assemble your pie.

For the crumble / top “crust:”

  • 1/4 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 6 Tbsp vegan butter (again, we used Organic Earth Balance), cut into smaller chunks
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free vegan cinnamon raisin granola (we used Bakery on Main’s product. and I really encourage you to try this because we really think this made a huge difference in how delicious this turned out. If you can’t handle raisins at least find another one that has the cinnamon flavor to it.)
Put everything except the granola in the food processor. Pulse the mixture in a food processor so that little butter chunks are roughly evenly distributed. Be careful not to over process this which will break the vegan butter down and make things oily (and weird…I have no better term than this..things just get weird if you over mix/whip the vegan butter). Add the gluten-free vegan cinnamon raisin granola and pulse a few more times to break it up a little and distribute it through the mixture.
Give the filling a final stir or two and then pour it into the buttered pie plate. Take the crumble topping and sprinkle it as evenly as possible over the entire top of the pie (no big chunks). Place the pie plate on a cookie sheet – we used our pizza pan – to catch any drips in case the filling bubbles over (ours did). Bake in the preheated over for 45-55 minutes. As with all fruit pies let this one cool a bit before you serve/eat some to avoid burning your mouth.
I will make this for us again and try it with different fruits or berries. I know I will also bring this to dinners and pot-lucks too. If you don’t tell them people really will not know they are eating something vegan and gluten-free, and that is the best kind of vegan gluten-free anything.
Here are some extra pics from the Peach-A-Palooza.
Four pounds of peaches is what you need for the jam.
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The pie filling before the crumble top-crust is added.
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A horribly blurry picture of the pie before it goes into the oven.
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Two of my babies. I’m a proud peach mama.
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Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Lebanese style)

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We are having our annual holiday potluck at work tomorrow. I usually like to bring a main dish item since most people bring side dishes and desserts. This year I was chatting with someone in our office who is vegan and she mentioned she doesn’t participate since there usually isn’t much she can eat at potlucks. I assured her that there were vegans, vegetarians, and celiacs amongst us and then committed to making something vegan and gluten-free. I have sympathy for people who make food choices and who have food allergies and can never eat at work events and parties. Mike can almost never eat at his work events. Our workplace is pretty great because a lot of people label their potluck dishes so that people with allergies, etc. know what they can and can’t eat.

Last night I made my vegan stuffed cabbage rolls to bring to the party tomorrow. They are all completely prepared. I plan to layer the rolls and sauce in a crock-pot as a way of being able to serve them hot easily. I doubled the recipe so Mike and I could also have them for dinner last night and I managed to take pictures! As usual they are not good pictures, but we all need to get over that one of these days…. And yes, I did eat my cabbage rolls last night with my titanium spork. Yeah, you covet my titanium spork. Recipe is outlined after the pics.

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Rolling

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Arranging

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Saucing (this is a new word)

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Vegan Stuffed Cabbage Rolls (Lebanese style)

1 1/2 cups cooked rice (This time I used wild and brown rice, but white is great too.)
1 small package of mushrooms chopped (in a non-vegan version this would be ground lamb)
1 small onion finely diced
3 tblsp fresh mint, chopped
1 tsp allspice
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups tomato puree (I really like the Pomi brand from Italy in the box but any organic – non GMO if you can find it – is good.)
1 head of savoy cabbage (The market didn’t have it so I used what they had. The Savoy is much more pliable and easy to work with though.)
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large non stick pan saute in olive oil the mushrooms and onion until cooked through. Add salt and pepper to taste as well as the allspice and the pinch of cayenne pepper. Add the rice to the mushroom/onion mixture and stir thoroughly over medium heat until all the flavors have melded together. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh mint. Let this mixture cool in the pan.

Set a large pot on the stove and fill with water. Bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil pull the leaves apart from the head of cabbage, trying not to tear them. Blanch each cabbage leaf in the boiling water until pliable. Drain.

In a mixing bowl add the pureed tomatoes and the cinnamon as well as salt and pepper to taste. (Go easy on the cinnamon…you may even want to just try using a 1/2 tsp or a pinch.)

In the bottom of a glass baking dish (like a lasagna size) put a bit of olive oil and a large spoonful of the tomato mixture in the bottom of the dish to coat.

Take a cabbage leaf and lay flat. Cut out the tough, non pliable stem area at the bottom of the leaf. In the center of the leaf put a spoonful of the rice mixture, then roll the leaf up tucking in the sides neatly. Lay the stuffed cabbage roll in the baking dish, folded side down to hold it together. Continue rolling cabbage until the dish is filled.

Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover the dish tightly with tinfoil and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45 minutes until the cabbage is tender and the rolls are piping hot.