I get excited about blackberries. Very excited! Blackberries grow in abundance here in Wales. My blackberry season starts in the spring as I start watching the wild green leaves unfurl. Next, as the days grow longer, I notice the buds forming, and then the delicate flowers eagerly sprinkle themselves about the hedgerows. And the hardest part, patience! I wait daily with anticipation of blackberries fruiting in abundance. First of all, they are all green, but then one brave blackberry dares to turn the deepest purple. I can hardly contain myself haha. All of a sudden, by early August they are a go! Out come the blackberry picking containers, I start foraging and blackberry recipes start happening. Today I made gluten-free blackberry pie bars to celebrate the start of the blackberry season and I am sharing the recipe below.
Blackberries are incredibly nutritious
In a temperate climate, blackberries tend to be the wild fruit that we can depend on in the late summer and early autumn. Not only does it feel so rewarding to nourish our bodies with something we have picked ourselves, but wild foraged stuff is also packed with nutritional goodness.
Blackberries are loaded with antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect our bodies from free radical damage. Most notably they are rich in the anthocyanin antioxidant, which is responsible for the deep red, blue and purple colour in foods.
If that is not enough, then they have generous amounts of vitamin C, E, K, and manganese. Blackberries offer an excellent superfood boost to a wholesome and balanced diet.
Tips for making your gluten-free blackberry pie bars
Make oat flour by grinding oats yourself
You can buy oat flour. It is however super easy to make your own. The best thing is that it only takes a few seconds to do.
Put your oats in a blender, bullet blender, or food processor. Grind them down to flour. It doesn’t have to be super fine either since you can use a coarse or chunky meal for this recipe.
Are oats gluten-free?
It turns out that oats are naturally gluten-free. Oats are however sometimes milled in the same factory that gluten grains (such as wheat, rye, and barley) are. This means that there is sometimes slight contamination. This isn’t a problem for most people, but if you are strictly avoiding gluten you can buy certified gluten-free oats. I have written a detailed article about oats here: Are oats gluten-free?
Use any liquid sweetener if you don’t have maple syrup
I am using maple syrup for this recipe. By all means simply replace the maple with any healthy liquid sweetener such as date syrup, or rice syrup. If your sweetener is thicker in consistency than maple syrup then you might need to add a touch more to get the mixture to stick together for the base. Just play with it and have fun.
If you don’t have enough blackberries then swap for other berries
You can use any other berry with this. I like to use all blackberries when they are in season, however, at times I substitute for other berries. Strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries work well.
- 350g (3¼ cups) oat flour
- 75g (⅓ cup) melted coconut oil
- 75g (⅓ cup) maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 250g (1¾ cups) blackberries
- 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- You can either buy oat flour or make your own. Making your own is super easy and the least expensive way to get oat flour. Simply grind your oats for a few seconds in a blender or food processor. The flour can be fine or coarse, both will work.
- Mix the oat flour, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla together until everything is evenly combined. I like to start this with a spoon and finish it off with my hands.
- Get an oven-proof dish or baking tray that is approximately 20 x 15 cm (8 x 6 inches) and line it with parchment paper. A slightly larger or smaller dish/tray is fine, but be aware that you will get thinner or thicker bars and may have to adjust the baking time.
- Take about ⅔ of this mixture and push it down your parchment-lined dish. It doesn't have to be perfectly even.
Make the filling
- Next blend the blackberries, coconut sugar, and vanilla. This is easiest with a hand blender and a few pulses. Any blender will work. It will also work if you mash it.
- Pour the blackberry mixture onto the base and spread evenly.
Finish the blackberry bars off
- Crumble the remaining ⅓ of the oat mixture on top of the blackberry filling and gently press down.
- Put into a preheated oven for about 35 minutes at 180C/350F is fine for a fan-assisted oven, or gas mark 5 if you are using a gas oven.
- Once it has baked, take it out.
Let it cool before slicing - IMPORTANT
- Importantly... let it cool down before slicing. As tempting as it might be, if you slice it immediately, it will break apart. Leave it and come back later. When cool, take a sharp heavy knife and slice it into pieces.
- This keeps in the fridge for about 3 days. If you have any extra then freeze it.