One of my favorite things about spring is strawberries. And since I was a college freshman, I have gone to pick them at a nearby farm at least once a year. It’s among my happiest things to do, and sharing the tradition with my kids has been something we all look forward to doing annually. So this weekend, since it was Mother’s Day and all, it’s one of the things I wanted to do as a family.
We picked three glorious gallons of juicy red berries in about 30 minutes. But then I got to thinking how sad I felt that since I’ve had to go gluten free due to some issues with an autoimmune disease, I wasn’t going to be able to eat my most favorite version of strawberry shortcake. I lamented for a little bit and then made a very important decision:
I will not be defeated by gluten.
And almost as important, my strawberry shortcake will not be defeated by gluten.
I grew up eating this favorite dessert on Bisquick biscuits, so there has always been a place in my heart for a crumbly texture to soak up the strawberry juice. And a few years ago when my dear old friend, chef Vivian Howard of Chef and the Farmer restaurant, and star of PBS’s award winning show, A Chef’s Life, introduced me to her version which had cornmeal to make it crumbly and coconut to make it amazing, I knew I had to try it. I’ve never looked back.
I have always quadrupled Viv’s recipe so that I can freeze it in loaf pans to have at the ready for when we have company. I kinda figure that while I’m at it, it takes less time to make more for later. I’ve found that it is equally as delicious later in the summer when peaches are at their prime as well.
I set out yesterday to figure out how to make this perfect version gluten free and I’m pleased as punch to tell you that we have SUCCESS!
This recipe should make two medium loaves (maybe even three if you don’t overfill the pans). The original gluten-full version is spectacular, but I have to tell you that this gluten-free rendition really doesn’t leave anything to be desired. It is fantastic and all of it freezes beautifully. It isn’t labor intensive, but I found that the original version used half cans of a couple ingredients, and not to waste, I went ahead and made adjustments to use the full amounts. The recipe I have posted now reflects those adjustments!
Here you go!
Gluten Free Coconut Cornbread Strawberry Shortcake
- Coconut Cornbread
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 ½ cup coconut Flour
- 1 ½ c gluten free flour
- 1 cup coconut sugar
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 1/3 cup coconut flakes
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 4 eggs (beaten)
- 1cup Coco Lopez (cream of coconut)
- 14oz coconut milk (1 can)
- 1 tsp. coconut extract
- 2 cup sliced strawberries
- 4 Tbsp. sugar
- Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Cornbread: Preheat the oven to 350. Combine and mix to incorporate the cornmeal, flour, coconut sugar, coconut flakes, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, beaten eggs, Coco Lopez, coconut milk and coconut extract. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir to moisten. Put about 2 Tbsp. butter into 2 medium loaf pans and place them in the oven. Allow the butter to melt and brown slightly. Take the dishes out of the oven and move them around to make sure the butter is coating the inside of each dish. Pour the batter in. Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown or til a toothpick comes out clean when you test the center.
- For the Strawberries: Top and wash the berries. Slice each berry into 4 or so pieces. For 1 cup of sliced berries, sprinkle with maybe ¼ cup of sugar. Toss to incorporate, mash a bit, and let this sit for 30 minutes or until the berries produce a syrupy delicious juice.
- For the Whipped Cream: In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream with 2 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp vanilla til it forms medium stiff peaks.
- To Assemble: Spoon a small amount of your strawberry goodness on the bottom of the vessel. Top with a slice of coconut cornbread. Top that with a nice amount of strawberry yumminess and finish that layer with several dollops of basil whipped cream. Top the whole thing with a few whole or halved strawberries.
I made a 5×7 PDF recipe card that you can download as well: GF Coconut Cornbread Strawberry Shortcake
If you’d like to make the original version of Viv’s Coconut Cornbread Strawberry Shortcake, then HERE is the link to that recipe.