Food

Berry tasty! How to make Flaky Berry Pie Squares — a gluten-free, vegan version of a childhood fave

A sweet treat that’ll transport you right back to recess, from Rachel Conners’ cookbook Bakerita.

A sweet treat that’ll transport you right back to recess, from Rachel Conners’ cookbook Bakerita

(Photography by Rachel Conners)

If the sight of these sweet treats reminds you of a favourite snack from your childhood, then this recipe is for you. Consider this from-scratch recipe a grown-up version. These Flaky Berry Pie Squares are from Rachel Conners’ cookbook, Bakerita: 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker. This recipe is all those things, plus it stars freeze-dried berries (fun!) in the glaze, and a paleo pie crust. The result? A grab and go breakfast or snack that will transport you right back to recess.

Flaky Berry Pie Squares 

By Rachel Conners

PALEO • GRAIN-FREE • VEGAN • GLUTEN-FREE • DAIRY-FREE

When I was in middle school, every day after my morning P.E. class I would head to the vending machines with my best friends and get myself a Pop-Tart. It was gooey, way too sweet, and I loved every bite. I’ve been wanting to make a healthier, homemade version for a while and it was one of the first things on my cookbook recipe brainstorm list. The result is a nostalgic treat that brings me right back to middle school—minus the stomachaches. You can use whatever berry or berry combo you like in the filling.

Ingredients

For the berry filling:

  • 2 cups fresh berries (about 1 pint), such as a mixture of strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

For the crust:

  • 1 cup (96 g) blanched almond flour
  • 1 cup (113 g) tapioca flour, plus more for rolling out the dough
  • 6 tbsp (75 g) refined coconut oil, softened (see Tip)
  • 3 tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 3 to 4 tbsp dairy-free milk, such as unsweetened almond milk; or 1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the glaze:

  • 3 tbsp coconut butter, plus more for drizzling (optional)
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, softened
  • 1 tsp crushed freeze-dried strawberries (2 to 3 freeze-dried strawberries)

Preparation

FOR THE BERRY FILLING: Combine the berries and maple syrup in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2 minutes. Mash the hot berries with a large fork, then mash in the chia seeds and lemon juice. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for another minute, until bubbling. Transfer the filling to the refrigerator to cool while preparing the crust.

FOR THE CRUST: Combine the almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut oil, ground flax seed, coconut sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade or in a mixing bowl. Pulse the processor or blend with a pastry blender until only very small bits of coconut oil remain and the mixture resembles coarse meal.

ADD the cold water and pulse or mix until the dough comes together. If you’re mixing in a bowl, you may want to use your hands to bring the dough together at the end. Add additional water if needed to ensure the dough holds together in a ball.

PUT the dough on a piece of parchment paper that’s been dusted with tapioca flour. Dust the top of the dough with more tapioca flour and roll into a large rectangle, about 8 × 12 inches and a little less than ¼ inch thick. To help with sticking, put another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and roll the rolling pin over the paper to flatten the dough.

LEAVE the dough rectangle on the parchment paper and cut crosswise into four 3-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip in half crosswise for a total of eight 3 × 4-inch rectangles.

TOP four of the dough rectangles with a heaping tablespoon of the cooled filling, making sure to keep it toward the center, away from the edges. Top each with a plain dough rectangle, using a small spatula to move the dough. Use a fork to press the edges together all the way around. Carefully slide the parchment paper with the squares onto a baking sheet. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour to firm up the pastries before baking.

WHEN you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a pastry brush to brush the squares with dairy-free milk (or beaten egg, if you’re not vegan). Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool completely before glazing.

FOR THE GLAZE: Melt the coconut butter and coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Whisk until smooth and then whisk in the crushed freeze-dried strawberries. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the glaze over each pastry, drizzle with coconut butter, if desired, then refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to set up before serving.

STORE the glazed squares in the refrigerator for up to 3 days (they’re best the first day, though), or store the unglazed squares, tightly wrapped, in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost the frozen squares in the toaster oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until warmed through.

TIP: 

The coconut oil should be the texture of firm chilled butter. If it melts to a liquid because the kitchen is too warm, refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes until it solidifies.

Prep time: 1 hour
Chill time: 1 hour
Bake time: 30 minutes
Total time: 2½ hours

Yield: Makes 4 pie squares


Excerpted from Bakerita 100+ No-Fuss Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Refined Sugar-Free Recipes for the Modern Baker by Rachel Conners (C) 2020 Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

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