It's elderberry season! And for the week of chai, we are going to explore a rich chai-spiced elderberry cobbler, both dairy and gluten free.
Elderberries are known to promote health. These dark little jewels have powderful antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. There are used to prevent and shorten the duration of flus. They enhance and strenthen immunity. As we get into flu season, it's a good idea to make a small batch of elderberry syrup to partake in everyday.
Elderberry wines or syrups can be found at health food stores or speciatly wine shops. Here in Idaho, Sheppard Fruit wines sells an Elderberry Wine. My husband bought their pear wine as a gift a couple of months ago and it was divine! These aren't sweet wines - think dry grape wines but made with other fruits. I'll have to get my husband to buy a bottle of elderberry this fall. ;)
We forage for our berries each October (ripeness can vary between early September to late November, usually sweetest after first frost). Look for trees that are away from the road or other polluted sources. Elderberry trees are thornless and have a dark purple berries (the red are poisonious). Also don't pick on private property unless you have the permission from the owner. Be courteous to others and leave some of the berries for other beings, whether it be humans or animals, to find. As always research about the item you're foraging before you pick - many edible plants have a look-alike that is not edible.
The red stems on elderberries can be slightly toxic, use gentle fingers or a fork to loosen the berries from the stems. Also, Rosemary Gladstar suggests cooking these before indulging as some individuals get a stomache from fresh berries. A dear relative, who shares my love interest in elderberries, and I don't have this problem but I always cook it before giving it to anyone else, especially children.
This cobbler is a great way to incorporate berries and indulge in their natural sweetness. The breaded topping has a lovely texture and is wonderfully laced with chai spices. Combined with the antioxidant-rich elderberries, this treat is wonderful!
Chai Spiced Cobbler
3/4 c oat flour
2 T flaxseeds
1 t baking powder (or 1/2 tsp baking soda & 1/4 tsp cream of tartar)
1/4 t salt
1/2 c milk
1/4 c applesauce
3/4 t Whole Leaf Stevia Powder or 3 T sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3 cups Elderberries
1 Tb flaxseeds
2 Tb orange juice
1. Grind flaxseeds for both filling and cobbler.
2. Combine filling ingredients in a 1.6 liter baking dish or 8x8" would work. Stick in oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
3. Combine dry ingredients for the cobbler filling in a bowl and combine wet ingredients in a seperate bowl. Whisk the wet into the dry.
4. Remove the cobbler dish from the oven. Drop the cobbler on top of the berry mixture (will need to use a spatula to get everything).
5. Return to oven and bake 20-25 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes.