Sunday, January 11, 2009

An Apple A Day

About a week ago, while sitting on the couch after dinner, Hubband asked "You know what would be perfect right now?" Me: "What?" Him: "Apple cobbler." I had no apples, so it wasn't really a possibility, but it nestled into the back of my mind with all the other detritus, like movie trivia and the number of feet in a mile. 
When I decided to try something new this week, (I made my own cheese! More on that soon.) I remembered Hubband's comment about the cobbler, and decided to throw one together as a backup; even if the cheese and the dish I wanted to make with it didn't work, and we ended up with a mediocre dinner, dessert would save the day! I have made many variations on apple cobbler/crisp/crumble over the years (What's the difference, anyway?) but I think this one was my best. I played with aspects of my favorite apple pie recipe, changing proportions and adding oatmeal and nuts for the topping. The best change was the addition of tangerine zest and juice to the apples; it added complexity of flavor and a wonderful perfume that wasn't overtly citrus. 
The juices thickened perfectly during baking, making for a juicy and rich but not at all runny dessert. It took several minutes for the liquid to spread this much after we dug in:
Apple Cobbler

My topping began to brown a little more than I wanted when I had 10 or so minutes left on the timer, so I laid a piece of foil on top. This created a little steam, which softened the topping, but removing the foil with 2 minutes left made sure that the topping crisped up again. The number of apples you will need depends on their size and the depth and size of your pan; adjust appropriately-but they will cook down, so be generous. I prefer the sweetness of tangerine instead of the punch of orange.

7 apples ( I like to mix varieties. I used Braeburn, Granny Smith, and Fuji.)
1 tsp tangerine zest
2-3 Tb tangerine juice
For the apple coating: 
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tb butter, cold, cubed
1/4 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C light brown sugar
For the crumble topping:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
8 Tb butter, cold, cubed
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/2 C old-fashioned oats
1 C brown sugar
1/3 C coarsely chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Peel and core apples, then cut into 1 1/2" pieces. Place into a 9 x 13 pan, and toss with tangerine zest and juice. In a separate bowl, combine the coating ingredients with a fork or pastry cutter until the mixture looks like rough cornmeal. Toss the coating mixture with the apples. Combine the cinnamon, butter, flour, oats, and sugar for the crumble topping. Work the butter in until it is pea-sized or a little smaller, and evenly distributed. Add the pecans and mix. Liberally spread topping on apples. Place into the preheated oven and immediately turn the oven down to 350 degrees. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until apples give little to no resistance to a sharp knife. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before digging in. 

1 comment:

Jude said...

Mmm nice-looking crust you got there.... I'll try scaling these down into little ramekins and see how it goes :)