I’ve almost always lived in locales that did not offer much as far as autumn weather. New Orleans, Charleston, you get the picture. More live oaks and palms than any sort of tree that might sport fall foliage. The reality is that mid-October is actually prime beach weather in Charleston, and we are still enjoying late season squash, zucchini, sometimes even a second round of tomatoes!
I am far from complaining; I have an aversion to cold weather and will take as many beach days as come my way! Yet, I think most of us crave a slight shift. We see all the advertisements for spiced pumpkin coffee drinks, and Halloween decorations fill our neighborhoods. So sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands and make an autumnal dish even if it’s 85 degrees outside!
Apple Cobbler is just the ticket for me. It’s warm and comforting and has plenty of baking spices to transport you to a chillier time and place. Plus, it’s a breeze to make so you can feel free to spend your day off at the beach and whip it up in time for dinner.
The reality is that this is my go-to cobbler recipe for all fruit. In the summer, it works great with berries and peaches. And a slight twist in the fall could be substituting pears for the apples.
As far as a pairing, you could certainly play around with some “dessert” wines like Sauternes (from Bordeaux) or late harvest Chenin Blanc (from the Loire Valley). But it’s also delicious with aged rum, which adds another spicy, vanilla component.
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and allowed to soften
¾ cup buttermilk
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients (using your hands) until resembles sand. Add buttermilk and stir to combine.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing pan
6 cups apples, peeled and sliced
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cornstarch
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ginger (powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Transfer to baking dish. Top the fruit with spoonfuls of the batter. (The batter does not need to cover the fruit entirely; it will expand during baking.) Bake for about 45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the dough has cooked through.
Serve with plenty of vanilla ice cream!
Yield: 6-8 servings