Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gingered Pear-Apple Cobbler

Fall might possibly be my favorite food season. Of course I say that nearly every season, but it's really hard to beat any recipe featuring apples.

Unlike the peach cobbler we posted during the summer (which tastes quite a bit better than Kelly's pictures might lead you to believe) this cobbler's topping is a cross between biscuit and pie crust and is placed on top of the fruit rather than below it. The flavors are simple, enhancing rather than disguising the apple, pear, and ginger.

Please don't be intimidated by this recipe because it has several steps. I promise it's really not difficult; you just need a little bit of time to prepare things. And it's oh so worth it.

Gingered Pear-Apple Cobbler
Recipe from The All-American Dessert Book
Pictures by Caroline

3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 1/2 teaspoons peeled and finely grated fresh gingerroot
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
6 tablespoons apple juice or water
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 1/2 cups peeled, cored, and sliced apples* (about 3-4 medium sized apples)
6 cups peeled, cored, and coarsely sliced pears** (about 5 medium)
1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch pan (If you have a Dutch oven, use it instead of a 9 x 13).
  2. In a large pot, thoroughly stir together the sugar and cornstarch. Stir in butter, ginger, lemon zest, apple juice and lemon juice until well blended. Heat over medium high heat, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot, just until thickened slightly and translucent.
  3. Add the apples. Let the mixture return to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently for 3 minutes. Add the pears and the vanilla. Cook, stirring gently, for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat. Pour into 9 x 13 pan.
*Choose tart apples such as Granny Smith
**Choose slightly underripe Bosc or Bartlett pears

1 1/3 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
1/2 cup sour cream, plus about 1 1/2 tablespoons for brushing on dough top
2 teaspoons cold water (optional)
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling on dough top (optional)
  1. In a medium bowl, thoroughly stir together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, forks, or your ginertips, cut in the butter until the mixutre has the consistency of coarse meal (if you have a food processor, use that!).
  2. Lightly stir the sour cream into the flour mixture, tossing until evenly incorporated. Briefly knead the dough in the bowl until it holds together. If necessary, work in cold water a teaspoon at a time until the dough is moistened but not soggy.
  3. Let the dough stand for 5 minutes to reduce stickiness.
  4. On a lightly floured surface (or between 2 sheets of parchment paper) Roll or press the dough into a rectangle slightly smaller than the 9 x 13 (or dutch oven). Peel the dough off the floured surface or parchment paper. Place the dough gently over the top of the fruit.
  5. Using a greased knife, cut large slashes for steam vents in the dough top.
  6. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the fough all over with sour cream (we warmed ours slightly in the microwave for ease of brushing). Sprinkle with sugar, if desired.
  7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the top is well browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of the dough comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack. Let cool at least 30 minutes. Spoon into bowls and serve with ice cream, if desired.

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