Easy Apple Cobbler

Sweetened buttermilk biscuits top this kissing cousin of fresh apple pie.

Apple Cobbler

Apple Cobbler

Photo by: Photo by Mick Telkamp

Photo by Mick Telkamp

An American classic, apple cobbler has been a fall favorite since days of the early settlers.

Fall is apple cobbler season. And that means tart seasonal apples spiced with cinnamon and sweetened with brown sugar and topped with tender, golden biscuits baked to perfection. The apples are gooey, the biscuit crust has beautiful color and just the right crunch.  Not to be confused with crisps, crumbles, with their streusel-like toppings or the similar buckles or pandowdys,  this creation of early American settlers embraces the versatility of the common biscuit.

Biscuits were used in this well-known dessert as a matter of convenience. In the earliest days, biscuits were fairly tough and bland, but when chemical leaveners (baking soda and baking powder) came along in the 1800s, biscuits became lighter, and more flavorful. As biscuits improved, so did the cobbler.  Biscuits balance the silky filling, soaking up the flavor and providing just the right crunch. Less work than traditional pies and with a taste and character all its own, apple cobbler is comfort food best enjoyed on a blustery fall day.

Unlike many biscuit recipes, this one includes an egg and a  bit of sugar. Technically speaking, that may make this crust more scone than biscuit, but we’ll take the hit. Lightly sweetened and with the richness, tenderness and golden color the egg provides, the spirit of the cobbler remains intact. It’s hard to argue with delicious and, boy, this cobbler delivers.

Apple Cobbler

Servings: About 12

  • 3 1/2 pounds baking apples (Honeycrisp, Pink Lady or Granny Smith recommended, but any will work)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons Demerara sugar (optional)

Peel, core and slice apple and place in a large bowl.

Drizzle lemon juice over apples.

Stir in brown sugar, vanilla, 3 tablespoons flour and cinnamon and transfer to  3 quart casserole dish.

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder ans salt in a large bowl.

Cut butter into flour mix with a pastry cutter until pea-sized crumbs form.

Whisk together egg and buttermilk and gently blend into flour mix.

Knead sparingly, until fully combined.

Tear dough into 9-12 pieces and arrange on top of apples to cover (apples will still be visible, but dough will expand as it cooks).

Sprinkle with Demerara sugar (for added color and crunch).

Bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

Serve warm (with ice cream, if desired).

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