november 17, 2020
Perhaps your Thanksgiving celebration will look a little different this year, with fewer faces around the table, less hustle and bustle and fewer dishes. Or perhaps you’ve been so aggravated with 2020 you’ll skip the turkey and sides and focus only on desserts like the sweet-a-holic we all know you are. Am I pointing the finger at myself? Yes, why, yes I am.
This apple skillet cobbler will meet all your needs this year, with just a few servings of a seasonal dessert for the smaller gathering and a sweet that can hold its own against that champion of holiday excess, the pumpkin pie. If you can score some local apples, points will be added. My best recommendation, whenever you bake anything in a skillet, is to use a well seasoned cast iron pan. Mine was passed down and is over one hundred years old; I’m giving thanks this year and every year for the family hands that cooked with love using this old kitchen workhorse. I’ve seen these black glossy pans at thrift and antique stores. Whatever they are charging, don’t argue, just snatch it up because while you certainly can season a new pan, the oldies are definitely goodies when it comes to a perfectly nonstick surface that retains heat well.
Apple desserts at holiday time make use of fall’s apple harvest and remind us of the need for fruit and vegetables on the bountiful table. A meal of Brussels sprouts ( Ginger Sesame Brussels Sprout Salad), potatoes (Celery Root Mashed Potatoes) and this apple skillet cobbler will make me forget all about the turkey. A favorite has always been Sour Cream Apple Crumble and for a light touch, if you’ve got the time and an electric ice cream machine, go for Chai Spiced Apple Cider Sorbet.
To save time, you can make the buttery brown sugar apple layer ahead of time, allowing it to warm in the skillet before you apply the fluffy sweet biscuit topping for baking. Best served warm, this cobbler is enhanced by a little ice cream or whipped cream. Of course this also ensures a complete meal with fruit, grain and dairy. At least that’s what I tell myself.
Skillet Apple Cobbler
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 6-8 servings
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
2 pounds apples (about 7 small), peeled and cut into fourths or small wedges
1 cup gluten free all purpose flour ( I like Bob’s Red Mill one-for-one)*
⅓ cup yellow cornmeal
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
5 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
⅓ cup light brown sugar
one large egg, room temperature
½ cup whole milk
* regular all purpose flour also works well in this recipe
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium heat in heavy large (10 inch) ovenproof skillet (cast iron best), whisking in ¾ cup light brown sugar and stirring frequently over low heat until sugar begins to dissolve, about 5 minutes; avoid burning; mixture will appear clumped and separated.
- Add apples, stir to coat and cover, increasing heat to medium, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender but still holding their shape, about 17 minutes (will vary with texture of your apples).
- Remove from heat.
- In mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, cinnamon and baking powder.
- In separate bowl, whisk together melted butter with ⅓ cup brown sugar, then whisk in egg, then milk, ensuring that egg is well beaten.
- With spatula, fold in dry ingredients until just incorporated. Allow mixture to thicken for a couple minutes (but not longer, as batter will deflate) and spoon 6-8 large dollops over the apples.
- Bake for 20 minutes until cobbler topping is just firm.
- Serve warmed or at room temperature; apple mixture can be made one day ahead and rewarmed lightly in the skillet before topping with cobbler batter.