To this tune, it is a well-known fact that Matt loves baked goods. And lucky for him, it is also apple season and therefore the perfect reason for me to pick up some nice cooking apples - Bramley apples to be exact.
- Originally cultivated in the UK, in Nottinghamshire by a nice (no doubt)
British lady by the name of Mary Ann Brailsford (quite a nice appley-
name, wouldn't you say?)
- Specifically used for cooking because of their naturally sour taste
(we're talking Granny Smiths on serious steroids)
- When cooked they become pale and fluffy in texture,
making for ideal pies, crumbles, you name it
* * *
Nothing like a cool fall day to inspire you into baking. Being the sweet wife I am, I decided to whip up a quick apple cobbler while making Roman some of his favorite apple, pear and strawberry sauce to eat with his shockingly bland baby rice cereal in the mornings.
And so we come to my clever-clever double-double entendre title: The Cobbler is Cheesy for two reasons and à la mode for two reasons. Can you figure them out? I'm going to assume that's a negatory and roll into my highly anticipated list for today.
Clever-Clever Double-Double Entendre Title
with a focus on cheesy and à la mode
Cheesy Reason 1: The Literal One
Matt and I are big cheese eaters. Actually, Matt is a much bigger cheese eater than me, and a die-hard purist. He eats all kinds of cheese - from the most pungent to the freshest, from traditional American in slices to chunks of Danish blue - in their true unadulterated form. He might use a cracker now and then, but most days I find him in the kitchen after work slicing up some Brie or biting off large pieces of parmiggiano reggiano, straight up.
I, on the other hand, like to pair sweet with my cheese. I am a devotee on chutnies, jams, spreads and pastes - especially Quince Paste. And when I eat cheese it's because I've made a cheese plate with an assortment of cheese, crackers, and dried and fresh fruits to go with them. I have a very hard time eating cheese alone.
For this reason, I felt that a Bramley Apple Cobbler that somehow incorporated the delicious chunk of British Cheddar sitting in the fridge would be a perfect way to combine my taste and Matt's.
Cheesy Reason 2: The Cheesy One
I have few escapes from routine these days. For the sake of The Master, a routine is something we have to keep and cling to. It gives him structure, predictability and consistency. It also ensures that he doesn't starve, get over-tired, or feel entirely unsure of what the heck is going on around him. Sadly, it also makes for a somewhat predictable and often kinda boring daily life. The glamour of being a young beautiful mother (yes, I did just take that liberty) has worn off somewhat, and now I'm slowly starting to remember that I had hobbies and interests outside of changing diapers.
I love taking care of Roman, but in order to make sure I'm the best mom I can be, I make sure to take time during my week to cook something utterly unnecessary and delicious. Involved, new, and exciting. This keeps me very happy indeed.
And naturally, I love to keep the husby happy. So I thought I'd surprise him with a warm delicious dessert on a day he'd been traveling all day and I knew he'd be tired and looking for a comforting meal. Cheesy, I know.
"à la mode" Reason 1: The Literal One
According to one dictionary "à la mode" is an adjectival French phrase meaning: "According to the prevailing style or fashion."
It's not a stretch to say that because apples are in season they are also the prevailing style in terms of cooking. Ok, maybe it was a stretch.
"à la mode" Reason 2: The Pretentious Culinary Jargon One
Who doesn't love showing off their repertoire of pretentious culinary jargon?
Ok, fine, probably a lot of people could care less, but I figured I'd throw in an oldy-but-goody on this one. According to one dictionary, "à la mode" is an adjectival French phrase also meaning: "Something served with ice cream, for example, apple pie."
I don't think using it with cobbler is much of a stretch. And even if it is, it tastes damn good. :)
inspired by this recipe
In case you were wondering, it did the trick. Not only was Matt surprised and rather pleased to be eating warm apple cobbler with ice cream, but it kind of made me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside too (and not because I served it warm).
I chose this particular recipe because I love the savory with the sweet and to me a cobbler sounded a million times improved with cheddar cheese in the crust. I finagled with the original recipe found on epicurious.com (by adding Calvados, for one thing) and ended up with something I will be making for years to come. The crust isn't crumbly - it's more like a light, cheesy cake that compliments the sweet apple filling.
My version is slightly heavier on the sugar used in the filling because Bramley apples are, as previously stated, seriously tart. If you're using Granny smiths or other sweeter varieties, cut the sugar in half. And be sure to get a pint of good ice cream to accompany it - or the clever-cleverness of it all just goes down the drain. :)
For the Filling:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
4 large Bramley apples, peeled, cored,
chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1-2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping (single) cream
1/4 cup Calvados (Apple Brandy)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
For the Topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup (packed) shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
For the Filling:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pot or pan large enough to hold the apples over medium-high heat. Once melted, add the Calvados and cook for 30 seconds.
2. Add the apples and sauté until they are soft, stirring occasionally and not allowing them to get mushy. Mix the sugar, flour, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg into the fruit. Then stir in the whipping cream and immediately remove from heat.
3. Transfer the filling to a baking dish of choice (I used an oval shaped ceramic dish - medium, smallish size.
4. Bake filling at 375°F for 10 minutes before adding the topping.
For the Topping:
1. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Add the chilled and chopped butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the cheese.
3. Beat the milk and egg in a small bowl to blend and then mix the liquid into the flour mixture with a wooden spoon (the dough will be stiff).
4. Drop the dough by the heaping tablespoonfuls onto the filling, spacing evenly and covering the entire surface.
Before and After
5. Bake the cobbler until the crust is golden and a skewer inserted into the topping comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
Little Known Fact:
Ed Gein, diabolical necrophiliac and the original inspiration for both Psycho and Silence of the Lambs, required one thing of the police in order to cooperate with their investigations - a slice of apple pie with cheddar cheese on top. At least this infamous cheesehead had good taste in something.