since this is grandpa's cobbler, it felt weird to tell another story without mentioning why this recipe is so precious to me. so if you'll indulge a friend, here i go.
wait first let me say this. i know the world (especially lately) is nothing short of tragedies or loss - but, this story is not meant to make one sad, as much as i hope to inspire us to give longer hugs, say more i love you's, thank you's and ask more sincere how are you's to our loved ones - especially as the holidays are upon us - because some lives, are cut way too short. let's soak up those around us as much as we can.
i wrote this almost exactly 2 years ago, just days after we unexpectedly lost him. there are few people in my life whom i know without a doubt love me and are proud of me. my grandpa was one of those people:
november 27, 2013
i'm not funny today.
i'm sad and mad and on the brink of tears and this day felt like a year. my sweet grandpa took a turn for the worse almost exactly two weeks ago. we did not expect that.
when a loved one turns ill, it takes up all the spare space in your brain you reserve for thinking.
grandpa was the only child growing up and wanted a big family. he has 1 daughter and 5 sons (and now x2 because of all their spouses) and lots of grandkids. we've all been spending time with him these past few weeks and holding his hand or bringing him diet coke or watching football games with him in the hospital. sometimes we were just in the room with him while he slept listening to weird beeps and nurses talk.
giving your time is really the best way to show someone you love them.
when i was little, grandpa and i used to take little walks outside at night to look at the stars. he would ask and point up, "do you see all of those stars up there robyn? do you know there is a song about stars?"
then he would proceed to hold my hand and sing "twinkle twinkle little star", but sometimes he would mess up the words on purpose and sing "twinkle twinkle little dog" or "twinkle twinkle little log" and i would just laugh and laugh and say, "too bad bob, you didn't sing the right words!"
then he would say "too bad bobyn".
and it stuck.
my whole life, whenever i would say hello or kiss grandpa good bye, it was always accompanied with "too bad bob" and he would say "too bad bobyn."
it was in fact, it was the way i ended the last sweet conversation i ever had with him.
it was our way of saying i love you.
had i known it was going to be our last conversation, i probably would have joked with him just as much, but hugged him a lot longer.
there are so many more things i want to say in tribute to my grandpa - like how he loved fresh hot rolls with boysenberry jam, the way he ate his corn on the cob, how he loved mince meat pies and fresh buttermilk and rhubarb... and how much he loved his family. he was so proud of his family.
i spent so much time with him around a dining room table and food. he had a quiet strength in my life, and at the table; a strength i'm ashamed to admit, i didn't really notice until his chair was empty.
i loved it when he loved something i made... which was pretty much everything because he was a good grandpa, but this recipe in particular i will always hold dear.
as his health deteriorated, grandpa lost his appetite and wasn't eating very well, but when i showed up unannounced, this cobbler in hand, he ate every last bite of it.
grandpa is a pie man, but everyone knows the next best thing to pie is cobbler. i was proud to show off my latest version of the thing and was hoping he'd like it. he must have seen my anticipation after he cleaned his plate because he smiled and said,
"That was the best cobbler I've ever had sweetheart, thank you."
until we can hug again grandpa, too bad bob.
to you and your loved ones, all my love my friends. xo
gooey cinnamon apple cobbler
now every year on his birthday and thanksgiving, i make this for grandpa.
makes enough for one 9 x 13 in / 23 x 33cm pan, serves about 8.
note: i know, this cobbler is dark. it's because of all that cinnamon and dark muscovado sugar, but trust me, it still remains the best apple cobbler i've ever had. if you make this with regular brown sugar, yours wont turn out quite as dark. people always go crazy for apple pie around thanksgiving, but dang it, one bite of this cobbler and they wont miss it. ps. this cobbler is a must with vanilla bean ice cream or some fresh, honey-sweetened whipped cream. xo
bonus: this cobbler can also be prepped ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 3 days covered, before baking. i usually store the filling and the topping in separate containers, then assemble right before i bake.
3 pounds / 1,365g organic grannie smith apples (about 9 grannie smith apples), peeled and cut into little cubes
½ cup / 220g muscovado sugar + ½ cup organic cane sugar OR if you don't have muscovado, use 1 cup dark brown sugar, omitting the ½ cup organic cane sugar - does that make sense?
4 tablespoons arrowroot or organic cornstarch (i love arrowroot)
½ cup + 2 tablespoons / 155ml apple juice / apple cider / or luke warm water to dissolve arrowroot / cornstarch (i use apple cider)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
3 teaspoons of vanilla
½ lemon squeezed into the mix (about 2 tablespoons of juice)
1 cup / 102g spelt flour / or 90g oat flour / or 125g organic all purpose flour / or 130g whole wheat flour (use oat flour if you'd like to make it gluten free. all flours work beautifully for this recipe)
½ cup / 220g muscovado / or dark brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup / 100g gluten free rolled oats (not instant)
12 tablespoons / 168g cold unsalted butter, cubed (1 ½ sticks)
pre-heat oven to 350° F / 180° C. butter 9 x 13 in / 23 x 33cm dish and set aside.
dissolve arrowroot / organic cornstarch in apple cider or lukewarm water, set aside.
measure and mix all filling ingredients in a large bowl. toss with chopped apples coating each piece. set aside.
in a stand mixer mix, flour, sugar, oats and salt. add cubes of cold butter mixing on low until mixture appears crumbly (a few minutes). the topping should look somewhat chunky. you can easily do this step with a pastry mixer, fork, or your hands, but that method requires a bit more patience.
load the filling into your 9 x 13 in / 23 x 33cm pan, sprinkling the crumble topping to cover.
bake at 350° F / 180° C for 20-25 minutes, or until bubbling and brown on top.
serve immediately or at room temperature with a big scoop of vanilla bean ice cream or honey sweetened whipped cream.
why is this good for me?
cinnamon helps us with so many things. like did you know that cinnamon can help our digestion by increasing our digestive fluids and ultimately make us less gassy? :D it also helps our blood circulation, supports our bladder, kidneys, liver and spleen-pancreas. cinnamon ultimately helps us absorb more nutrients from our food.
green apples cleanse our liver, gallbladder and have been known to soften gallstones. they also contain a lot of pectin. in the culinary world we know pectin helps us thicken our jams or pie fillings (or in this case cobbler filling;) but pectin also promotes good intestinal flora and regular colon function (aka helps you poop!).
spelt flour - does contain gluten, but has been known to be okay for those that may be intolerant to wheat or gluten (eh hem, those with some autoimmune diseases) - however, spelt is not good for those allergic to wheat or have celiac disease. i love spelt because it is a readily available organic ancient grain, almost guaranteed to be untouched by chemicals or genetically modified. the flavor of it is mild and almost nutty, with a bit more depth than other flours - but its also light and fluffy when it bakes. it's my favorite flour to bake with period.