I love the originations of the cobbler. It was created to mimic the appearance of cobblestones. Any recipe I’ve seen seems to want perfect little biscuits laid on top of the fruit base. Any cobblestone street I’ve seen is rough, ragged and relatively uneven. I thought it would be nice to encapsulate it in a pie crust as well because, even though it is rather rustic, I like it to be at least somewhat controlled in its chaos.
Working with heritage flours the way I do, especially in desserts, requires a little bit of extra effort. Mainly sifting. But I also thought since cobblestones are rather rough, I’d add back some sifted bran to “roughen” the finished appearance a bit.
I decided on pears and chocolate for this dessert because, one, it’s a natural pairing, two, pears are becoming a little leaner in its availability and I want to enjoy their freshness before grocery stores irradiate any remaining ones to store for months. Here’s my recipe for today’s Advent Calendar of Recipes.
Rustic Chocolate Pear Cobbler Pie
For the Pie Crust:
1 cup Gold Forest Grains spelt flour (sifted then measured)
1/3 cup frozen butter, coarsely grated
3-4 Tbsp cold water
In a medium bowl, add the sifted spelt flour. Lightly work in the grated frozen butter with your fingers until it just becomes crumbly. Add the water and mix gently with a fork, then knead gently with the palm of your hand. If the mixture is too dry, add another tablespoon of water. If it’s too wet, add a bit of spelt flour.
Form the dough into a disc shape and roll out into a circle about 1/16cm(1/8″) thick. Transfer to a 24cm/8″ pie plate, form it into the plate, leaving a bit hanging over the edge. Refrigerate for 20-25 minutes.
For the Pear Filling:
3 cups pears, cored and thinly sliced
2 Tbsp amber maple syrup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp spelt flour
In a medium bowl, combine the pears, maple syrup, sugar, cinnamon and spelt flour. Allow to sit for 15 minutes.
For the Chocolate Cobbler Topping:
1-2/3 cups spelt flour (sift before measuring)
2 Tbsp bran (reserved from the sifting of the whole grain flour)
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 Tbsp baking soda
2 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup frozen butter, coarsely grated
1/2-2/3 cup 2% milk
In a medium bowl, combine the spelt flour, bran, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt. Work the frozen butter in quickly with your fingers until crumbly throughout. Add 1/2 cup milk and knead gently to bring the dough together. If it’s still a bit dry add milk one tablespoon at a time to have a soft, but not sticky dough.
Turn the dough out on to the counter and press it out to a thickness of about 1-1/2 cm (3/4″). Cut into rough shapes. (There will be double the amount of dough needed, so cut half the dough into biscuits and bake alongside the cobbler pie. They’re great with jam as a sweet snack!
To assemble and bake:
Preheat oven to 190C/400F.
Bring the chilled pie dough out of the refrigerator. Add the Pear Filling evenly in the chilled dough.
Top with the cut cobbler dough and fold the hanging edges of pie dough around the edges in a rustic, yet even pattern.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden along the edges of the pie crust.
As an option, the pie crust can be divided into 4 discs, rolled the same way and done in individual 8cm/4″ pie plates. I prefer to do this so I can freeze a couple and have them on a night that I may not feel like baking. The baking time is slightly shorter, but just keep an eye on the edge of the pie crust the same as you would for a full sized pie. Serves 4-6. Serve with vanilla ice cream or a simple custard sauce.