This cobbler starts out tamely enough, with the usual apples and the warm spiciness of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. But then the unexpected punch of roasted chile peppers kicks in, giving this classic dessert uncommon depth, savoriness, and personality. My brother is adventuresome. But sometimes I have to make him hold his nose just before pushing him into the deep end. He was glad he took this particular plunge. This is hands-down, no-joke, worth it.

Apple-Chile Cobbler
Serves 6 to 8

For the apple mixture:
6 crisp apples (Granny Smith, Fuji, or Gala), cored and sliced
⅔ cup packed dark brown sugar
½ cup roasted red and green hot chiles, chopped and peeled
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon allspice
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg

For the topping:
1 cup sugar
1¼ cups unbleached flour
Grated zest of 2 lemons
⅛ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ cup (1½ sticks) chilled butter, plus a scant tablespoon, slightly softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the sugar, chiles, vinegar, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, combine the sugar, flour, lemon zest, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  4. Using two forks, work ¾ cup of the butter into the flour mixture. When the mixture turns crumbly, stir in the heavy cream.
  5. Spread the remaining tablespoon of butter on the bottom and sides of a cobbler dish or an oven-proof glass dish. Fill with the apple mixture. Top with the flour mixture, pressing it down firmly.
  6. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until the top of the cobbler turns gold and bubbly. Serve warm.

Cook’s tips and tricks: We outdoor roast a lot—no really, a LOT—of chiles of all colors in the autumn. It is a real pain in the squat; we sometimes think we will never get their fumes and essence out of our skin and lungs. But the unadulterated pleasure of having roasted, peeled chiles from the freezer for months afterward is undeniable. Our friend Amenda even stuffs them before freezing for quick winter pullouts.

—Deborah DeBord, Ph.D.
Picked at the Peak

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