We are all familiar with crumble, an enduring classic that will always hold a special place in my heart. However, I believe that a good cobbler deserves more attention – it’s just as warming and cosy, but with a softer, more plush topping. This pear and coffee cobbler is the dessert I make for friends who prefer a higher topping-to-fruit ratio in their puddings, and it is always a hit.
Cobbler with pears and coffee
Cook time: 20 minutes Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Serves 8
For the garnish
2 tsp espresso powder 230 g self-raising flour 50 g caster sugar
14 teaspoon salt 120g diced cold butter 180ml double cream, plus additional for brushing
For the stuffing
6 conference pears, ripe but firm
70g light brown sugar 40g unsalted butter
1 teaspoon cardamom, ground
1 tsp cornstarch
To finish, squeeze lemon Demerara sugar.
Preheat oven to 190°C (170°C fan forced)/375°F/gas 5. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, espresso powder, and salt. Rub the diced butter into the flour with your fingertips.
Stir in the cream with a table knife until a shaggy dough forms. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and gently fold it in half to bring it together. Wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate while preparing the filling.
Peel, core, and roughly chop the pears, then combine them with the butter, sugar, cardamom, cornflour, and a squeeze of lemon juice in a large saucepan. Cook for 4–6 minutes, or until the pears have softened but retained their shape.
In a 23-24cm-wide baking dish, combine the pears and any juices. Divide the topping into eight to ten equal pieces (they don’t have to be perfectly smooth – the rougher the better) and arrange them on top of the pears, leaving plenty of space between them for spreading. Tops should be brushed with a little extra cream and dusted with demerara sugar. 45-50 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Serve with custard or cream.