First ladies have a long and storied history of dessert-making (fun fact: George Washington was a big fan of Martha’s fruitcake) ― and while Michelle Obama may not be necessarily known as a baker, it turns out she has an incredible recipe for apple cobbler (shared in Yankee Magazine) that cements her place among the first-lady baking circle hall of fame.
Obama calls it an apple cobbler, which is a bit of a stretch (traditional cobblers have a biscuit topping), but the finished dish is so tasty, we’ll let that slide. The recipe begins conventionally enough, with sliced Granny Smith apples getting tossed with brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. To let the spices fully permeate the fruit, Obama suggests letting this mixture sit in the fridge overnight.
The next step is where things start to get really crazy: Instead of dropping spoonfuls of dough over the fruit (as with a typical cobbler), Obama uses pie crust under and over the fruit ― so it’s more like a pie. She rolls out refrigerated pie dough as thinly as possible and lays one piece on the bottom of a large baking dish. She pours the apples (and their sweet, spiced juices) on top and dots them with cubes of butter. The remaining dough goes over the butter, and then she brushes the lid with melted butter.
As with many pie recipes, this one instructs you to first preheat the oven to a higher temp (here, 325°), and then lower the temperature (to 300°) once you put the pie in. The reason for this quirky step is twofold. First, it counteracts the loss of heat that occurs when you open the oven door (the temperature can drop anywhere from 25 to 150 degrees, depending on how long it’s open). Second, the quick blast of heat sets the crust (helping you avoid the dreaded soggy bottom). As for that 300-degree oven and the 3-hour suggested baking time (elements which are lower and much longer than you’d normally use to bake a cobbler or pie), Obama says they’re what gives the dessert the flaky crust her husband likes. “Put the cobbler in the oven and go for a walk, go to the store or do whatever you have to do around the house. Start looking at the cobbler after two-and-a-half hours so it doesn’t burn,” she says.
The combination of flaky crust with sweet, melt-in-your-mouth apples is unbeatable and might just make this your new favorite dessert (hey, if it’s good enough for the president…).
Get the recipe: Michelle Obama’s Apple Cobbler