Oatmeal-topped cobblers and crisps are real crowd-pleasers, and they’re easy on the cook, too, because they can be made in advance and reheated at serving time. This cobbler substitutes brown soda bread crumbs for the usual oatmeal, and offers a snappy topping: a whiskey-flavored crème anglaise. Start to prepare the cobbler about an hour ahead to allow enough time to plump up the raisins.–Margaret M. Johnson
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the whole-wheat flour and 1 cup of the oats. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk and egg. With a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture forms a soft dough.
With floured hands, form the dough into 2 rounds. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with the remaining 1 tablespoon oatmeal.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean and the tops are browned. Remove from the oven and let the loaves cool on a wire rack.
In a heavy saucepan, combine the cream and milk over medium heat and bring to a simmer. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg yolks.
Return the egg yolk mixture to the pan and whisk constantly over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the whiskey and vanilla. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming, and let cool. Refrigerate until serving time.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and whiskey to a boil. Stir in the raisins and vanilla. Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 1 hour, or until the raisins have absorbed most of the liquid.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (160°C). Butter an 8- or 9-inch square glass baking dish.
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the granulated sugar. Stir in the raisins and cooking liquid.
In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Transfer half the apple mixture to the prepared dish. Top with half the bread crumb mixture. Repeat the layers with the remaining apples and bread crumbs.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are tender, the filling is bubbling, and the topping is browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Serve topped with the crème Anglaise.