Any kind of sweet-tart apple will work well in this cobbler; I like Braeburn and Cortland. For the pears, try Anjou or Bartlett, two of my favorite pears for baking.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F.
Make the topping
In a food processor, combine half of the pecans with the brown sugar, flour, butter, ginger, and salt. Pulse the ingredients until they begin to form moist clumps. Add the remaining pecans and pulse briefly until the pecans are broken up but not pulverized. Refrigerate the topping in the work bowl while you prepare the filling.
Make the filling
Tip:Cast iron skillets are great, but not for this cobbler; their reactive surface can lend a metallic taste to the finished cobbler. Stick with a nonreactive skillet, such as stainless steel or enamel-lined cast iron.
Melt the butter in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet (8- to 10-cup capacity) over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar, flour, ginger, and salt; cook, stirring and smearing with a rubber spatula, until the sugar is melted and the mixture is smooth, about 1 minute. Whisking constantly, add the applejack and lemon juice and cook until boiling, about 2 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and add the apples. Cook, stirring gently, until just barely tender, about 4 minutes. Add the pears and gently toss until coated and hot, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Assemble and bake
Spread the fruit into a relatively flat layer. Scatter the topping evenly over the fruit. Bake until the fruit is very tender when pierced with a knife and the topping is browned, 25 to 35 minutes. Let sit for about 10 minutes to allow the juice to settle and thicken before serving.
Make Ahead Tips
You can make the topping store it in the freezer (in a zip-top plastic bag) for up to 3 months.
nutrition information (per serving):
Photo: Scott Phillips