Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
Peel and core the apples and cut them into 1/4 to 1/2-inch dice. Try to get the apples pieces as uniform as possible to ensure even baking in the cobbler. Combine the apples with 1 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Cover and set in the refrigerator while preparing the cobbler topping. The sugar will draw out some of the moisture in the apples, so the filling will be nice and thick.
Combine the remaining sugar with the flour and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside 1/2 cup of the sugar and flour mixture to coat the apples. Cut the chilled butter into small pieces and work into the sugar/flour mixture using a pastry cutter, a fork, or your fingers until it forms a coarse meal.
Drain the sugar syrup from the apples and set aside. Combine the apples with the reserved flour and sugar mixture. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, and sweetened dried cranberries to the apples and stir well to evenly distribute all the flavors. Pour into the buttered baking dish.
Lightly beat the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and slowly drizzle it into the flour mixture. Don't worry if it seems a little dry at first. Continue to stir the mixture until the flour is completely absorbed into the egg. (You might want to get your hands into it and use your fingers to finish.) Take a small bit of the topping and roll it into a 1-inch ball. Gently flatten the ball into a disk and place it on top of the apple mixture in the baking dish. Repeat with the remaining topping, slightly overlapping the disks.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until the juices are bubbling and the topping is a light golden brown. Let the cobbler rest for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. While the cobbler is sitting, coat the almonds with the reserved sugar syrup. Drain off the excess syrup and place the almonds on a buttered parchment lined baking sheet. Roast until the almonds are golden brown, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Scatter them over the cobbler.
Tips: To make cutting the butter into the flour/sugar mixture a bit easier, try grating frozen sticks of butter on the large holes of a hand grater. You'll have small bits of cold butter which will help the coarse meal form quickly. Use a melon baller to scoop out the core of the apple halves quickly and with minimal waste.
Note: You will need approximately 8 to 10 apples total. .
Recipe courtesy of Warren Brown, 2005