Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, and More

Peach Cobbler | Apple Crisp | Apple Crumble | Blueberry Buckle
Apple Pandowdy | Apple Brown Betty | Blueberry Grunt | Peach Slump

Peach cobbler and apple crisp are just two of the many great fruit desserts that are similar to each other in that they are basically a layer of fruit baked with a layer of dough either under or on top of them. Many of these desserts were named after their appearance or a sound they made when they were baked. They are made with fruits, such as apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, black berries, nectarines, and plums.

Shown below are cobblers, crisps, crumbles, and similar fruit desserts and information on how they differ from each other. Each variety has many recipes available. When searching for these different types of desserts you will see that many are very similar but may have different names. Because of the similarities, some recipes may not be named properly according to their real characteristics, and sometimes because of the variations in recipes, it is hard to make a distinction from one type to another. But, whether they are named properly or not, you will find some delicious recipes that are simple to make and provide a great way to use your summer and fall harvest of fruits. To find a recipe for each of these desserts and for detailed instructions on how to make them, click on the How to Make link at the bottom of each dessert's description.

Peach Cobbler

A cobbler is a type of deep-dish fruit dessert with a thick biscuit or pie dough crust that is prepared and then served warmed to guests. It is very similar to a pie except that the crust is thicker and it is traditionally placed only on top. However, over the years, ingredients and preparation methods have been created that bake the cobbler crust on the top for some recipes and on the bottom for others.

In the United States a cobbler is typically made with fruit or berries but in the United Kingdom it is typically a meat dish. In the United States, peach, blueberry and cherry cobblers are among the most popular varieties.

See How to Make Peach Cobbler.

Apple Crisp

A crisp is a sweet dessert made with baked fruit as the bottom layer, which is topped with a crumbly topping. It is commonly referred to as a "fruit crisp" or as a crisp described by the name of the fruit in the dessert, such as apple crisp, a three fruit crisp, or something similar. A typical crisp combines a variety of ingredients, which include brown sugar, oatmeal and nuts that are mixed with the butter, flour and cinnamon to create a granular topping that is spread over the baked fruit.

Apple crisp is one of the most commonly prepared crisps, especially in the fall when they apples are in season, but other fruits and berries, such as peaches, pears, blueberries, and rhubarb are also used to make delicious crisps. Although it can be served cold, it is most often served as a warm dessert.

See How to Make Apple Crisp.

Apple Crumble

A crumble is a dessert with a crumb topping made from flour, sugar, and butter combined into a mixture that is sprinkled over sliced fruit and baked. The topping is made up of basically the same ingredients as a pastry except it doesn't contain any liquid. When the crumble bakes the butter melts and mixes with the flour and sugar to create a crunchy, crumbly topping. A crumble is very similar to a crisp except that the topping for a crisp generally contains oats and often nuts, giving it a coarser texture that the crumbles toppings.

The traditional crumble topping contains flour, sugar, and butter but there are many variations, which some include ingredients such as oats, nuts, and spices. As more of these ingredients are added, the crumble becomes even more similar to a crisp. A crumble also resembles a cobbler, which has a fruit filling with a top crust and no bottom crust. The difference being that top crust of the cobbler contains a leavening agent such as baking powder with gives it more of a smooth bread type texture rather than crumbly. One of the most common crumble desserts is "apple crumble", but it is also common to use blueberries, strawberries, peaches, rhubarb, and plums.

See How to Make Apple Crumble.

Blueberry Buckle

A Buckle is a sweet dessert that is made from a cake batter traditionally topped with berries, which is topped with a streusel type topping. The batter rises up as it bakes and the berries and streusel topping sink at uneven intervals, forming a buckled affect in the cake. Originally, buckle was made as a single layer cake topped with blueberries. However, over the years a variety of berries, fruits and toppings have been added to make different versions of this cake dessert.

Some recipes have the berries folded into the batter and some spread the berries on top. It is also often made with blueberries and another fruit combined into the cake and topped with the streusel coating.

See How to Make Blueberry Buckle.

Apple Pandowdy

A pandowdy is a sweet dessert that is made with a pastry or bread dough topping that covers a fruit base made from one or several fruits. Apple Pandowdy is the most common version of this dessert. When prepared, the dough is rolled out into thin circular or square shape matching the shape of the deep baking dish containing the fruit. Nuts, such as sliced almonds, are often added to the Pandowdy dough.

There are two methods that can be used to bake the dough for the pandowdy. The dough may be baked separately from the fruit and then added during the baking time or it can be baked with the fruit. When baked with the fruit, the dish is taken out of the oven after a short period of baking time, and then the dough is scored, and pressed into the fruit. The pandowdy is then placed back in the oven to finish baking.

If the dough is baked separately from the fruit, the fruit is mixed with brown sugar or molasses, cornstarch, and spices and then baked until tender and juicy. The baked dough topping is placed on top of the partially baked fruit mixture, pressed down slightly into the mixture and baked with the fruit until the dough is golden brown and the fruit is thick and bubbling. The dough becomes crisp and crumbly, adding a texture that enhances the fruit mixture. Very similar to a cobbler, grunt or slump, the deep-dished pandowdy can be served as a dessert or snack that is typically warm and topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

See How to Make Apple Pandowdy.

Apple Brown Betty

Brown Betty is a name given to an early era baked pudding dessert made by those who came to America during the 1600's. There are now numerous variations of this dessert that use many different types of fruit, but the most well known is Apple Brown Betty or simply Brown Betty. A combination of tart apples, (Granny Smith and Gala work well or other combinations of two to three semi-tart varieties) are cut into slices and mixed with sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and lemon juice.

Pieces of bread are torn and baked or browned on the stovetop in butter, basically creating breadcrumbs to be used as a layer or filling. The sweetened and seasoned fruit is then layered with the breadcrumbs to form a baked pudding of fruit and crispy breadcrumbs that is served warm and is often topped with whipped cream or ice cream.

See How to Make Apple Brown Betty.

Blueberry Grunt

A grunt is a dessert, traditionally served on America's east coast that is a combination of a pie and a cobbler. It consists of fruit, most often berries, which are cooked beneath a crust of biscuit or dumpling type dough. The Grunt was named for the echo of sounds coming from the bubbling fruit under the dough as it cooks. A Grunt is similar in preparation to the Slump with the exception that the Grunt is steam cooked and the Slump is baked.

See How to Make Blueberry Grunt.

Peach Slump

A slump is a dessert that is basically the same as a grunt as far as ingredients and construction. It consists of fruit, berries, or a mixture of fruit and berries, which are cooked beneath a crust of biscuit or dumpling type dough. The difference between the grunt and the slump is that the slump is baked uncovered instead of steamed. Some recipes call for it to be cooked on the stovetop and others use the oven. The slump was given its name because when served on a plate it has a tendency to slump.

As you can see there are similarities and differences to these dessert dishes that make each one a little different from the other. There are many recipes for each of these different varieties, which make it even more difficult at times to distinguish one from the other. So, whether it is a cobbler, crisp, or crumble, or it is a grunt and someone calls it a slump, just sit back and enjoy it for the delicious dessert that it is.


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