Cobbler, Crumble, and Crisp

Hi there,

One of the first desserts I learned to make by myself was apple crumble; any variety of the crumble family has the same two qualities: delectable deliciousness and straightforward simplicity. Crumbles are one truly foolproof dessert out there that, unlike many other too-easy-to-be-true desserts, do not fail in the flavor department either.

Blackberry and Pear Crumble (recipe HERE)

However, things start getting just a tad more complicated in the peachy world of the crumbles when the cobbler and the crisp come into the picture. They look deceptively similar – some crispy blobs on top of gooey fruits. How different could they be? Are they triplets? Are they sisters? Or are they cousins?

Apple crisp (Recipe HERE )

II would say that crumble and crisps are semi-identical twins. Some people use these names interchangeably when they talk about a baked fruit dessert topped with crumbly, crispy topping that can range from being streusel like to  being more oaty granola-like in texture. Normally the standard ingredients of these two desserts’  toppings include  sugar, butter, flour and a hint of cinnamon, but crumble toppings do not include oats and nuts, causing them to be more streusel-like in comparison to the crispy and crunchy topping of a crisp.

Rhubarb crumble (Recipe HERE)

So what about their cousin, the cobbler, you may ask. Cobblers are easily to separate from the other two because they are a richer deep dish fruit desserts topped with dollop of a biscuit-like topping. The small rounds of biscuits on top of the fresh fruits give out an appearance similar to cobblestones hence the name of this dessert. Just like crisp and crumble, cobblers also have variations to the topping which could range from pie dough to biscuit batter to cookie dough. But in general, the topping will be thicker than in crisps’ and crumble’s with the fruits being more stew-like.

Mixed Berries Cobbler (Recipe HERE)

To confuse you a little bit further, this trio also has many distant relatives such as the pandowdy, betty, grunt, and slump. What a confusing family of desserts they are, right? Good thing I found a nice family tree HERE.

  • Betty — a baked pudding made of layers of spiced and sugared fruit and buttered bread crumbs.

Apple Brown Betty (Recipe HERE)

  • Clafoutis — a French cobbler, with fruit (usually cherries) on the bottom, custard, and a rough batter crust baked on top

  • Grunt — a spoon pie, with biscuit dough on top of stewed fruit, which is steamed, not baked

Pear and Sour Cream Grunt (Recipe HERE)

  • Pandowdy — a spoon pie, with fruit on the bottom and a rolled crust on top, which is broken up to allow the juices to come through

ginger apple pandowdy (Recipe HERE)

Apple Cranberry Pandowdy (Recipe HERE)

  • Slump — a spoon pie, including cooked or uncooked fruit topped with biscuit dough or piecrust, which can be baked or steamed, and can be made upside down

Berry Slump (Recipe HERE)

Bon Appétit!

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