Crisps and Cobblers

Make good use of seasonal fruits and berries!

By FamilyTime


Now is a perfect time to make fruit desserts. The apple crop isn't quite here yet, but its coming soon. The farmer's markets are stocked with peaches, nectarines, plums and blueberries and second-harvest raspberries.

Bake juicy, sweet fruits into simple cobblers or crisps, bettys, grunts, and slumps. These full-flavored desserts are less demanding to make than pies and tarts - and showcase the season's best fruit to a golden turn!

Funny Names, Simple Meanings
The desserts have curious names - particularly grunts and slumps! - but all begin with fruit and end with a sweet crust that mingles deliciously with the sweet filling.

No one knows for sure where the names originated, but most likely these desserts originated in the Pre-Revolutionary War colonies and the names are English in derivation. Cobblers are topped with biscuit or dumpling dough so that the baked dish resembles a cobblestone street. Toppings on crisps are just that: crispy!

Betties, usually called "brown betties," most likely owe their name to idea that they are plain, easy, housewife-y desserts made without much planning. Betties are characterized by layers of fruit and sweet crumb mixture.

Grunts and slumps are old-fashioned desserts that were once cooked over the fire. As they bake and the fruit cooks down, the toppings sink -- or slump. When it actually caves during cooking, some say you can hear the dessert "grunt" as air escapes.

To add to the fun, these desserts are also called buckles because the crust buckles as it bakes.

By Any Other Name
Truth be told, the names of these desserts are pretty interchangeable. You won't be wrong if you call someone's crisp a cobbler. Nothing about making these is too exact or precise, either.

They are assembled in a baking dish--often, but not always, deep. Fruit is sliced; berries left whole. They are tossed with a mixture of sugar, lemon juice, spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, and sometimes a little water.

Classically the topping is made from baking powder biscuits, but it may also be dumpling dough or pastry dough. In parts of the South, cake batter is poured over the fruit. During baking, the batter rises to the top and sets.

Although not a hard-and-fast rule, grunts, slumps, and buckles are made with fruit that has already been stewed with water and sugar before the topping is added.

Pure Enjoyment!
As easy as these are to make, they are a joy to eat. You can serve them warm, room temperature, or even the next day after storage in the refrigerator.

We particularly like them warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream! Regardless of how you serve these, everyone will love them.