Cobblers, crumbles, and buckles
“If a crumble is crumbly from being all fallen apart, why is a cobbler not looking as if created by an elf cobbler’s heart?
“A baker’s mind decides what part topping and fruit play while hands diligently portray an artful display.
“Mix in spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom,and cloves. As desserts bake, wonderful aromas fill the homes.”
Tired, climbing slowly into bed, head lying upon pillow, and then the dread. The eyes pop open, wheels in the mind whirl. Not only must a poem be written quickly, but also a recipe from inside the head.
Oh yes, I am one of those people who, no matter how tired the body, the mind keeps going with questions and ideas. …And so, my mind decided to contemplate the difference between a cobbler and a crumble.
I’m not surprised by this, as I had been taking stock of what fruits I had “put up” this year in the freezer – apricots, peaches, cherries, plums, cranberries and blueberries.
So, why in the world would they not invade my mind while I was wanting to go to sleep?
Wanting to know the “technical” baking definitions, I found out. Oh, it gets worse than just cobbler and crumble. There is crisp, Betty, and buckle.
Well, who the heck is Betty? Was her cobbler too crisp so it crumbled, and did she have to loosen her buckle from eating too much?
The easiest description was found, would you believe, at the Farmer’s Almanac website (www.farmersalmanac.com/crisp-crumble-cobbler-whats-difference-29174).
A crisp is fruit dessert with a topping made of a combination of oats, flour, butter, and sugar (and sometimes nuts). The topping completely covers the fruit and is baked. It is also sometimes called a crumble.
Crumbles are very similar to crisps, but the name originated in England. Both contain fresh fruit and are covered with a streusel topping that gets baked. Crumble toppings, however, usually do not contain oats whereas crisp toppings do.
Cobblers are a fruit dessert baked with biscuit-style topping. It’s called a cobbler because its top crust is not smooth like a pie crust but rather “cobbled” and coarse. It’s usually dropped or spooned over the fruit, then baked.
A Betty (as in “Apple Brown Betty”) is similar to a crisp, but has no oats in its buttery crumb topping. And rather than having the topping solely on top of the fruit, it’s layered throughout, then baked.
A buckle consists of fruit and cake baked together, with a streusel topping. As it bakes, the fruit and streusel topping makes the cake “buckle.” It very much resembles a coffee cake.
And of course, depending on where a recipe is obtained from, what is called a cobbler could actually be a crisp, or a crisp a buckle, and don’t forget about Betty.
The recipe I’m sharing with you is not a cobbler-cobbler, but a sort of buckle layered like a Betty, and…you get the gist of it, right?
Anyway, I made it with blueberries, served it warm with ice cream on the side, and no one complained – even about the name.
Easy (Any Fruit) Cobbler Ingredients:
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp.) butter; 1 cup 2% milk; 1 cup sugar (or equivalent sugar substitute); 1 cup all-purpose flour (add 3 Tbsp. for high elevation baking); 1 tsp. baking powder; ¼ tsp. salt; 1 quart (32 oz.) chopped fruit or whole berries* (If thawed from frozen, drain liquid, but keep for smoothies, or another use.)
Preheat oven to 350F.
Melt butter and brush against bottom and sides of 9”x12” inch baking pan, or two 9” square baking pans.
Mix together milk, sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt until a smooth batter; pour into pan(s).
Cover batter as evenly as possible with the fruit; do not stir the fruit into the batter.
Bake for one hour, or until toothpick comes out clean from cake. While baking, the batter will rise up, surround the fruit and absorb its flavor.
To serve, cut into squares and top with whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream on the side.
Makes 12-18 servings, dependent on square size cut.
*Note: if fruit needs sweetening, add 2 Tbsp. sugar and mix thoroughly with fruit. Fruit such as apples, apricots, and peaches can be spiced up by mixing with cinnamon, cloves, all spice, nutmeg, and/or cardamom before spreading over batter.