Cobblers, Crisps, and Old-Fashioned Fruit Dessert Recipes
This may be one of my favorite category of recipes. Old-fashioned cobblers and crisps are such comforting desserts, and most are so easy to make.
If you'd like to learn more about the types of cooked fruit desserts, read on. If you'd like to head straight to the recipes, simply click below.
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Less fussy then fancy cousins, pies and tarts, cobblers are forgiving. For most reipes, once you get the hang of it, you can substitute any fruit and flavorings you like, and you might not even have to measure. I bet your grandma didn't measure!
Types of Fruity Desserts
Don't get hung up on the names of these desserts. Many have different names based on where you grew up, and one person's cobbler might be another person's slump.
But here's how I define the different types of some sort of fruit + some sort of dough:
Cobbler: I grew up with cobbler as a pretty runny fruity filling topped with sweet drop biscuits. That's not a hard and fast rule.
Some cobblers are batter-topped. Some folks use pastry. Some people use cut biscuits.
I have a creamy batter-topped cobbler that I call old fashioned peach cobbler, and it's not only ridiculously easy to make, it's also delicious.
All cooked fruit desserts are delicious.--Jenni
Crisp: Usually cooked fruit topped with an oatmeal-based topping. Or oatmeal streusel. I have a vegan shredded apple crisp that is really good.
Currently it's one of only two crisps on the site, but it's a winner.
Crumble: Very similar to a crisp, but made with large pieces of streusel-like topping. (See how there's overlap?)
Grunt: Grunts are pretty much identical to a sweet biscuit dough-topped cobbler, but rather than baking in the oven, you cook it, covered, on the stove top so the biscuit steams like dumplings rather than browning.
I have a cherry berry grunt recipe that is sweet and lovely. Because the dumplings don't brown, this is a softer dessert with less crunch on top. Very comforting.
Slump: Most likely a regional variation of a grunt. Cooked on the stove top, covered, so the batter poaches and steams. You'll see how similar t0 the grunt recipe my cherry blueberry slump is.
Buckle: Probably the least gooey of the fruit desserts, a buckle is a sweet quick bread batter that is so chock full of fruit, the batter buckles up around the fruit.
My brown butter blueberry buckle is kind of my pride and joy. I think you'll really love it. It has streusel on top plus glaze, but it's really good plain as well.
Pandowdy: Is basically a pie, with or without a bottom crust, that has the top all crushed up.
Most likely the original was an accident. Maybe the pie top cracked so the cook made it look intentional by breaking the whole thing up, pushing some of the dough beneath the fruit.
These days, most pandowdies are made by layering pieces of dough with the fruit. For an example, try my blueberry peach pandowdy.
Betty: Is a fruit dessert that is layered and/or topped with buttery bread crumbs. Super simple. I need to make one.
Sonker: A sonker is a very localized specialty here in North Carolina. In fact, you can really only find it in two counties, Surry and Wilkes, around Mt. Airy (home of Andy Griffith).
A cobbler by any other name, sonkers can be made with batter (lazy (peach) sonker), with biscuit dough, or with pie crust. It's pretty much dealer's choice.
One thing that does set sonkers apart is that they can be served with a sweet milk dip, which is sort of like a starch-thickened, eggless creme Anglaise. Generally the milk dip is reserved for sweet potato sonker, but I will take any excuse to make it.
You'll find several examples of sonkers here.
If you're looking for something in particular, please feel free to email me. I'm happy to help!