With fruit season upon us, I have been bombarded with newsletters and magazines filled with fruit baking ideas. Finally I have taken some time to sort out all the terms - so many - eek!  @thekitchn kindly offers some explanations for crisps, cobblers, and crumbles. Then there are grunts, bettys, pandowdys and slumps which Canadian Living explains. Food52 shares winners in a related recipe contest.

Since @thekitchn's fruit crumble recipe was so reliable, I tried their cobbler recipe. Here's the link to their recipe - which I have slightly edited below, with my own tips. Cobblers are a new eating and baking experience for me. Visually I could see that the fruit was topped with little patties / disks in a "cobblestone design", instead of crumble all over. Turns out there was more to the eating experience than I knew. Those little disks end up resembling a combo cookie/ pastry. They are crisp on top and underneath they are soft, having soaked in the wonderful fruit juices. The source website is worth visiting since they propose that there's an easy formula that you can memorize and use to make cobbler without a recipe. (I'm not yet at the point where I have this one locked into memory.)

Heat oven to 350°F. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven. Optional: place aluminum foil at bottom of oven, to catch drips - or place baking pan on a cookie sheet. Baking dish: must be glass, ceramic, or another non-reactive material; 8 x 8", or 9 x 9", or 9" pie dish

Fruit filling: Prepare the fruit as necessary — wash, peel, stem, seed, slice, and so on. All / some of the next steps are optional.

  • Give it a taste and mix in some sugar or lemon juice as needed.
  • If the fruit is juicy or you'd like a more firmly set cobbler, mix in some cornstarch.
  • Mix in spices, if desired.

Transfer the fruit to the baking dish: The fruit should fill the dish 1/2 to 3/4 full, leaving a good inch or so of extra space for the cobbler topping.

4 to 7 cups sliced fruit

1/2 to 1 cup sugar or brown sugar, optional

1 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice, optional

1 to 3 tablespoons cornstarch, optional

1 to 2 teaspoons spice, like cinnamon, optional

Cobbler topping

  • Mix the flour, sugar, and salt for the cobbler topping in a bowl.
  • Mix the melted butter into the flour and sugar. Mix to form a crumbly dough - it will be quite sandy and crumbly, but should hold together when pinched. If not, add a little more flour.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) butter, melted and no longer piping hot

Pat handfuls of dough into thick palm-sized disks. The disks should be 1/4- to 1/2-inch thick — no need to be super exact. Lay the disks over the fruit filling: Overlap the disks to make a "cobblestone" look. Extra topping can be sprinkled over the surface of the cobbler.

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes: Place the cobbler on a baking sheet to catch drips, or place aluminum foil beneath it in the oven. Bake the cobbler until the topping is turning golden around the edges and the fruit filling is bubbling, 45 to 55 minutes.

Cool and serve: It will be hot! Let the cobbler cool for at least a few minutes, or serve at room temperature, or the next day. Cover and refrigerate.

Notes and Tips...

  • Fruit Filling -  I was all set to make this a peach cobbler and then discovered I did not have as many peaches as I had thought. I tossed in some cherries. They made the net result red, but the combo turned out great.
  • Cobbler topping - having some aversion to mixing dry ingredients with "butter" I used my food processor, but the melted butter stuck a bit too much to the bottom. I should have realized that adding melted butter is not as much a nuisance as "cutting in butter". Next time, will mix it all by hand and save some clean-up at the same time.
  • Re-heating / warming - I made this the day before and reheated it in the oven at 275F. Figured a microwave blast would lose the crisp topping. It can take 15-20 minutes to re-heat this way in the oven.
  • Source Notes: Leftover cobbler topping can also be used to make smaller, individual cobblers in ramekins, or you can refrigerate it for a few days or freeze it for up to 3 months. 

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