With ripe, seasonal, fruit available year-round, fruit based desserts are a delicious and often healthier choice for a sweet snack. With pies, tarts, and cakes, fruit plays a supporting role, adding flavor and moisture to any dessert. Fruit crisp and fruit cobbler desserts allow the fruit to steal the show, with other flavors added for texture. Fruit crisp and fruit cobbler are often used as synonymous terms, but they are actually two distinct dishes that both showcase fresh fruit.
A fruit crisp and fruit cobbler are mainly different in their use of toppings. Both desserts can be made with a variety of fruit, such as apples, rhubarb, berries, peaches, and plums. Citrus fruits are usually not used in either dish, as they do not cook correctly and have too much of a water content. In both fruit crisp and fruit cobbler, the fruit mixture is sprinkled with sugar and often cornstarch, so the juice excreted during cooking will thicken somewhat.
Fruit cobbler goes by a variety of names throughout the United States and United Kingdom, including grunt, Betty, and buckle. The placement of the dough is often a serious dispute between different regions. In New England, fruit cobbler is baked in a baking dish or frying pan, with several lumps of biscuit or scone dough dropped on top. Other regions place the dough component on the bottom and cover it with fruit. The heavy dough makes fruit cobbler considerably more substantial than a fruit crisp.
A fruit crisp, also called a crumble, is originally a British dish that is now popular in America. The dish attained popularity during World War II, when rationing of food made flour a scarce commodity. For a fruit crisp, butter and a small amount of flour and sugar are combined to make a streusel topping. Sometimes almonds, walnuts, and raisins are also added to the mixture. This crumbly mixture is then sprinkled on top of sliced fruit and baked in the oven until golden brown on top.
If you do not have enough of one variety of fruit, try mixing what you have to make combination fruit crisp and fruit cobbler. Nectarines and blackberries are a wonderful combination, as are peaches and strawberries. Combine blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries for a triple-berry combo.
Both fruit crisp and fruit cobbler are excellent desserts for spring or summer when many varieties of fruit are in season. The dishes are relatively low in fat and calories, as fruit makes up most of the dessert. If you are indulging, both fruit crisp and fruit cobbler taste delicious with vanilla ice cream. They will last in the refrigerator for about three days, and are wonderful when heated up for breakfast.