Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, and Buckles

I'll throw just about any fruit on the grill, tossed with butter and brown sugar, grill it plain and/or drizzle with balsamic vinegar or brandy. (Always add the alcohol away from the heat source!!)  I love to make apple pies, but nothing says Summer like a fruit cobbler, crisp, crumble or buckle. Some recipes date back over 100 years. Hit the farmer's market, or if you have to ...*gasp*... you can use defrosted frozen fruit. Search the 'net, dig out some cookbooks and see which ones work best for you!

I made some peach cobblers this weekend and it got me to thinking.

Baked fruit desserts are all seriously delicious, plain or with ice cream or whipped cream, but what's the difference between them?  There are many variations. Well, ok, then we'll also need to talk about the venerable pandowdy and pan betty...

Cobbler: A batter made from flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and milk. Melt butter and pour into a baking dish, then pour the batter on top. Lay in the ripe, peeled and pitted fruit. Bake for 35 mins or til the batter has puffed up between the fruit. I add a teaspoon of almond extract to the batter, and it's always noticed and appreciated.

Crumble: Combine fruit with sugar, flour, and some orange juice. Combine oats, nuts, brown sugar, flour and cinnamom. Sprinkle over the fruit mixture and bake...or...press the crumb mixture into a baking dish, put the fruit on top, sprinkle with brown sugar, and bake.

Crisp: Fruit baked with a coarse, crumb-like topping made from flour, brown sugar, oats, walnuts (or pecans) and butter.

Buckle: A single layer cake with a streusel topping. The dense batter sinks to the bottom of the pan while baking, and the topping will "buckle."

Pan Dowdy: Related to the apple pie and the cobbler. A deep sish spiced apple dessert sweetened with sugar and maple syrup (or molasses)  and covered with a pie crust.

Pan Betty: Cubed bread mixed with fruit, sugar, butter and cinnamon, and baked.

In any case, for the bestest and freshest flavor, use ripe, juicy summer fruits like peaches, nectarines, blueberries, blackberries, plums, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, etc...

The easiest way to skin stone fruits is to drop them into boiled water for a minute, then into an ice bath. The skin will peel off in big pieces.

Get thee to the farmer's market, your local farmstand or to the supermarket! Have ice cream, good frozen yogurt or whipped cream on hand (take 5 minutes to whip your own...Cool Whip and Redi Wip just taste "less than"), and keep some fruity schnapps, brandy or cordial liquers within reach. Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Chambord...all good!

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