Cobblers, crumbles, and crisps, oh my. Is a crisp the same as a crumble? Is a cobbler just a variation of a crisp?
“Most of us are too busy scooping up the warm, gooey spoonsful of deliciousness to really care what it is called. But as you may, I will still enlighten you,” says Jenna Smith, University of Illinois Extension registered dietitian and nutrition and wellness educator.
All three of these are a baked dish that includes fruit on the bottom and some variation of grain on top. Although rooted in England, a true southern cook will undoubtedly make a mean cobbler. A cobbler has a biscuit topping that tastes more cookie-like, typically made of equal parts flour and sugar and enough melted butter to make a dough. It is dropped in large spoonsful on top the fruit and baked so that the sweet dough is golden on top and saturated with the juice of the fruit on the underside.
A crisp and crumble are virtually the same but may vary based on regional differences. According to Smith, both contain fruit with a streusel topping, typically made with flour and sugar, but crisps are generally referred to those made with oats while crumbles are not. The topping of a crisp has a crisp crunch while the crumble is well… crumbly.
While these delicious desserts may be packed with heart-healthy fruit and oats, they can also be loaded with sugar. Make them healthier by simply decreasing the sugar content or substituting artificial sweeteners. Trans-fat free margarine can be substituted for butter in cobblers to help decrease the artery-clogging saturated fats.
“Of course,” says Smith, “all three of these desserts are only better with a scoop of ice cream, defeating my attempt to make them healthier.” Sigh. “But hey, stick to a ½ cup of light ice cream, and you’ll only tackle on 100 extra calories.”
When you make a cobbler, crisp or crumble this winter you can now enlighten your guests on what exactly they’re eating, but more than likely they won’t care as long as it tastes delicious! Now if they ask you about a betty, a buckle, a pandowdy, a grunt or a slump, you’ll just have to tell them that the article wasn’t long enough. Enjoy.
Apple Cranberry Crisp
3 medium sweet apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup fresh cranberries
¼ cup granulated sucralose
½ cup 100% apple juice
1 ½ teaspoons all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons apple pie spice
1 ½ cups granola
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine the apples, cranberries, and sucralose in a large bowl. Pour into 8×8-inch square baking pan. In a small bowl, whisk the apple juice, flour, and apple pie spice. Evenly pour over fruit. Sprinkle granola evenly on top and gently press down. Bake 35-40 minutes until apples and cranberries are tender.
Yield: 9 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 110 calories, 1-gram fat, 10 milligrams sodium, 24 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams protein
— Cobblers, crumbles and crisps — all variations on a tasty theme —