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What Are Fruit Cobblers and Crisps?

Baked-fruit desserts fall into two main categories - cobblers and crisps. Popular fruits to use in both cobblers and crisps are apples, peaches, and berries. Whichever flavor you prefer, who can resist the aroma of baked fruits infusing the kitchen?

Here's the difference between cobblers and crisps:

  • Cobblers: Deep-dish fruit desserts in which sweetened fruits (fresh berries or apples are the traditional choices) are topped with a biscuit dough before baking. Almost any type or combination of fruits can be used, and just about any kind of baking dish — round, square, oval, or rectangular.

  • Crisps: In a crisp, the fruit is baked under a crumbly topping, usually made with flour, butter, and sugar, and sometimes oats, nuts, and spices. This figure shows an example.

    [Credit: Michael Lamotte/Cole Group/PhotoDisc PhotoDisc, Inc.]
    Credit: Michael Lamotte/Cole Group/PhotoDisc PhotoDisc, Inc.

Fruit cobblers and crisps aren’t difficult to make, but a few simple tips will help you to make your baked-fruit creations unforgettable:

  • Use fresh spices. Baked fruit recipes typically contain spices such as cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Smell the spices that have been sitting on your shelf for months or years. If they’ve lost their enticing fragrance, throw them out and treat yourself to new ones.

  • Use unsalted butter. Many baked-fruit recipes call for butter — and margarine is no substitute (it doesn’t taste as good as butter). Also, the salt in salted butter can affect the delicate sweetness of many baked goods, so go unsalted.

  • Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Baked-fruit recipes often use lemon juice to keep the fruit from turning brown. The acid in lemon juice slows the oxidation of fruit when exposed to air.

    When a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, never use the bottled reconstituted liquid kind; it tastes more like furniture polish than lemon juice.

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