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What exactly is a cobbler?

Printed From: Foods of the World Forum
Category: The US and Canada
Forum Name: The Southeast
Forum Discription: Slow Southern comfort cooking at its best
Printed Date: 17 January 2021 at 14:44

Topic: What exactly is a cobbler?
Posted By: Guests
Subject: What exactly is a cobbler?
Date Posted: 01 July 2010 at 13:20
I think this post  belongs in a category called America, so correct me if I have this in the wrong  place.

   I've had 2 cobblers recently, both of which were rather different. I’m not even sure if they were cobblers, because I thought cobblers were more like pies. They've made me wonder what a cobbler really is.

   One was a blueberry cobbler I made with a recipe from a comfort food cook book. The directions said to pour the 'crust' mix into the bottom of the pan and put the berries on top. The crust rose in between the berries, so it ran all through the cobbler. It wasn't really a crust, though; more like a spongy cake. The taste was extremely familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. It was almost like a blueberry muffin I had eaten at my grandma's house a few weeks earlier.

   The second cobbler was my mom's creation. She gets all of her recipes off of the food network website, so I'm assuming that's where she got this one. I saw in her recipe binder something for a grilled peach cobbler, but I know the grill hadn't been fired up for this dessert. The peach filling seemed to dominate the dish, and a few chunks of granola topping were spread throughout, kind of like a streusel.

   Both desserts were delicious, but because they were so different I'm not sure I can call them both cobblers. Maybe some artistic interpretation of recipes is to blame, but I still wanted to look into the matter.

   While pies, cobblers, crisps, and crumbles are all made using the same basic ingredients, they each have their own distinct variations that make them unique.


A crisp’s streusel crust is made of crumbs from biscuits, bread, and crackers among other things.  A crumble is the British version of a crisp, but the word is also synonymous with a buckle, which is something fairly different.


 The buckle’s crust starts as a batter that is mixed in with the fruit filling that comes out like cake. These commonly use blueberries.


This dish differs from the others because of its ancient Roman origin with meat cooked inside flour and oil based pouch, like a dumpling. This idea evolved into pies as we know them today with a baked crust surrounding a fruit filling. This dessert seems to be the only one where the crust is turned into something like a work of art.


These are native to New England and were created in colonial times when settlers had to make do with what little cooking equipment and available berries they had. They are typically stove top creations with a dumpling crust and fruity innards resembling pudding. Apparently they ‘grunt’ while cooking, hence the name.


The crust for this classically deep-dish dessert is a crumbly biscuit that is broken up and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juicy goodness to come to the top.

Brown Betty-

American colonists also created this dessert in an effort to mimic their normal English pudding. A brown betty is a pudding that generally uses apples and has buttered bread or cracker crumbs throughout.

Sonker- Now, having been born in North Cackalacky, I am ashamed to say I’ve never heard of this one. It is basically a deep-dish pie that N.C.’s Surry County can call its own. What makes it special is that there is a little bit of crust with a whole lot of fruit.


In the UK this means a meat or vegetable casserole with individual biscuits on top. In America however, it's a deep-dish dessert with fruit filling topped with a biscuit-like crust that rises when baked. Some have just a layer of crust on top, while others are enclosed like a pie.

   After all this research I’ve come to understand what I have really eaten. The blueberry dessert that I made should probably be called a buckle and the one my mom made is more like a peach crisp. The only difference I see between a pie and a cobbler is personal. A pie to me requires the crust to be rolled flat with a rolling pin and then placed on the bottom of the pan and over the fruit. Cobblers seem to be a little messier, with the fruit filling the pan and the crust dolloped on top. So while the literal definitions of pies and cobblers may be basically the same, to me it’s the way I’ve prepared them in the past and how I learned to make them.

   And now that I’m armed with all this new dessert information, I can’t wait to get baking!


 I suggest checking out this page. I must say they know what they’re talking about.Smile

Posted By: Hoser
Date Posted: 02 July 2010 at 02:59
That's the way I remember cobbler Coxie...cherries on the bottom in a wonderful thick syrup, and a Bisquick topping baked to a light brown. Then served up with some whipped cream, or just cream poured over it. Really brings back some fond memories.
Thank you for a wonderfully detailed  and illustrated post. That's what this forum is all aboutClap

Go with your food!

Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 02 July 2010 at 14:49
very nice post with a ton of great information!Clap

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Posted By: TasunkaWitko
Date Posted: 06 February 2019 at 15:53
I came across this today, and thought that it might make a good reference....

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Posted By: gracoman
Date Posted: 13 August 2019 at 07:03
Blueberry season is upon us so what are we waiting for?

The first of many Blueberry Crisps">

Easy and delicious

Posted By: Tom Kurth
Date Posted: 14 August 2019 at 18:32
I refuse to be drawn into the debate about what is or isn't a cobbler, or a crisp, or a crumble or any of these other fruit desserts. However, since it is peach season here in mid-Missouri, I will offer the following recipe. It is from the Schreiman Orchards cookbook, 1988. It is called 'Peach Cobbler' and was offered to the cookbook's editor by Faye Renfro of Richmond, MO. If you don't think it is a proper cobbler tell her, not me.

That being said, it's simple and delicious, especially when warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. We used to have a white freestone peach tree in our back yard, variety--Belle of Georgia. I have made this cobbler with yellow peaches but never as good as with those white fleshed marvels from our own yard.

Peach Cobbler

Preheat oven to 350F.

Bring to boil:

4 C. peeled, pared and sliced peaches
2 C. water
1 C. sugar

Place in a 9x12 baking dish.


1 C. flour
1/2 t. salt
3/4 C. sugar
1 t. baking powder
3/4 C. thin cream (I just use milk)

Pour over peach mixture. Bake 30 min.


Escape to Missouri

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