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Crisp, Crumble, Buckle Or Betty: What’s The Difference?

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Crisp, Crumble, Buckle Or Betty: What’s The Difference?

When it comes to baked fruit-and-pastry desserts, the classic pie isn’t the only game in town. These yummy concoctions are a favorite any time of  the year. They work with whatever fruit is in season, in any shape pan, but they go by many names, so it can get confusing.

Here’s a refresher course what to call the most common baked fruit desserts. So if Aunt Susie tells you to bring an apple crumble to the next pot luck supper, you’ll know exactly what she’s talking about. While there are regional differences in how these desserts are named, we provide the general description of each.

Crisp: A crisp is fruit dessert with a topping made of a combination of oats, flour, butter, and sugar (and sometimes nuts). The topping completely covers the fruit and is baked. It is also sometimes called a crumble.

Fruit crisp or crumble, both are very similar, although crumbles usually do not contain oats.

Crumble: Crumbles are very similar to crisps, but the name originated in England. Both contain fresh fruit and are covered with a streusel topping that gets baked. Crumble toppings, however, usually do not contain oats, whereas crisp toppings do.

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Cobbler: Cobblers are a fruit dessert baked with biscuit-style topping. It’s called a cobbler because its top crust is not smooth like a pie crust but rather “cobbled” and coarse. It’s usually dropped or spooned over the fruit, then baked.

Individual fruit cobblers.

Buckle: A buckle consists of fruit and cake baked together, with a streusel topping. As it bakes the fruit and streusel topping makes the cake “buckle.” It very much resembles a coffee cake.

Peach buckle

Brown Betty: A Brown Betty (as in “Apple Brown Betty”) is similar to a crisp, but has no oats in its buttery crumb topping. And rather than having the topping solely on top of the fruit, it’s layered throughout, then baked.

A classic fruit Brown Betty.

Which is your favorite? Share your choice in the comments below.

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