August 17, 2009

Apple And Pear Cobbler

Sometimes, when I hear the names of some foods, I am quite puzzled as to where these names originate from. A few years back, if you were to say "cobbler" to me I would think shoes. Say "grunt" to me and I'd think of pigs! For me, a "buckle" comes with a belt, a "slump" is a sad thing to happen to food and a "sonker" has me stumped!!

"Crisps" make me think of "chips" or should I call them "wafers"? It so happens that what I call "chips" are "fingers" to some and "wafers" to others. To me a "wafer" is a thin, dry, crisp and flat biscuit like thing that decorates ice-creams or used to sandwich a cream filling!!
And if all this wasn't confusing enough, here are some more other definitions for the word "cobbler".

Whatever they're called, I have discovered that they are all very delicious fruit based desserts which have been in existence for generations and are considered classics. Each of these can have different fillings or toppings and have definite ways of being cooked or baked.

Here's a slight de-mystification of some of those names.

Brown Betty ~here fruit and bread pieces (or cracker crumbs) are layered alternately and baked into something resembling a bread pudding.

Crisps ~this is fruit (usually slightly tart) topped with a crumbly mixture of flour, butter, sugar (usually brown) and sometimes oats. Baked till top is brown and crunchy. I believ these are also called "crumble". I am guessing the crumbly nature of the topping is why its called a "crumble", and when baked the crumble becomes crisp and so is called a "crisp"?

Grunts/ Slumps ~this version of fruit and topping is cooked on a stove-top.

Buckles ~here fruit is either mixed with cake batter or it is layered over a layer of cake batter and baked.

Cobblers ~in these fruit is topped and partially or completely covered with cake-like scone/ biscuit dough and baked till the top is browned. I read somewhere that the topping has a "cobbled" look and so this dish is called a "cobbler".

Sonker ~I understand this is a deep dish version of the cobbler unique to North Carolina in the U.S.

My apple and pear cobbler came about because I had a few apples and pears I wanted to use up and also plenty of very fresh and tender ginger. When I my sister came down for a vacation some moths back, I decided to add to her luggage a bit. I ordered quite a few baking books (and some other stuff) from Amazon and saved myself the international shipping charges by getting them delivered to my sister's address, who in turn lugged them down here for me.

One of those books was Light & Easy Baking by Beatrice Ojakangas. This is a book which was published quite some time ago, but an excellent book, in my opinion. The book has over 200 low fat recipes for all kinds of baked food. What I like about this book is that the author explains how she works with each recipe to reduce the fat in it and also points out how you could similarly work with any recipe of your choice.

I adapted this recipe from her Berry Cobbler recipe. There's something special about this ginger flavoured moist and juicy dessert with the slightly crisp cake-like topping. This is very easy to make and good way to use up excess fruit.
I used apples and pears here. You could use whatever fruit you have on hand. I added ginger as I love the slightly spicy tones it gives this cobbler, but feel free to leave it out if you do not like ginger in your desserts.


1 cup peeled and chopped apples

1 cup peeled and chopped pears

1 1/2 to 2 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 1/2 tbsp cornstarch

2/3 cup brown sugar (increase this to 1/2 cup if preferred)

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

2/3 cup all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp (about 35 gm) butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/8 cup hot water


Put the chopped apple and pear, ginger, cornstarch, about half of the sugar and lemon juice in a glass bowl and mix well. Cook in the microwave till the fruit is cooked and the mixture has thickened slightly (about 6 to 8 minutes at 100%).

You can also cook the fruit on the stove-top. Put the above mentioned ingredients, excluding the cornstarch, in a pan with a few tsps of water and cook till done. Dissolve the cornstarch in 2 tbsp water and add to the cooked fruit. Stir well and cokk for a couple of minutes till it thickens.

Put this mixture into a shallow glass dish/ casserole or divide it equally among 4 dessert bowls to make individual servings.

In another bowl combine the flour, remaining sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt. Add the butter and mix till the mixture resembles moist crumbs. Now add the hot water and just stir till a soft dough forms.

Drop spoonfuls of this dough over the hot fruit, to partially or totally cover the fruit. Bake at 200C for about 20 or 25 minutes or till the topping is a golden brown.

Serve warm with frozen yogurt or ice-cream. This recipe serves 4.


Divya Kudua said...

Count me in for that cobbler=shoe connection..LOL..:)

Looks lovely..have never tried making fruit based the fruit coated spoon..yumm!!

Nithya said...

This looks yumm.. and tempting. I am learning those words and their new meaning from this post. :)

Sushma Mallya said...

even i was wondering what type of dish is this by its name...but got to know it from your blog...well thanks for sharing this...looks really yum..

jayasree said...

Liked the de-mystification part. It surely enriched my food vocabulary.

Very tempting clicks...

sra said...

What a coincidence - I just read a piece on all these names recently, for the life of me I can't remember where now - I esp remember the buckle, grunt and sonker! Just in the last two or three days!

Reeni♥ said...

I think 'Grunt' is the funniest one! But I love them all! Especially yours - the ginger sounds wonderful here.

Hua said...

This looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Your cobbler looks delicious! I've long ago given up trying to understand the differences between all the types, I only know, bake and eat crumbles [or crisps, as you've just taught me :)].

aquadaze said...

grunt? huh?!! delish cobbler :)

Barbara said...

You certainly have "cobbled" together a beautiful dessert, Aparna. I like the addition of ginger in the recipe. Wish I had a bite now!

bindiya said...

This is my absolute favorite dessert, loved your recipe!

MeetaK said...

cobblers are such a great way to use fresh fruit in. great recipe!

jayasri said...

so many things to learn..., thanks for that love, long back my children had made apple crumble (taught in the school), i have book marked it.., I have BM all your bakings, have to try one by one !!!

A_and_N said...

Where have I been! I loved your Gokulashtami post :) Reminded me of home.

I've nver been successful with a cobbler :| So, will try your recipe soon!

Bergamot said...

Liked your recipe and I agree the name cobbler did kind of surprise me when I encountered it first time...I guess it is derived from the cobbled street.

Lien said...

Hi Aparna, sorry for being absent so long! Love your dish, things with apples always taste so good!

Also letting you know that I've given you an award. Have fun with it!

Cynthia said...

I've just had lunch - dhal, rice, sauteed eggplant and some spinach. This cobbler would seal the deal :)

farida said...

This is sure one enlightening post:) All those names - ahh:)))

I like this apple cobbler recipe. Sounds easy and delicious. Saving it for sure. Thanks for sharing.

♥Rosie♥ said...

Hi Aparna, great to be back viewing your creations once again :0) Your apple and pear cobbler looks amazing!! I wish I could dive and and take a spoonful to taste ;0)

♥Rosie♥ said...

Hi Aparna, great to be back viewing your creations once again :0) Your apple and pear cobbler looks amazing!! I wish I could dive and and take a spoonful to taste ;0)

TBC said...

I'd never heard of "grunts" before.

What a lovely way to use up fruit.:)

The Purple Foodie said...

The name associations are so true for me as well! Who knew these things existed!Blogging has taught me so much!

Curry Leaf said...

Love the cobbler Aparna.Its amazing sometimes when we comeacross such words.I must say grunt/slump and sonker are new to me also.I knew about betty and will be making one shortly.I somehow missed some of your posts

Aparna said...

Thank you for all your comments. :)

And Lien, a special thanks for the award.