The Great Cobbler Debacle Of 2018 + 12 Fruit-Based Desserts Explained

In the aftermath of the debacle there were questions, reasonable ones.

How could this have happened? What recipe did you use?

I used a recipe I found online from what I thought was from a reliable source.  Fake news, meet fake recipes.  But here’s the thing, I didn’t double-check the recipe, comparing it with other recipes, like a smart person would do.

After the debacle, when I found a wonderful recipe by the Barefoot Contessa, I realized that I had used a recipe with the wrong batter to fruit ratio.

Did you set the oven to the correct temperature?

I did, but after the debacle I checked the oven temperature with a thermometer to confirm that the oven was heating like it should.  It is not.

In fact it’s heating about 25º below where it should be so the cobbler baked at the wrong temperature.  Hence, the cobbler remained a soggy mess even when it’d been in the oven for twice the suggested time.

 How much money did you waste on this debacle?

Oh, the shame.  I hang my head as I tell you that I bought raspberries and blackberries and blueberries for this untested recipe, assuming it’d be a wonderful desert.  But it wasn’t, it never even made it to the table– thus my $12.00 worth of berries were lost.

And from a good friend trying to distract me: what are the differences among the various fruit-based desserts? Do you know?

I didn’t know the answer to her question, so I did some research, which was a good way for me, an egghead, to get over the debacle.  This is what I learned.

• • •

BROWN BETTY – fresh fruit [often apples], spiced, then baked under buttered bread crumbs

BUCKLE – single layer cake that rises up around the fruit that is in the middle, making fruit buckle down, while cake forms circle above it

CLAFOUTI – fresh fruit [often cherries] covered with a flan-like batter and baked, usually in a cast iron skillet

COBBLER – fruit sweetened in a way that creates a thick syrup, with dough plopped on top like individual biscuits that when baked looks like a cobblestone street

CRISP – fresh fruit, spiced with cinnamon [+ other spices sometimes], baked with streusel topping

CRUMBLE – buttery crumbs that include oats with sweetened fruit baked between two layers of crumbs

GRUNT – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top, named for the sound the fruit makes while it cooks

PANDOWDY – a baked pie [usually apple] that has a thick crust on top with slits that allow the juices to bubble up onto the top of the pie, then using a spoon one pushes the crust down as it bakes so that the dessert looks dowdy when taken from the oven

PIE – sweetened and thickened fruit as the filling, baked, usually in a round pan, between lower pastry and top pastry or crumb topping

PING – fruit [usually cherries], covered in a sweet sauce, with spoonfuls of dough that form a crust on top that when tapped makes a hollow pinging sound that indicates it’s finished baking

SHORTCAKE – I’m not going down this road again… click here & read what we discussed earlier this year

SLUMP – fruit base with sweetened biscuits or dumplings on top, cooked in covered skillet on the stove top wherein the topping slumps into the fruit

• • •

Sources of general information + a few specific recipes: Serious Eats, Huffington Post, the spruce Eats, FLOURISH, kitchn, Cook’s Country, COOKS.COM.

• • •

I’ve eaten 9 of the 12 desserts defined above.  I’ve not had Brown Betty, nor have I had Grunt or Slump– which some sources say are the same thing.  🤨

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

70 thoughts on “The Great Cobbler Debacle Of 2018 + 12 Fruit-Based Desserts Explained”

  1. Join the (very prestigious) club, Ally. I once made a pumpkin chiffon pie to impress a boyfriend at a family dinner. And got the yolks confused with the whites. I know. Brain was on sabbatical

    Thank you for that list. My mother and I have often gone round and round on a few of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, oh dear! It’s no joke when you misuse a yolk. 😊 I bet your pie was a mess!

      Creating this list was interesting because I’d heard of all of these desserts, but never stopped to learn what they were exactly. Now that I know, I’m a better person… who can move on from her great cobbler debacle.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Jill, I’ll make a fruit-based dessert once in a while. We like them and they seem home-y to me. I come from a long line of bakers who taught me well, so usually I do ok with new recipes… but not this time. 😧

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As a kid I could never understand why my grandmother would plop perfectly good biscuit dough on top of fruit. Seemed really weird to me, maybe because I liked biscuits with butter better than smooshie hot fruit.
    I still prefer crisps over more doughy topped desserts… I think I see something sweet and spiced in my near future!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, my mother didn’t like doughy stuff on top of baked fruit either. She was all about pies and crisps and pings, which I like & can make. But once in a while a cobbler sounds delicious to me, although this time… not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Paula, you may be onto something by buying a pie! However, being the granddaughter of farmers, I learned how to make most of these desserts when I was younger. Some better than others. 🙄

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Delicious post! I hope you salvaged the fruit somehow.

    I too have blogged about cooking/baking debacles too: One a near debacle making a rainbow cake with grand-daughter Jenna. The other one more recent; flan with grandson Curtis. Both dishes were edible, mostly. Each taught a lesson about the insight that can come after failure. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, I ate a couple of spoonfuls of the goopy fruit, then tossed the whole mess. I was raised in a home where doing that was a SIN. Waste not, want not was my mother’s mantra.

      You’re right that there is insight after the failures. I learned to never trust online recipes, and will henceforth grab one of my cookbooks or family recipes instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have suspicions about the accuracy of my own oven lately. I hate that.

    What a Sadness to have wasted all those expensive berries! I feel for you on that since I am A) cheap; and B) abhor waste of any kind, especially food.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, yes, now that I understand how to set my oven, adapting to its lack of heatage, I’ll do better when I bake anything. Obviously.

      I’m frugal, so I hesitated buying the berries, but they were local and called to me. I could have burned $12 in the fireplace and done better. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. rivergirl1211, a claufouti is, I think, originally from France. I’ve made a few with peaches– delicious. I hadn’t thought of the grunt or slump in the way you mention, but you’re right. Who needs a dessert with such a poor attitude?

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ha ha enjoyed this thanks Ally Bean! Yesterday some verrry overripe bananas faced the bin – or – whizzed them up in blender with egg, a little sugar, a little oil, then turned into bowl to which I added flour and a little baking powder. Popped into oven and o me o my – I totally surpassed myself. Ok I know it’s not a clafouti or babotie but I just had to show off. I also can’t bear to throw food away. If ever I juice veg and fruit, I mix the solid stuff with oat bran egg and oil and flour and make a delicious bread.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Susan, I like banana bread. I freeze the bananas that are looking dodgy, then make some bread when the urge strikes. I’ve never thought of using the leftover veg/fruit pulp in a bread recipe. That’s clever.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, we have some berry farms around here, too. And apples. I think that some of these doughy fruit-based desserts might be more from farm traditions, than city traditions.

      Like

  6. I had one of these debacles recently. I got a fake recipe from the internet (it was the internet so it had to be right!). It didn’t work at all. I pulled up others to compare and sure enough the proportions were off. Now I check a few recipes before attempting a new one. I threw out ingredients because I wouldn’t ask anyone to eat them!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kate, I learned the same lesson that you did. Fake recipes. Not good. I should have known that, and considering how many cookbooks we have around here, it was silly of me to not open one of them and find a recipe. Next time I’ll be more careful.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. That’s the big difference between cooking and baking: when you’re cooking, you can change proportions of ingredients, but when you’re baking, everything has to be exact or it comes out a mess. Sorry the lesson cost you so much.

    Thanks for the definitions. Now I know what I was eating when a TV dinner had “apple brown betty.” And, if a ping usually has cherries in it, you can have a Bing ping, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, yes, you’re right about the difference between cooking and baking. Usually I don’t screw up this badly when I bake something, but this time was a fiasco. I’ve got plenty of cookbooks so henceforth I’m using recipes in them. Lesson learned.

      I like the idea of a Bing ping. Clever word play, sir. 😊

      Like

  8. Once again a very educational post from you, Ally. I did actually try baking a peach pie using peaches that grew in our very own backyard. I used store bought crusts because I am not really a baker and it turned out very nicely. I think next year I’ll try a crisp or a cobbler instead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jan, I can understand your approach to baking… by not baking. Makes sense. Over the years I’ve enjoyed baking, not daily or weekly– but once in a while. However, this cobbler was a sad reminder that sometimes things just don’t work out. Yes, the berries… gone forever… wasted… *le sigh*

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  9. It’s bad enough there is fake news (gasp!), but now fake recipes? Ally Bean! I can’t take much more of this!

    My oven is off, too. I found out a few years ago when a whole chicken wouldn’t cook, even though it was in longer than directed. Those oven thermometers are handy. Better luck with the next batch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, EXACTLY! Fake recipes, fake news, fake people– where will it ever end?

      Now that I know about the oven, I’ll adjust it accordingly. No big deal, so life goes on for me… a few berries short of a basket.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Well, whaddaya know! All these years I’ve been making apple crumble and calling it a crisp! This is great information for me – I am a lover of fruit desserts. Will always choose those over anything with chocolate in it. I feel like I need to set a goal to work through the rest of your list so I can critique and rank them…I think I might shelve that one till retirement though. 😉
    Thanks Ally!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Deb, a crisp by any other name will taste as sweet! I’m with you. I always go for the fruit-based desserts, not because I hate chocolate, but because I prefer the flavors of fruit. Cool idea to try all of these desserts, then rank them. I look forward to your retirement!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Holy CLAFOUTI! Sorry that your CRUMBLE didn’t CRISP, causing you to end in a SLUMP. At least you didn’t BUCKLE with a GRUNT under the pressure.

    At first I thought you were going to say that your PIE turned into a PANDOWDY because you didn’t hear the PING of the oven timer. But no, it seemed that your COBBLER wanted to avoid being a SHORTCAKE . . . by going long.

    Next time get your recipe from Betty Crocker. BROWN BETTY is not to be trusted.

    BTW: May I make a suggestion for your next post?

    Definitions of regional sandwich names ~ e.g., sub, hoagie, hero, grinder, etc.
    Or pop names ~ soda, fizz, pop, coke, etc. 😆

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nancy, YOU WIN THE COMMENT OF THE DAY AWARD! [Well, you would if I did that sort of thing.] Your comment is a very clever use of dessert names in a scintillating story. I laughed, I cried, it became a part of me.

      I like your foodie research ideas. I’ll look into those subjects and see what I discover– reporting back here eventually.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you, Ally Bean! Winning a “Comment of the Day” award (which won’t actually be awarded) is great ~ I can accept the non-award with pleasure . . . knowing that I won’t need to present an acceptance speech.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I am very sorry you believed in a fake recipe and wasted your berries. Tsk. Shame on them. Poor Ally Bean. Much like your shortcake post of yesteryear, I like ALL the fruit desserts listed here. Do I have preferences? Sure, (slump) but they’re all delicious. Dough + sweet = happy Joey. I’m not sure if it was BH&G or Southern Living who did it, but last fall one had a spread about these, and I don’t think they named as many as you did! At least your sadness generated an educational post and a word of warning to others. Probably now you should bake something up to your standards, make good with your sweet tooth 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. joey, you like slump, eh? That’s one of the ones I’ve never had. When I get my baking mojo going again, I’ll make it.

      Of course, I should have known better than to believe a recipe online that isn’t from somewhere like BH&G or Southern Living. I’m not surprised that one of those mags had an article on this subject. Once I started researching fruit-based desserts I was fascinated by how many there are and how they differ in small ways. I wonder if I missed any in my research? I bet there are even more out there… 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I bet there are more, but I think some of it is regional. Here, people say cobbler for about anything, including the slump I cook on my stove.
        On Sunday, I saw some “scoop” at the bakery. This appears to be assorted pudding with cut-up cake, whip, goo, fruit, and whatnot. An unattractive version of trifle. A deconstructed dessert. I was intrigued but not interested.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No doubt you’re right about regional desserts. I know that restaurants around here do what you said. If it’s not fruit pie, it’s cobbler. The scoop you describe sounds awful to me, but then trifle isn’t one of my favorite desserts. I’d pass on trying it, too.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for the quick lesson in fruit-based desserts, Ally. I have never heard of half of the desserts that you have listed here. For me I either serve fresh berries on top of vanilla ice-cream, or give me guests a slice of store-bought pie. The choice is theirs! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, once I got into researching these desserts I was hooked, if not on making them, then on learning about them. Information is fun dammit.

      I love fresh berries on ice cream and would have been better off doing that than trying the fake recipe. However, I learned a lesson, so there’s that. Store-bought pie is sounding better & better to me. 😉

      Like

  14. The family gatherings only had fruit crisps, crumbles, and pies…I longed desperately for cake – something with chocolate – like “everyone else’s family had. They all cooked by instinct and memory. No way to reproduce that stuff at this point.
    I’ll go for a pecan pie anytime, but over the years are just happy with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream…no leftovers begging to be eaten that way HAHA

    Like

    1. philmouse, I grew up in the same type of family as yours. Fruit-based desserts were a given, fancy chocolate or spice cakes for special occasions. I hadn’t thought about how so many of those recipes were by instinct. I still cook like that, but when it comes to baking i like a recipe. Or let me re-phrase, I like a reliable recipe! 😏

      Liked by 1 person

  15. One of my favorite George Carlin routines is about foods whose names are so weird or gross sounding, that just the mention of them kill off your appetite. I think, if he were still with us, he would need to add Grunt and Slump to his act. Yuck….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, I don’t remember that Carlin routine, but it sounds great. [Aren’t all of his?] You wouldn’t eat a Grunt or a Slump? I haven’t had those either, not sure that I ever will!

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      1. It was a part of his Fussy Eater routine, which I’ve always been endeared to being a fussy eater myself. Grunt…. just, no. It sounds like what I may be doing after I eat it…

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        1. I was never allowed to be a fussy eater, so maybe that’s why I never heard the routine. Or I heard it and didn’t relate? But I get your point, a good one, about the sound after…

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  16. I once followed an internet recipe, which turned out disastrous. It made me extremely hostile since I wasted money purchasing the ingredients only to have everything turn out awful.

    Half of the desserts you mentioned are new to me, Ally. I always learn something when I read your blog. 😀 😁

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    1. L. Marie, I understand your frustration. It’s the monetary cost that got to me more than emotional cost. I’m comfortable being a screw-up if its doesn’t cost me money! I was amazed by how many desserts I found– and that I’d eaten so many of them over the years. My mother was a foodie, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I was.

      Like

    1. Dorothy, I can imagine how pathetic your popovers must have looked. That is sad. My cobbler was a fiasco, but if nothing else I now know to check the oven temp every so often. Never thought of that before.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Dan, it’s funny how reading about, or in my case researching about, dessert made me want dessert, something I don’t have often. You’re not a fan of berries, you say! I can’t even…

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I love baking desserts! I find it so relaxing. I have heard all of the above except for Ping. My favorite to make are crisps and crumbles. Berries can be expensive and you have to be so many because they cook down too much. Sorry about your experience with your oven!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, I agree with you. I, too, find baking to be a relaxing activity that usually works out just fine. But boy-oh-boy this time it. did. not. Of course now that I know about the oven I’ll do better in the future when I use recipes from books I have on my shelves. 🙄

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  18. Oh dear – It’s so frustrating when a cooking debacle occurs. I enjoyed reading the definitions of the fruit desserts. I’ve never had a slump, or a grunt, or several of the other desserts. I have eaten Brown Betty. My mother used to regularly make it, and I made it once for my blog. It’s tasty in an old-fashioned way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sheryl, I’m intrigued by the slump and grunt, if only to see or hear them do what they allegedly do. I need to try a Brown Betty and this being apple season will do so soon enough. I like old-fashioned recipes so I’m betting that I’ll like all three.

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  19. Good grief! I had no idea there were so many variations on what is essentially the same thing – fruit with stuff.

    Sorry to hear your fruit mess wasn’t even edible in the end. That’s a shameful waste of good berries. I would have mourned.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne, I love your description of these desserts: fruit with stuff says it all. Yes this debacle bummed me less about me screwing up and more about good berries going to waste. The sad was real.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lacey, I know that you are absolutely right that we’ve all done it. My only regret is wasting all that fruit. However I’ve moved on from this debacle and am patiently waiting to see what I mess up next. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

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