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Published: Sunday, 2/5/2012

Cobblers, crisps, buckles, and Bettys


Q: What's the difference between a cobbler and a crisp and a buckle and a Betty?

A: These tried-and-true classics require two things: fruit and dough. How you choose to put them together determines the name. But no matter what you call them, they're all delicious.


Fruit (usually berries) is mixed into or spooned over a yellow cake batter, topped with crumbs, and baked. The cake rises as it bakes, enveloping the fruit, then buckles.


The fruit filling is baked with a crust that can be a solid sheet or biscuits "cobbled" together. The crust is usually placed over the fruit, but can also be under the fruit -- or, for true crust lovers, on both top and bottom.


A crumbly topping of butter, sugar, and flour is rubbed together with possible additions of oats, nuts, or cookie crumbs, then sprinkled over the fruit filling before baking.


The English version of our crisp has a shortbread-type topping of oats, butter, flour, and brown sugar.

Brown Betty

Similar to a crisp, but the topping is layered into the fruit mixture before baking.

Grunt (or slump)

Biscuit dough is spooned over the fruit and steamed on the stovetop. The dumplings set up but don't brown. It is purported that the dumplings make a grunting noise while cooking.


Sliced fruit is topped with a biscuit batter that gets crisp and crumbly. During the last couple minutes of baking, the crust is cut up and pressed into the fruit so it absorbs the sweet syrupy juices.

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