Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a cobbler, a crisp and a crumble? It often seems that these terms are used to refer to any baked fruit dessert with a topping, but there are very distinct differences between the three. A cobbler is cooked fruit topped with biscuits or batter and baked, while a crisp is cooked fruit that is topped with a mixture of oats, flour butter and nuts before baking. Finally, a crumble is a topping of butter, sugar, flour and spices that is piled onto fresh fruit before baking. Of the three, my favorite is the crumble.
Crumbles are best served warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, and while they aren’t popular in the summertime, my favorite crumble is made with fresh cherries, which are only available from mid-May until the end of June.
I’m not sure if making a crumble in the summertime violates any culinary rule in the way that wearing white after Labor Day used to rock the fashion world, and even if it were a violation, I happily be a rule breaker. Cherry crumble is simply one of the best desserts and definitely should have a place on the list of Top Ten Desserts. Don’t believe me? Give this simple (well, after you pit the cherries) recipe a try—you’ll be a convert.
2 pounds fresh cherries, pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick cold butter
1 teaspoon of salt
1. Mix together cherries, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon zest, 2 tablespoons of flour and vanilla extract.
2. Spread fruit mixture into a rimmed baking dish.
3. In a food processor, combine flour, brown sugar, butter and salt until mixture is crumbly.
4. Pour crumb mixture onto fruit mixture and spread evenly; gently press crumbs down onto the fruit.
5. Bake at 350º until fruit is bubbly and topping is golden brown.
6. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.
Melanie Bryant is a writer obsessed with food. When sheâ€™s not writing about her latest culinary adventures, she spends her time working in the garden, collecting cookbooks, and hanging out at the local farmerâ€™s market. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans. "You Had Me at Butter" (www.buttermelup.blogspot.com) is her blog where she writes about all things food.