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In cobblers, buckles and crisps, fruit shines in baked goodies

Old-fashioned baked fruit desserts have some of the silliest names in all of cook-dom. • Pandowdy, buckle and crumble sound like words you'd hear the dentist utter about the sad state of your teeth. Then there's the slump, grunt and Betty. Culinary treats or a glossary of gymnastics moves? That could go either way. And what fool would eat something called a fool? • But don't let the curiously named desserts put you off, especially at this time of the summer when the produce bins are bulging with berries plus tropical and stone fruit. Make use of the bounty by baking Mango and Rhubarb Crisp or Peach Cobbler, both made even more delicious with rivers of melting vanilla ice cream running through them.

Here's another thing to know: Fresh fruit is wonderful but it's often juicier than frozen. For extra-ripe fresh fruit, you may need a bit more cornstarch than the recipe calls for so that the juice doesn't overrun the dry ingredients. Frozen fruit holds its shape when baked and it's already peeled, too, so that's a time-saver. I tested the recipes that accompany this story and used frozen fruit in three of them, even when the original recipes called for fresh. All turned out lovely, making them perfect for year-round baking.

Also, frozen fruit can be cheaper in large quantities unless you're buying fresh fruit at a farmers market or have access to a tree or bush. Watch for bags of frozen fruit on sale and stock the freezer. I spent nearly $10 on fresh peaches for the peach cobbler and frozen would have been about $3 less.

And about that fool: It's a classic English dessert, something like a parfait. It's not baked but just cut fruit folded with sweetened whipped cream.


Betty: A baked pudding with sweetened fruit and buttered bread crumbs on the top. Similar to bread pudding, made with bread cubes. It is often associated with autumn when apples are in season but can be made with summer fruits, too.

Crisp/crumble: A baked melange of sweetened fruit on the bottom and a crumbly topping of flour, oats, sugar and butter. The topping is crunchy after baking.

Slump/grunt: An Old English dessert made on the stove. A sweetened stew of fruit is dotted with dumplings, which steam under a cover. The names probably came from the sounds of bubbling and popping that the mixture makes as it cooks.

Cobbler: Spoonfuls of sweetened biscuitlike dough are scattered over a deep baking dish of sweetened fruit. The slurpy fruit peeks between golden knots of dough when baked.

Pandowdy: A deep baking dish of sweetened fruit covered with a thick layer of dough or cake batter, baked to golden. Almost looks like a large, rectangular pot pie before it's cut. It tastes like a very fruity muffin when cake batter is used.

Buckle: A cake laced with fresh fruit, sometimes covered with a crumbly-sweet topping. Serve with whipped cream. It's a bit like a coffee cake.

Information from Times files was used in this report. Janet K. Keeler can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8586.


Southern Peach Cobbler

8 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced into thin wedges

½ cup granulated sugar, divided use

½ cup brown sugar, divided use

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

3 teaspoons cornstarch

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

¼ cup boiling water

For the topping:

3 tablespoons white sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine peaches, ¼ cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice and cornstarch. Toss to coat evenly, and pour into a 2-quart baking dish. (A

9- by 9-inch pan holds 2 quarts.) Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, ¼ cup each granulated sugar and brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal. Stir in water until just combined.

Remove peaches from oven, and drop spoonfuls of topping over them. Sprinkle entire cobbler with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake until topping is golden, about 30 minutes.

Serve warm with ice cream.

Serves 4 to 6.



Mango Berry Buckle

For the cake:

Nonstick cooking spray

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon ground ginger

2 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature

5 ¼ ounces sugar (approximately ¾ cup)

1 large egg

½ cup whole milk, divided

1 (16-ounce) bag of frozen mixed fruit (we used mango and berries)

For the topping:

3 ½ ounces sugar (approximately ½ cup)

1 ½ ounces flour (approximately cup)

½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

2 ounces unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9- by 9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Add ⅓ of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated and then add ⅓ of the milk and beat until incorporated. Repeat, alternating flour and milk until everything has been combined. Gently stir in frozen fruit and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg in a small bowl. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients using a fork to combine. Continue until the mixture has a crumblike texture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake.

Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes or until golden in color. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Alton Brown, Food Network


Honey Blueberry Pandowdy

2 (16-ounce or slightly less) bags of frozen blueberries

3 tablespoons honey

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup sugar

2 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup milk

1 egg

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Lightly grease a shallow

2-quart baking dish. (A 9- by

9-inch pan holds 2 quarts.)

Pour the frozen berries in the baking dish and drizzle with honey. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg over the fruit. Toss gently to combine so that you don't smash berries.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes. While the fruit is in the oven, whisk the rest of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Just before you're ready to add the topping to the pan, whisk the milk and egg in a smaller bowl, then stir in the melted butter and extract.

Stir the egg-milk mixture into the dry, and pour the batter over the berries, spreading out gently with a rubber spatula.

Return dish to the oven and bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes. It should be lightly golden brown and a tester should come out clean.

Cool for at least 15 minutes and serve warm.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Adapted from


Mango and Rhubarb Crisp

For the topping:

¾ cup all-purpose flour

¾ cup quick-cooking oats

¼ cup sugar

¼ cup (packed) dark brown sugar

¼ teaspoon (generous) ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled slightly

For the fruit mixture:

1 bag (about 16 ounces) frozen rhubarb

1 bag (about 16 ounces) frozen mango chunks

¼ cup sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

For topping, mix flour, oats, sugars, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Add melted butter and rub in with fingertips until mixture comes together in small clumps. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For fruit mixture, position rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Butter 11- by 7-inch glass baking dish. Combine frozen rhubarb, mango, sugar and cornstarch in large bowl; toss to blend. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Sprinkle topping evenly over fruit. Bake until fruit mixture is bubbling thickly and topping is golden brown, about 50 minutes. Cool 20 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Serves 6 to 8.

Source: Adapted from Bon Appétit

In cobblers, buckles and crisps, fruit shines in baked goodies 08/14/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 4:30am]
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