Fruity Fun: Betty! Buckle! Cobbler! Crumble! Crisp! Grunt! Slump! Pandowdy!

It’s one of those days for thinking about the season of summer! With Facebook posts and e-mails about the Lowell Farmers Market and what’s ready for picking at places like Parlee Farms, fruits and veggies are on my mind. So with fresh fruit so available at these local farmers’ markets, farm stands, our own gardens as well as the supermarket produce bins, it seemed appropriate to check out this post from Yankee Magazine’s Cooking blog – “Funny Names for Old Fashioned Fruit Desserts.” Aimee Seavey notes this list of delicious ways to use and enjoy nature’s bounty of fruit – in a slump, grunt, buckle, betty, pandowdy, crumble or crisp. All seem a version of the traditional pie whose origins probably date back to the Stone Age. Here are the descriptions of these delectable desserts:

A Betty consist of a fruit, most commonly apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs.
Buckle is a type of cake made in a single layer with berries added to the batter. It is usually made with blueberries.
Crumbles consist of a layer of fruit in a casserole dish, on which a soft streusel topping made from flour, butter, and sugar has been sprinkled.
Crisps are baked with the fruit mixture on the bottom with a crumb topping. The crumb topping can be made with flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, or even breakfast cereal. Crips are crispier than crumbles!
Cobblers are an American deep-dish fruit dessert or pie with a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (such as peaches, apples, berries).
A Grunt is the Massachusetts adaptation of the English steamed pudding using layer of cooked local fruit, usually in a cast iron skillet, topped midway with spoonfuls of biscuit dough.
Slumps are grunts that are baked uncovered in the oven instead of steamed on the stovetop. Cooked this way in Vermont, Maine and Rhode Island.
Pandowdy is a deep-dish dessert that is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit except the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the desert is inverted before serving. The exact origin of the name Pandowdy is unknown, but it is thought to refer to the deserts plain or dowdy appearance.

Apple Pandowdy is my favorite among these fruit desserts. My mother’s dowdy was the best – served warm with vanilla ice cream for the kids but with heavy cream poured arcoss the top for my father! Its appearance as dessert was always welcome!

Check out the full Yankee article, recipes and photos here