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Chef's Hat: A pie by any other name: Try cobblers, crisps and crumbles

All combine fresh fruit with a sugary and buttery topping

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Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent
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For some unknown reason, people only seem to bake pies during the fall months and for holiday festivities. However, there are several fruit type desserts that are similar to pies and that are quite commonly baked in the summer when fresh fruit is plentiful.

During the summer months, cooks gravitate toward using fresh fruit and conjuring up cobblers, crisps and - in some parts of the country - crumbles. Although they are all delicious pie-type desserts, there are slight differences between these luscious treats.

Fruit crisps are quite common, and cooks often throw together a batch of rhubarb or apple crisp. This is a baked dessert that has a crunchy top layer. Often this top layer includes sugar, butter, oats and a dash of cinnamon. These tasty desserts are baked just until the topping is a crisp, golden color.

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Selection of ingredients for making traditional apple crumble. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

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A crumble is the English version of a crisp. Instead of using oats in the topping, a crumble usually has a topping that is more streusel-like and consists of flour, sugar and butter. It is a bit more on the clumpy side than a traditional crisp.

When people think of cobbler, peach or some type of berry filling comes to mind. But the same fruits that are often found in crisps - apple, cherry or rhubarb - also can be used in cobblers.

Cobblers have a biscuit topping on top of fresh fruit. The biscuits are usually dropped onto the fruit in small rounds, giving it the appearance of a cobbled road. That is where the name "cobbler” originated.

It might be healthier to just eat fresh fruit instead of combining it with sugar and spices and topping it with a dollop of ice cream. But there is something special about picking up fresh fruit at the farmers market and baking a delicious fruity dessert.

So throw caution to the wind and enjoy your fruit baked and topped with your favorite ice cream. Happy Eating.

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Peach crisp with a dollop of whipped cream. Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

Fresh Peach Crisp

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  • ½ cup quick cooking oats
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • Dash of salt
  • ¼ cup butter or margarine
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh peaches
  • ½ cup blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Whipped cream or ice cream for serving

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the oats, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and a dash of salt. Cut butter into the mixture with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set it aside.

Peel and core the peaches. Rinse the blueberries.

Spray the bottom of a 9x9-inch (or similar sized) baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

Place the fruit in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the granulated sugar. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the top of the fruit. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, just until the top is slightly browned.

Let the pan cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Place ample servings onto individual plates and top with ice cream or whipped cream just before serving.

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Cobblers have a biscuit topping on top of fresh fruit, which can include peaches and blueberries. Donna Evans / Echo Journal Correspondent

Peach & Blueberry Cobbler

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  • ¾ cup butter or margarine, cut into small cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups sliced peaches
  • ½ cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • Ice cream for serving

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the butter into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Place the dish in the oven for a few minutes to melt the butter.
While the butter is melting, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and stir until the mixture is smooth. Pour it into the prepared baking dish over the butter.

Place the peaches and blueberries in a bowl and add the lemon juice. Toss lightly. Then arrange the fruit across the batter. Do not stir.

Sprinkle the brown sugar over the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is slightly browned.

Let the pan cool 5 to 10 minutes. Top with your favorite ice cream and serve.

Donna Evans is an Echo Journal correspondent.

Related Topics: FOODRECIPES
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