< Southern Basics

The Dish on Cobbler

Although Southern cooks are masterful when it comes to making cobblers, no country or region can claim cobbler as its own. In fact, Cooking A to Z (edited by Jane Horn) says cobbler, and its cousins grunt, slump, buckle, roly-poly, flummery, and pandowdy—are all old-fashioned regional desserts of cooked fruit with a biscuit, dough, or bread topping of some type. Once considered too common to serve to guests, cobbler has been rediscovered for its pure honesty and simplicity.

How to Make Cobbler

The variety of cooking cobblers comes not only from using different fruits, but also from how the crust is made—from traditional piecrust or biscuit dough to pourable batters. No matter what style of cobbler you make, here are a few simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Choose ripe, juicy fruits and berries. (When out of season, unsweetened frozen or canned fruits and berries may be substituted.)
  • Add sugar to taste. Most recipes make a moderately sweet cobbler, but you can always add sugar to taste depending on personal preference and sweetness of fruit.
  • Serve warm. Cobblers are especially delicious when topped with ice cream, heavy cream, or whipped cream.

Using Canned Fruits in Cobbler

When you are in the mood for a cobbler when no fresh fruit is in season, canned fruit is a good option. Water-packed fruits and canned pie fillings are the best choices for quick cobblers. Be sure to drain water-packed fruits unless the recipe calls for water. If so, drain the juice into a measuring cup and add enough water to make the amount called for in the recipe.

Crisps, Crumbles, or Crunches

While cobbler may be the most popular fruit dessert in the South, simple crisps, crumbles, or crunches are also very popular. A crunch is defined as fruit baked between layers of buttered crumbs and served in a square pan. The crumbly topping is typically made of flour, butter, and sugar, but also might call for nuts, oats, spices, and cookie or cake crumbs.

Visit our Cooking with Fruit section or search for Dessert recipes for more tips on preparing fruit-inspired treats.