Cobbler, Crisp or Crumble?

We love fruit dessert, especially when it is covered with a warm crunchy topping. You can change up the fruit, the topping, the pan, and even the baking method. But the way we eat it doesn’t change for us - we like it warm with ice cream!

Fruit cobbler is topped with dough that bakes up like a biscuit. The dough can be rolled out and cut like a biscuit or loose and dropped onto the fruit. The idea for this recipe post came from my desire to clean some things out of our freezer. I found frozen biscuit dough that I thawed and cut into smaller circles. The fruit is topped in a way that when baked the biscuits form a cobbled look. I brush the dough with cream and sprinkle with sugar before baking.

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Fruit crisp is topped with a streusel made with flour, oats, fat and sugar. The sreusel can also have nuts and spices.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

The topping for fruit crumble is more crumbly and loose than streusel, and does not contain oats. I often make my crumb topping from leftover cookie or cake crumbs. In addition to the biscuit dough, I found some crumbs in the freezer that I had ground from over-baked almond spice biscotti.

Apple Blueberry Crumble

Apple Blueberry Crumble

I usually start with 6-8 cups of fruit. In the summer I add fresh blueberries to my apples and peaches, then stir in sugar, citrus zest and juice, and flour. The flour helps thicken the fruit so it doesn’t get too runny. Allow the fruit to set for a few minutes with the sugar so the juices start to release. You can see how it forms a syrup and clings to the fruit.

When using rhubarb I coat it with the sugar and flour so it looks “white washed”. Rhubarb needs additional fruit to compliment it. I usually go with a sauce made from strawberries or raspberries. You can also stir in frozen berries. I don’t like to add fresh strawberries or raspberries because they break down and end up stringy.

Be sure to add enough fruit to the pan. I mound it so that when it cooks down my pan is still full. These fruit desserts work in any type of baking pan. I choose my pan based on my baking method. For the oven I use a cake pan, pie pan or cast iron skillet. I put a sheet pan under my baking dish to catch the drips. The fruit dessert needs to bake until the center is bubbly and the top is golden brown. That usually means the fruit around the edge is bubbling over the sides.

I also like to grill fruit dessert and for that I use a cast iron skillet or aluminum pan. They cook up much faster on the grill and I don’t have to worry about drips. I will place my dessert onto the grill at the start of our meal and it is ready in time for dessert. Once the filling is hot, move the pan off the direct heat and allow the top to brown. I have taken fruit crisp to cookouts as my dish to share. Have it all ready to go in a disposable pan, place it on the grill when you arrive, and you’re done!

To my ground biscotti crumbs I added a bit more flour and sugar, then stirred in melted butter and just enough heavy cream to bind them together. The crumbs already had almonds and spices so it didn’t need anything else. I stirred it all together with a fork. I was pleased that my earlier biscotti mistake turned into an easy, delicious dessert!

The streusel is made in the mixer using cold butter. You have to mix it long enough for the clumps to form. You want to see the fruit bake up into the topping so resist the urge to add too much. These toppings are really versatile. Any extra can be frozen and used later to easily top off muffins, pie or your next fruit dessert.


Apple Blueberry Crumble

  • 2 large Granny smith apples

  • 6 small Honeycrisp apples

  • 1 cup Blueberries

  • Zest of 1/2 orange

  • Juice of 1 orange

  • 1/4 cup Sugar

  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

  • 2 T Flour

Crumb topping:

  • 1 cup Crushed cookie crumbs

  • 1/4 cup Flour

  • 2 T Sugar

  • 2 T Butter, melted

  • 1 T Heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Spray pan with baking spray.

  3. Peel and slice apples.

  4. Stir in berries, zest and juice.

  5. Combine sugar and cinnamon, and stir into fruit.

  6. Allow fruit to sit while mixing topping.

  7. Make crumb topping:

  8. Using a fork, mix the crumbs, 1/4 cup flour and sugar.

  9. Stir in melted better.

  10. Stir in heavy cream.

  11. Stir 2 T flour into the fruit and pour into prepared pan.

  12. Sprinkle topping onto fruit.

  13. Place baking pan on sheet pan and bake until fruit is bubbly in the center and topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  14. Check after 30 minutes and rotate pan.

  15. Continue baking and check every 10 minutes.

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp

  • 6 cups Rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1/2 - 1 cup Sugar

  • 1/4 cup Flour

  • 2 cups Berries, frozen or sauce

Streusel topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups Flour

  • 1/2 cup Brown sugar

  • 2 T Granulated sugar

  • 1 cup Oats

  • Pinch of salt

  • 8 ounces Butter, cold cubed

  • 1 - 2 T Heavy cream

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.

  2. Spray pan with baking spray.

  3. Make streusel topping:

  4. Using the paddle attachment combine the dry ingredients on low speed.

  5. Add butter and mix on med-low speed until pea sized crumbs form. It takes a few minutes to fully incorporate the butter.

  6. Drizzle in cream and continue to mix until crumbs start to form a dough. Set topping aside.

  7. Clean and cut rhubarb into 1-inch pieces.

  8. Stir in sugar and flour. Adjust sugar according to sweetness of additional fruit. See note below.

  9. Stir in berries or sauce and pour into prepared pan.

  10. Top fruit with clumps of streusel. You will have extra streusel to save for later use.

  11. Place pan on baking sheet and bake until fruit is bubbly in the center and topping is golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  12. Check after 30 minutes and rotate pan.

  13. Continue baking and check every 10 minutes.

Note: If berries are sweetened then cut sugar down to 1/2 cup. I usually add sauce made from berries that I have cooked down with sugar and then strained. Press down when straining to get some of the fruit pulp into the sauce. You can start with fresh or frozen berries.

Peach Blueberry Cobbler

  • 6 cups (8 medium) Peaches, peeled & sliced

  • 1/2 cup Blueberries

  • Zest of 1/2 lemon

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup Sugar

  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

  • 2 T Flour

  • Biscuit dough

  • Heavy cream

  • Sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.

  2. Spray pan with baking spray.

  3. Peel and slice peaches.

  4. Stir in berries, zest and juice.

  5. Combine sugar and cinnamon, and stir into fruit.

  6. Allow fruit to sit for 20 minutes.

  7. Stir 2 T flour into the fruit and pour into prepared pan.

  8. Place biscuits on fruit leaving space between.

  9. Brush biscuits with cream and sprinkle with sugar.

  10. Place baking pan on sheet pan and bake for 20 minutes.

  11. Turn oven down to 350° and continue to bake until fruit is bubbly in the center and biscuits are golden brown, another 20 minutes or so.

  12. Continue baking if needed and check every 10 minutes.

Biscuit Dough

  • 3 cups Flour

  • 1/4 cup Sugar

  • 1 1/2 T Baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1/2 tsp Cream of tartar

  • 8 ounces Butter, cold or shortening

  • 1 Egg

  • 1 cup Cold milk or buttermilk

  1. If baking biscuits preheat oven to 450°.

  2. Whisk together dry ingredients.

  3. Cut in cold butter or shortening.

  4. Whisk egg into milk.

  5. Slowly work milk into dough until it forms a ball.

  6. Dough will be sticky.

  7. Place dough onto floured counter and knead 20 times.

  8. Pat dough to 1-inch thick and cut into desired size biscuits.

  9. Use biscuits on cobbler or bake on parchment lined sheet pan until golden brown.

  10. Check after 12 minutes and rotate pan.

  11. Continue to bake as needed checking every few minutes.


The fruit dessert tri0 has been fun, and so delicious, but now I’m craving chocolate!