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Crisps, crumbles and cobblers have a lot in common. For instance:
So what makes them different from one another? We have a set of working definitions we use with an Alberta kitchen in mind, though different countries and regions may use different names or recipe criteria.
Cobbler: A fruit dessert made with a top crust of pie dough or biscuit dough but no bottom crust.
Crisp/crumble: In Alberta, the terms are mostly interchangeable. Both refer to fruit desserts similar to cobbler but made with a brown sugar streusel topping sometimes containing old-fashioned rolled oats. The crisp/crumble is then baked until browned and crisp, as the name suggests.
Brown Betty: A variant on the crisp, Brown Betties are made with alternating layers of fruit with spices and buttered crumbs.
Because there are so many variations on recipes for crisps, crumbles, cobblers and Brown Betties, and because one region’s crisp is another region’s cobbler, don’t judge the recipe by name alone. If you want a biscuit-topped cobbler, look for the biscuit topping in the recipe instead of solely relying on the name.