I recently was working with several West Indian people, and we had in interesting conversation. What was the subject?...WELL, if the title didn't give it away yet, COBBLERS! For some reason, they made the weirdest faces when I asked them if they wanted any extra cobbler. They acted like I asked them to eat dirty socks lol I decided to take the debate to the only place that could settle a debate of this magnitude...social media lol So, I asked my friends and followers why West Indians seemed to hate cobblers so much. In my mind, I thought, surely if you can eat porridge, you can give cobbler a chance. The answers I received ranged from, it's just not something we grew up with to it looks weird to the flavors seem imbalanced. SO, when my first grade teacher asked me if I was sharing recipes, I decided to give you one that everybody I know, EVEN west indians can't get enough of.
First things first, what the heck is a cobbler anyway?! Well first off, lets tell you what a cobbler IS NOT! Depending on what part of the country you're in, you may have heard of cobblers, crisps and crumbles. In other circles, WITHIN those circles, you may have heard of brown betties, quicks and layered. A cobbler is in it's essence, is fruit baked in dough. I know, I know, that sounds like a pie...but it's not. SO a cobbler is NOT a pie, as pies tend to be between dough or only have dough on the bottom. Cobblers are also not cakes. In it's truest most traditional form, that also means it cant be a crumble or crisp as there's no dough involved. So what makes it a cobbler and NOT a pie? Typically cobblers are fruit either placed in a pan and dough is placed on top, fruit that's mixed with batter of varying viscosities or fruit layered alternately with batter or dough.
So, what about Grunts, Slumps and Dumps? Some consider Grunts and Slumps cobblers because they're built in a similar fashion but cooked on the stove top, Grunts with dumpling dough and slumps with yeasted dough. This is why purists don't consider them cobblers. Dumps on the other hand, are fruit dumped into a pan, followed by dumping cake batter on top and baking. It's the baked fruit with a cake on top which again doesn't fit the purist view of cobblers.
There's the Pan Dowdy, which is fruit baked under pie crust dough, but towards the end of baking, the crust is broken up and mixed into the baking fruit and allowed to finish baking. I'll let you decide for yourself if it's a cobbler. Don't worry we're almost done lol
You have the Buckle which is a cake batter, topped with fruit and streusel and baked.
Sonkers are EXTREMELY Regional to the Carolinas. It's very "soupy" fruit baked with a cakelike batter, biscuit, bread crumbs or pie crust dough. Once it's finished, it's then doused with a Milky sugar glaze. Though this does have most of the trademarks of a cobbler, some don't consider it so due to the glaze and sometimes being made with almost a soupy cake in mind. LASTLY, we have the Boot. Admitedly, this is the version I know the least about. Honestly, if you search for a recipe, you'll most likely end up with results for building a desert boot lol
Now that all of the crumble and crisp people have logged off, lets get to the different types of TRUE cobblers. The 3 types I'm aware of at least are Brown Betty, Layered and Quicks.
Brown Betty is not referring to the ACTUAL dessert called a brown betty, rather the bread pudding-like texture of a brown betty dessert. In this version, the fruit is placed in a pan typically braised as a coulis, fruit with a thickened syrup, then batter is poured on top and extra fresh fruit is placed on top. It's then baked until the knife comes out mostly to completely clean depending on your desired level of gooiness. The second kind is a layered. This one also has fruit that's in a syrup or one that with the right ingredients, will release it's liquid and form a gooey sauce. This one is alternating from fruit to batter or thin layers of dough just like a dessert lasagna. Some people do this one as a single layer, using anything from biscuit dough to dumpling dough to batter or puff pastry dough on top. This is the main one I grew up on and I would guess might be the most widely identified version. This is the one most people would slap somebody over! The last one is called a quick cobbler. In this one, you have fruit in a syrup and you take all the dry ingredients and mix them together in a separate bowl. Then you mix the dry into the fruit with the syrup using the syrup as the liquid. The reason this is called a quick cobbler, far less steps with a pleasant cobbler result. SO with that all out of the way, I'm going to give you a recipe that's been pretty reliable for me. You can sub essentially any fruit that fits your tastes. Lets see if you can guess which style cobbler I used :)
Apple Cherry Cobbler
2 Ea Apples Sliced
1 Cup Pitted Cherries
2 Tbsp Orange Zest
1/2 Tsp Nutmeg
1 Tsp Cinnamon
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
3/4 Cup Sugar
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Tbsp Melted Butter
Preheat an oven to 350 Degrees. In a bowl, mix apples, cherries, orange zest and spices, place half in a greased pan. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda and baking powder, slowly whisk in butter and milk. Add batter on top of the fruit, then add remaining fruit to the top of batter. Bake in oven for 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
Whelp, now you know! So don't go offending anybody calling everything cobblers and such anymore lol