The Difference Between Various Fruited Desserts

The Betty, Buckle, Grunt, Pandowdy, Slump, Cobbler and the Other 3 Cs

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When you have fresh or canned fruit and you want to make a simple cooked dessert that isn't a pie or cake, what do you call it? There are several different terms you'll see as the title of recipes: Apple Betty, Blueberry Buckle, Apple Pandowdy, Peach Cobbler, Cherry Clafouti, Peach Crisp, Apple Crumble, plus Grunts and Slumps.

Most of these are baked, while grunts may be boiled or stewed. To make matters even worse, some recipes are called one thing (like a cobbler) but are really another (like a crisp). You can't trust the title of the recipe to be true to the traditional form. Use these proper definitions of each type of dessert to clarify what each should be called. Then, enjoy making one with your fruit.


This baked dessert dates back to the colonial times. The most common Betty is the Apple Brown Betty which is made with brown sugar. A Betty also calls for buttered bread crumbs.


Buckles are baked and are usually made in one or two ways. The first way is that bottom layer is cake-like with the berries mixed in. Then the top layer is crumb-like. The second way is where the cake layer is on the bottom of the pan, the berries are the next layer and the top is the crumble mixture. Blueberry Buckle is the most prevalent Buckle recipe found.


This is a dessert that originated in the French countryside. It is a dessert that the fruit is topped with either a cake or pudding topping. The Clafouti is often considered a baked pudding.


The fruit filling is put in a deep baking dish and topped with a biscuit dough. The dough may completely cover the fruit or it may just be dropped in handfuls. Either way, a cobbler is baked.


In this baked dessert, the fruit filling is covered with a crunchy topping which is crumbled over the top. Often oatmeal is used, and you can even make a crisp with canned fruit and instant oatmeal.


Similar to the Crisp, the topping is crumbled over the fruit filling in the pan and then it is baked. While crisps often use oatmeal, crumbles often use flour.

Pandowdy or Pan Dowdy

You'll find both spellings in this baked dish. The dough is on top of the fruit and although it is rolled out, it ends up being crumbly. Molasses may be used as the sweetener for a rustic touch.


A Grunt is a stewed or baked fruit dish. The biscuit dough is rolled and put on top of the fruit. The name of Grunt may have come from the noise people made while eating it. Grunts are also known as Slumps, although slumps may be served inverted.


A Slump dessert is the same as the Grunt, except that it is served inverted on a serving platter, similar to a pandowdy.