Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seasonal Fruit and Berry Quick Desserts

It is that time of year, seasonal fruit and a holiday spirit create an oportunity for cobblers, crisps, crumbles, brown betty’s, charlottes, torts, buckles, grunts, slumps, sonkers, and pandowdy’s.

Cobbler - Cobblers are an American deep-dish fruit dessert or pie with a thick crust (usually a biscuit crust) and a fruit filling (such as peaches, apples, berries). Some versions are enclosed in the crust, while others have a drop-biscuit, pieces of crust or crumb topping.

Crisps and Crumbles - Crisps are baked with the fruit mixture on the bottom with a crumb topping. The crumb topping can be made with flour, nuts, bread crumbs, cookie or graham cracker crumbs, or even breakfast cereal. Crumble are the British version of the American Crisp.

French apple charlotte - A classic apple charlotte has a crust of buttered bread slices filled with caramelized apples. Altenatives are made from sautéed sugared apple wedges topped with buttered bread and inverted from the pan like a tarte Tatin. The version given below is my mother’s recipe.

Betty or Brown Betty - A Betty consist of a fruit, most commonly apples, baked between layers of buttered crumbs. Betties are an English pudding dessert closely related to the French apple charlotte. Betty and Brown Betties are popular baked desserts from colonial times.

Grunts or Slump - Early attempts to adapt the English steamed pudding to the primitive cooking equipment available to the Colonists in New Englans resulted in the grunt and the slump, a simple dumpling-like pudding (basically a cobbler) using local fruit. Usually cooked on top of the stove. In Massachusetts, they were known as a grunt (thought to be a description of the sound the berries make as they stew). In Vermont, Maine, and Rhode Island, the dessert was referred to as a slump.

Buckle or Crumble - Is a sheet cake made with berries or fruit added to the batter. It is often made with blueberries, or apples, or peaches. The topping is similar to a streusel, which gives it a buckled or crumpled appearance.

Pandowdy - It is a deep-dish dessert that can be made with a variety of fruit, but is most commonly made with apples sweetened with molasses or brown sugar.First mentioned in print in 1805 in New England. The topping is a crumbly type of biscuit except the crust is broken up during baking and pushed down into the fruit to allow the juices to come through. Sometimes the crust is on the bottom and the desert is served inverted.

Sonker (aka zonker) - A sonker is a North Carolina deep-dish pie or cobbler served in many flavors including strawberry, peach, sweet potato, and cherry. The community of Lowgap at the Edwards-Franklin House, hold an annual Sonker Festival First Saturday in October.

Kae Ottesen’s Apple Charlotte

Fresh white bread as required, all crusts cut off
1 stick softened sweet butter
5 large peeled apples
¾ cup castor sugar
Pinches of salt now and then
Little nutmeg
Drops of lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter well a soufflé mold. Butter the bread on both sides. Tear into 1 inch square pieces and cover sides and bottom of mold. Grate one peeled apple for the bottom, cover with a little sugar scant hint of nutmeg, 2 drops of lemon juice, a small pinch of salt. Cover with bits of bread, add another grated apple, and repeat the process as before and continue until mold is full. Dot generously with butter and top with a little sugar. Bake at 350F for 40 to 50 minutes or until nicely brown. Serve hot or cold serve with French Clotted Cream.

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