Place of origin
|batter, biscuit, or pie crust; fruit or savoury filling|
|Variations||Betty, Grunt, Slump, Buckle, Sonker|
Cobbler refers to a variety of dishes, particularly in the United States and United Kingdom, consisting of a fruit or savoury filling poured into a large baking dish and covered with a batter, biscuit, or pie crust before being baked. Some cobbler recipes, especially in the South, resemble a thick-crusted, deep-dish pie with both top and bottom crust.
Cobblers originated in the early British American colonies. English settlers were unable to make traditional suet puddings due to lack of suitable ingredients and cooking equipment, so instead covered a stewed filling with a layer of uncooked plain biscuits or dumplings, fitted together. The origin of the name cobbler is uncertain, although it may be related to the now archaic word cobeler, meaning "wooden bowl".
In the United States, varieties of cobbler include the Betty, the Grump, the Slump, the Dump, the Buckle, and the Sonker. The Crisp or Crumble differ from the cobbler in that their top layers are generally made with oatmeal. Grunts, Pandowdy, and Slumps are New England and Canadian Maritimes varieties of cobbler, typically cooked on the stove-top or cooked in an iron skillet or pan with the dough on top in the shape of dumplings—they reportedly take their name from the grunting sound they make while cooking. A Buckle is made with yellow batter (like cake batter), with the filling mixed in with the batter. Apple pan dowdy is an apple cobbler whose crust has been broken and perhaps stirred back into the filling. The Sonker is unique to North Carolina: it is a deep-dish version of the American cobbler. In the Deep South, cobblers most commonly come in single fruit varieties and are named as such, such as blackberry, blueberry, and peach cobbler. The Deep South tradition also gives the option of topping the fruit cobbler with a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream.
The American variant known as the Betty or Brown Betty dates from native times. In 1864 in the Yale Literary Magazine it appeared with "brown" in lower case, thus making "Betty" the proper name. In 1890, however, a recipe was published in Practical Sanitary and Economic Cooking Adapted to Persons of Moderate and Small Means with the word "Brown" capitalized, making "Brown Betty" the proper name. Brown Betties are made with bread crumbs (or bread pieces, or graham cracker crumbs), and fruit, usually diced apples, in alternating layers; they are baked covered, and have a consistency like bread pudding.
In the Midwestern United States, Apple Betty is often a synonym for Apple Crisp.
UK and Commonwealth
In the UK and Commonwealth, the scone-topped cobbler predominates and is found in both sweet and savoury versions. Common sweet fillings include apple, blackberry and peach. Savoury versions, such as lamb, beef or mutton, consist of a casserole filling, sometimes with a simple ring of cobbles around the edge, rather than a complete layer, to aid cooking of the meat. Cheese or herb scones may also be used as a savoury topping.
- Douglas Harper. "Cobbler (n.2)". Online Etymological Dictionary. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "Apple Crisp Recipe". Betty Crocker. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- Davidson, Alan; Tom Jaine; Soun Vannithone (2008). The Oxford Companion to Food. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-280681-5.
- Hinman Abel, Mary (1890). Practical sanitary and economic cooking adapted to persons of moderate and small means. Rochester, NY: American Public Health Association. OCLC 14799381. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
- "Herby Lamb Cobbler Recipe". Good Good. BBC. 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
- "Beef Cobbler Recipe". The Green Chronicle. 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2012.
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