Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Cobbler or Crunch: Biscuit vs. streusel toppings

My mom used to make this thing she called Apple Crunch. It was sort of a lazy apple pie. No crust, just sliced apples, kissed with lemon and cinnamon sugar, and topped with streusel. Baked until golden, Apple Crunch was a perfect combination of gooey apples and the crunchy oat streusel. Why don't I make this more often? Probably because of the buttery streusel.

The cobbler topping I've been making lately has a lower sugar and fat content than a streusel. Pictured at left is a peach and blueberry cobbler that I made recently. It was just incredible. Cutting down on added sugar and fat really lets the fruit be the star. I had some great peaches for this cobbler. I keep frozen blackberries on hand year-round so I can turn our a blackberry cobbler if we're in a must have dessert kind of a mood.

Berries and stone fruits go well with either streusel or biscuit toppings. It's only apples that demand streusel. Don't take my word for it - you decide. Fall fruits provide many possibilities.

To make an 8-inch square cobbler or crunch you will need about 6 cups of berries or sliced fruit. Add to the fruit the juice of one lemon, 1/4 cup of sugar (cinnamon sugar works well here) and a heaping tablespoon of flour. Toss well and taste. Add more sugar if necessary, but add it slowly. Let the sugar complement the fruit, not overshadow it.

Top with handfuls of streusel or scoops of sticky biscuit dough and bake until the fruit bubbles up and the top is richly golden.

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