Nothing says summer more than fresh blueberries. After picking 10 pounds of berries this weekend I wanted to bake the family a treat. Upon checking my cookbooks for a recipe, I was overwhelmed by all my choices and confusion set in. These baked wonders come in a variety of names and varieties. Cobble, Crumble, Brown Betty, Pandowdy, Buckle, Slump or Grunt, they all combine fruit and a flour topping. Here is how they differ:

Cobbler: a deep dish of fruit which is baked and has a biscuit crust which is “cobbled” together and sprinkled with sugar. Sometimes the biscuit is on top and under the fruit.

Crisp: a combination of flour, sugar and butter, is crumbled together and is sprinkled over the fruit before baking. Sometimes oats, chopped nuts or cookie crumbs are added to the topping.

Crumbles: the English name or version of a crisp, which has a shortbread-like topping of flour, sugar, oats and brown sugar.

Buckle: a combination of biscuit batter with a streusel topping. The fruit is mixed into the batter instead of laying beneath the topping. The most popular is blueberry buckle.

Brown Betty: originating in Colonial America, like bread pudding. It contains lots of fruit, buttered bread and cream. Most often apples are the fruit of choice. The topping is usually layered into the fruit before baking.

Slump: an old fashion New England dessert. This dessert is made on the stovetop instead of the oven. Dollops of biscuit dough cover the fruit. A skillet with a tight lid need to be used for this recipe to be a success. The dumplings set up on the top of the fruit, but do not brown using this cooking method.

Grunt: same as a slump and found in Massachusetts. The name grunt was given to this dish as it was said that during the cooking process a grunting sound could be heard coming from the covered skillet.

Pandowdy: another deep-dish fruit dessert made from sliced fruit, sugar, spices topped with a biscuit batter, which is baked in the oven. During the last few minutes of baking the crust is cut up and pressed into the fruit mixture. Apples, molasses and brown sugar are used in a classic pandowdy. The name originated probably because of its appearance.

Now that you know the difference between a Buckle and a Slump why not give one of them a try. Here is a recipe you may enjoy.

Blueberry Slump



1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tbsp sugar

2 Tbsp butter

1/3 cup milk


4 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1/3 cup water

Vanilla ice cream or whipping cream for serving


For the Dumplings:

1. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

2. Cut the butter into small cubes and use clean hands to work the pieces of butter into the flour until the mixture resembles a coarse meal.

3. Make a well in the center and add the milk. Mix together with a fork or wooden spoon just until the dough comes together. Form it into a ball. Do not knead or over work it or the dumplings will be tough.

For the Blueberries:

1. Place the blueberries, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, lemon zest, and water into a 2-quart saucepan. Stir so that the berries are well coated. Heat on high heat until the berries start to boil.

2. When the blueberry mixture is boiling, pull off clumps of dumpling dough from the ball of dough and place on top of the berries. You should have enough dough for 6 dumplings, so portion accordingly.

3. Cover the pan, and lower the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 25 minutes.

Do not uncover to peek at the dumplings while cooking! The dumplings need the steady steam and pressure from being covered to cook properly so they are light and fluffy.

Portion into individual serving bowls and top with vanilla ice cream or whipping cream.

Lenelle Bear is the Nutrition Links regional coordinator, which is one of the many programs of Penn State Cooperative Extension.

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