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Mar 27, 2011 12:45 AM

Cobbler - batter on top or below the fruits?

I noticed that cook's illustrated lists two types of "cobbler" recipes--batter style and cookie dough style. One where you melt butter in a pan and put batter on top, with the fruits on top of that (batter style). The other type involves putting the fruit first, often heating it in the oven, and then layering the batter on top (cookie dough style). The latter also uses eggs and a higher butter to flour ratio)

Which one do you prefer? Batter at the bottom or on top?

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  1. Both are good, but I prefer the batter on the bottom. It produces and nice, sweet chewy crust that is slightly flavored by the fruit. It also is faster and easier to put together - no dough rolling!

    1. I prefer the batter on top. The crunch of the browned top, along with the softer texture of the baked topping, contrast nicely with the soft sweet fruit and a dollop of whipped cream takes it to heaven.

      1. Being from New England where fruit cobblers, crisps, and such are bountiful, I believe the word "cobbler" refers to the cobblestone-like appearance of the dough spooned on top of the fruits. So fruit on the bottom, dough on the top is more traditional.

        That said, what you prefer is a matter of personal taste. Whatever works. My preference is the traditional way.

        This Web site contains some nice explanations:

        1 Reply
        1. re: TrishUntrapped

          That ochef link is a nice summary of names.

          is another thread from a couple of years ago about the variety of names and forms

        2. Neither ~~ Layered fruit and pastry dough...Fruit, a layer (strips) of slightly browned dough, fruit, repeat two to three times....Lattice on top...

          Fun & Enjoy!

          13 Replies
          1. re: Uncle Bob

            Sounds like more of a pandowdy than what most people think of as cobbler, which can be biscuit, pie dough, or cookie-dough topped, or made with a fruit-topped batter.

            In case the OP is looking at the original CI batter recipe, which is wrong:

            1. re: greygarious

              According to this definition, and others a "Pandowdy" it is Not!!! ~~~ I watched many times as my grandmother made Huckleberry Cobbler using this method. ~ Fruit on the bottom. then a layer of pastry dough cut into strips and randomly placed on top of the fruit....this was placed in the oven until the dough was browned.. the layering was repeated as many times as needed...mostly twice, sometimes three times depending on the size cobbler she was making. The top layer of dough was always latticed...She learned this method from her Grandmother, as well as her MIL..I have never seen (in cookbooks, internet, etc) or heard of this method outside of my very extended family, nor several other families in this region...For us...Cobbler it is!!


              1. re: Uncle Bob

                I've never hears of that, but it sounds fanstastic!! Your grandmother obviously put a lot of thought and work into her cobbler. Getting that extra browning on the each layer of crust must really amp up the flavor. What sort of dough did she make?

                And while I continue to drool on your post...Are huckleberries the long-ish berries that grow in actual trees rather than bushes? I had a berry for the first time this summer and could not believe how delicious it was. they were falling out of a huge tree into the bed of our truck, and after I got through eating the ones that fell in there, I started picking them up from the parking lot and blowing off the gravel dust prior to eating ;-) My husband said he thought it was a huckleberry.

                1. re: danna

                  I don't know what huckleberries look like, but mulberries grow on tree-like bushes. They are dark blue-purple-back, from half to an inch long, and rather narrow - probably half as wide as they are long.

                  1. re: greygarious

                    Huckleberries, at least in western states, are a variety of wild blueberry (Vaccinium parvifolium) (but not all blue). There may be other local usages for the name.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      hummm....these berries were falling from a huge tree big enough to have been an oak. western NC.

                    2. re: danna

                      Dough is basically a scratch pie crust. ~~ Mulberries grow on trees...some big enough to climb ~~ Huckleberries grow on bushes ~~ You were parked under a mulberry tree.

                    3. re: Uncle Bob

                      I've had a recipe for years, of unknown provenance, called "Crusty Peach Cobbler" that uses this exact technique. I like it because you wind up with lots of flaky crust instead of a sometimes soggy bottom crust, especially when using high-liquid fruits like peaches. Some people would probably identify the final product as a deep dish pie rather than a cobbler but no matter what you call it, it's good.

                      1. re: mandycat

                        mandycat, would you mind posting your recipe, please. My paternal grandmother always made her cobblers like this and they were absolutely delicious.; but she was so intimidating, I never thought of asking for her recipe.

                        1. re: Wtg2Retire

                          Crusty Peach Cobbler

                          The recipe calls for a lightly buttered 8-inch square pan. I use a round 1.5 quart glass casserole dish. One of these days I mean to try this as a savory dish with a chicken pot pie filling. I guess I'll have to call it a pie then; no one is going to come a-running for "Chicken Cobbler."

                          About 8 cups sliced fresh peaches
                          2 cups sugar
                          2 to 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour (depending on how juicy peaches are)
                          one-half teaspoon ground nutmeg
                          one teaspoon vanilla extract
                          one-third cup butter or margarine
                          Pastry for double-crust pie

                          Combine peaches, sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a Dutch oven; set aside until syrup foams.

                          Bring peach mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, and cook until tender. (I like my fruit pies al dente, so I cook the peaches less than five minutes.)

                          Remove from heat; add vanilla and butter, stirring until butter melts.

                          Roll out one half of pastry on lightly floured surface into a 1/8 inch thick round.

                          Spoon one half of fruit mixture into casserole and top with the pastry round. Bake at 475 for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon remaining fruit over pastry.

                          Roll remaining pastry to 1/8 inch thickness and cut into one-inch strips. Arrange on top of fruit in lattice pattern and bake another 15-18 minutes or until browned.

                          Serve in bowls. Good with vanilla ice cream. (But you knew that already.)

                          1. re: mandycat

                            Thank you so very much. Can hardly wait to try this.

                  2. re: Uncle Bob

                    Uncle Bob that's the way my mother made in Mississippi you must be from the south

                    1. re: Cherlynhill

                      Yes ma'am, I'm an American by birth and a Southerner by the grace of God!

                  3. I have never heard of a cobbler with the crust on the bottom...or in the middle.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: sunshine842

                      The 1997 Joy of Cooking has a chapter on American Fruit Desserts. It says cobblers are usually made with the fruit on the bottom, but sometimes with fruit on top. All others have fruit on the bottom (grunts, crisps, etc).

                      1. re: paulj

                        I kinda figure that by the time you take a bite, it doesn't really matter much....I'll keep making mine with the crumbs on the top because that's how I've always made them, and I like the look of a golden crumb or crust...but if someone wants it upside down...<shrug>