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Recipe Spotlight

Grunt, Slump, and Buckle: Decoding the Odd Names of Fruit Desserts

Rustic fruit desserts are perfect for summer. But what’s up with all the weird names?
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Published Aug. 5, 2022.

The best summer desserts are simple: a chilled slice of watermelon, a couple scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream in a sugar cone, a bowlful of berries or sliced peaches dolloped with whipped cream. 

Only slightly harder to make are rustic fruit desserts like a betty, buckle, cobbler, crisp, crumble, grunt, slump, sonker, or pandowdy. Most of these desserts are delightful in their simplicity and come together quickly in the kitchen. The only trouble is in the naming: No one can seem to agree on what to call them. One cook’s cobbler is another cook’s buckle. 

Here is a short list of the test kitchen’s favorite rustic fruit desserts and the names we use for them.

Betty

Sweetened fruit (typically apples but sometimes rhubarb or bananas) layered with bread crumbs and butter and baked. You can enjoy the sweet-tart flavor profile of Cook's Illustrated's Apple-Blackberry Betty.

Apple-Blackberry Betty
Apple-Blackberry Betty

Buckle

Cake batter poured over fruit (often berries) and baked. Buckle sometimes resembles a streusel-topped coffee cake. Try our fantastic recipe for Mixed Berry Buckle

Mixed Berry Buckle
Mixed Berry Buckle

Cobbler

Biscuit dough dolloped over fruit (most often peaches or berries) and baked to resemble cobblestones. But step lightly when using the name, as in some corners of the country, a cobbler can be a rectangular, double-crust fruit pie or it can be the same as a betty. Our Summer Blueberry Cobbler is a great way to showcase plump blueberries.

Summer Blueberry Cobbler
Summer Blueberry Cobbler

Crisp and Crumble

Fruit (apples and peaches are common) baked under a crunchy streusel topping that often contains oats. Try our Cherry-Almond Crisp for Two.

Cherry-Almond Crisp for Two
Cherry-Almond Crisp for Two

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Grunt and Slump

Not a new workout from TikTok, but rather fruit (almost always berries) cooked on the stovetop under balls of dumpling dough; the dumplings “grunt” under heat. This Blueberry Grunt is a shining example.

Blueberry Grunt
Blueberry Grunt

Sonker

Syrupy cooked fruit topped with a thin, pancake-like batter and baked. Our Lazy Strawberry Sonker is a surefire hit. 

Lazy Strawberry Sonker
Lazy Strawberry Sonker

Pandowdy

Fruit (most often apples) baked under dough or sliced stale bread; the topping is pressed into the fruit while it cooks. Try this recipe for Apple Pandowdy

Apple Pandowdy
Apple Pandowdy

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