Variations on the theme include crisps, crumbles and buckles. French-derived clafoutis has become another popular alternative, making its way onto many restaurant menus.
Crisps and crumbles are close cousins, with recipes calling for toppings made with sugar, butter, flour and often oatmeal, sprinkled over fruit and baked until it's crisp and crumbly.
We went back to a classic "Joy of Cooking" recipe that uses ginger snaps to make rhubarb crisp, and added another twist with a bit of candied ginger. The result is a sweet-tart-spicy dessert that begs for a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of ice cream.
If cobbler is like easy pie, buckle is like easy cake, with fruit folded into a rich batter.
Our version, baked in a cast iron skillet, has peaches and blueberries in a mixture spiked with rum and topped with pecan streusel. The caramel flavor and eat-it-with a-fork texture conjures a fruity blondie.
Far from cobbler, clafoutis is a sweet custard poured over fruit and baked like a tart. For an elegant summertime treat, we used a mix of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, finished with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
Mixed berry clafoutis
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1 cup raspberries
1 cup blackberries
1 cup strawberries
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 325.
In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, cream and vanilla until frothy. Add the flour and whisk until smooth.
Grease a 6 cup baking dish and arrange the berries in the bottom of the dish. Pour over the egg mixture and bake for 55 minutes until set and golden.
Dust with powdered sugar to serve.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 252 calories (percent of calories from fat, 65), 4 grams protein, 18 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 19 grams fat (11 grams saturated), 141 milligrams cholesterol, 43 milligrams sodium.
Peach blueberry buckle with rum and pecans
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for skillet
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon or more to taste
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 pounds peaches, pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (4 cups)
1 cup blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, 9-inch square baking pan, or 2-quart shallow baking dish.
In a large bowl, cream butter and 3/4 cup sugar with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add rum and eggs, one at a time, and beat to combine.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat until incorporated to make a batter. Fold in peaches and blueberries. Spread batter in prepared skillet.
In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle mixture over top of batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and topping is golden, 45 to 50 minutes.
Let cool 20 minutes before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 336 calories (percent of calories from fat, 45), 5 grams protein, 41 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fiber, 17 grams fat (8 grams saturated), 112 milligrams cholesterol, 181 milligrams sodium.
Ginger rhubarb crisp
2 pounds rhubarb stalks, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup candied ginger, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 cups ginger snaps, such as Anna's, crumbled
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat oven to 350.
In a medium bowl, toss the rhubarb and candied ginger together, mixing thoroughly. Transfer to a large baking dish. Sprinkle 2 cups of the sugar over rhubarb mixture and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine crumbled ginger snaps, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Using a pastry cutter or two table knives, work butter into the ginger snap mixture until it resembles coarse meal flecked with pea-size pieces of butter. Scatter topping evenly over rhubarb mixture.
Transfer dish to oven and bake until topping is golden brown and rhubarb is soft, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Set aside to cool on a wire rack at least 10 minutes before serving warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 511 calories (percent of calories from fat, 40), 3 grams protein, 76 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams fiber, 23 grams fat (13 grams saturated), 54 milligrams cholesterol, 240 milligrams sodium.
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