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Slice of Life

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Use pears, apples, peaches or whatever fruit you would like in a cobbler or crisp.

Cobbler, crisp in winner taste all

Although many feel that the only rivalries that count at this time of year are the ones between the behemoths of the gridiron like Indiana University and Purdue University (go Hoosiers), New York Jets and New England Patriots, Army and Navy, or even the yearly ancient Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers matchup, I say nah, that’s child’s play compared with what goes on in my kitchen when the cobbler goes up against the crisp. The winner then faces off against Brown Betty.

These fruit-based desserts are truly American in origin, and just to be clear, a cobbler is a deep-dish fruit dessert with a thick top crust (typically a biscuit dough), while a crisp has a crumb topping.

A Betty or Brown Betty is typically made from apples or pears and baked between layers of buttered crumbs.

As for which one of the following recipes gets into the culinary playoffs during football season, well, if it’s Sunday and you’re reading this, the games are already on the TV and you have just enough time to whip one up before halftime.

Just know that if you need to substitute an apple for a pear or a peach, it’s all good.

Raisin Rhubarb Crisp

5 cups sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup, plus 2 tablespoons flour

3/4 to 1 cup brown sugar

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup butter or margarine

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch baking pan and set it aside. In a bowl combine the rhubarb, 1/2 cup raisins and 2 tablespoons flour; place it in the prepared pan. Don’t clean out the bowl just add the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt and then sprinkle it over the fruit. In the same bowl combine the oats, 1/2 cup flour and butter. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle this mixture over the top of the crisp. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly. Serves 8.

Mango Crisp

8 to 9 cups mangos, sliced

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/3 cup butter

1 box golden pound cake mix

1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl combine the mangos, cinnamon and nutmeg and then place them on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan. Place the cake mix in a bowl and cut in the butter until it’s crumbly. Add in the nuts and mix to combine. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and then bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let set for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with whipped topping, whipped cream or ice cream. Serves 8.

Pear and Cranberry Cobbler


2 pounds firm Bartlett pears, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch wedges

1 2/3 cups fresh cranberries (6 ounces)

1 cup sugar

2 (1-by-3-inch) strips orange zest, finely chopped

1/4 cup brandy

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits

Biscuit topping:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup heavy cream, divided

1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and set it aside.

For filling: In a bowl combine the pears, cranberries, sugar, orange zest, brandy and allspice. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pan and dot the top with the butter. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake 20 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until cranberries burst and pears are just tender, 15 to 20 minutes more.

For topping: Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, then add 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cream and stir just until a dough forms. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface (dough will feel dense and heavy; don’t worry).

Gently knead dough six times, then pat out into an 8-inch round (about 1/3 -inch thick).

Cut out as many rounds as possible with lightly floured cutter, transferring to a sheet of wax paper. Gather scraps and pat out once more, then cut out more rounds. (You will have about 16.)

Carefully but quickly, top hot fruit with biscuits, arranging in one layer. Brush biscuits with remaining tablespoon cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Continue to bake cobbler until biscuits are puffed and golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.

– Modified from Epicurious, November 2011, from a recipe by Shelley Wiseman Slice of Life is a food column that offers recipes, cooking advice and information on new food products. It appears Sundays. If you have a question about cooking or a food item, contact Eileen Goltz at or write The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802.