Traditional cobblers were an English invention which come in both sweet and savory formats. Generally a cobbler is defined as a filling topped with a bread or cake topping. At one point one of the most popular cobblers was a suet pudding with a puff type pastry lid. Many places in England still serve these puddings often in individual servings. I had them a million years ago at a place called the Ale House in Scotland and they were one of the best things I ate. The cobbler took on a different form when the English colonists settled in the Americas and didn’t have access to all the ingredients usually in an English pudding, so they would take fruit and cover it with biscuits or other breads. Light cakes became popular over the years, particularly once boxed cake mixes gained popularity. The term cobbler has come to encompass these covered fruit sauces, buckles, grumps, crisps, crumbles and several other fruit desserts. In Utah these cobblers were a staple of early settlers as they could be easily cooked off in large pots and were a great place for scrap dough and fruit which might be a little bruised or over cooked.
A crumble is a sub-type of cobbler where the topping is a crumbly and, when well cooked, crunchy combination of flours, sugar and butter, sometimes with oats or nuts. This is broken up over the filling and remains as the name would have you believe, crumbled.
I love crumbles, particularly when the filling is apple or peach. I like cakey cobblers better with berry fillings, but each to their own. In the following recipe you can slice peaches fresh, or drain preserved peach slices and use those instead. Either is fantastic!
Utah Peach Crumble
2-3 pounds sliced peaches
1/2 cup vanilla sugar (this is easy to make by putting scraped out vanilla beans in a container of sugar and just letting it sit, regular granulated sugar will work as well)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2-3 Tablespoons Ultra Gel
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
Combine fruit, sugar, nutmeg and vanilla and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes to pull the juices. Add Ultra Gel and stir to combine. Set aside.
Form the crumble by combining flours, sugar, salt, cinnamon and Ultra Gel. Add the beaten egg, stirring lightly with a fork until the mixture is crumbly and moist. Set aside.
Place fruit mixture in a 9×13 inch pan. Cover with crumble. Top everything with the melted butter. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 375 degree oven. Serve warm. (Or eat the next morning for breakfast. It’s pretty darn good cold too.)
Alternatively divide the fruit mixture into individual ramekins, cover with crumble and drizzle with butter. Cook at 375 until tops just begin to brown.