Apple Desserts Defined

A trip to a local apple orchard is a fun fall activity.  Part of the fun is deciding on which varieties to pick for the intended use.  Apples fall into two categories–eating or dessert apples OR cooking or culinary apples.  A cooking or culinary apple is an apple that is used primarily for cooking, as opposed to a dessert apple, which is eaten raw.  Cooking apples differ from dessert varieties; they are more tart in flavor and have a firmer flesh that holds its shape better when cooked. Apples and Their Uses offers a guide to a broad selection of apple varieties and their best uses.   Individual tastes and preferences vary, so the list should not be construed as definitive.

Apple crisp

Besides fresh eating, apples are used for a wide variety of desserts with apple pie being king.  As one looks for a recipe, words like betty, buckle, cobbler, crumble, crisp or pan dowdy may be encountered.  All use apples.  How are these desserts different?

Brown Betty:  apples are placed atop sweetened bread crumbs.  Video recipe.

Buckle: a single-layer moist cake with fruit folded into the batter with a sweet crumb topping; a bukle exhibits an indented or buckled top when baked.  Buckles are similar to fruit-filled coffee cakes and have a higher batter-to-fruit ratio than other fruit desserts.  Recipe.

Cobbler: fruit filling on the bottom covered with batter OR pastry or biscuit dough spooned or dolloped atop the fruit.  Recipe.

Crumble: baked fruit with a crisp streusel topping that does not contain oats; baking powder is sometimes added to the streusel to make the crumble more tender.  Recipe.

Crisp: fruit mixture with a cumbly topping that includes oats and brown sugar.  Recipe.

Pan Dowdy: fruit dessert topped with a crust that is “dowdied” or broken and pushed down into the fruit and bubbling juices after baking.  Recipe.

Regardless of how an apple dessert is made, the outcome will be DELICIOUS!

Reviewed and updated, 4-24, mg.

Marcia Steed

I graduated from Iowa State University with a degree in Home Economics Education. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and traveling.

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