A Guide to End of Season Herb and Fruit Dessert Recipes

A guide to herb and fruit dessert recipes including crisps, cobblers, crumbles, flummery and English grunt.

Apples Betty

Apple Brown Betty with Rosemary.

PHOTO: SUSAN BELSINGER

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Put end-of-season to work with herb and fruit dessert recipes like this Apple Brown Betty with Rosemary 

Buckles, Cobblers, Bettys, Grunts and Slumps might sound like dance moves from the ’70s, but they’ll make your taste buds want to twist and shout. These scrumptious desserts have qualities in common — fruit, flour, sugar and spices — but variations on a theme mean a flavorful variety for you. Just use your imagination and whatever is in season, stir well and say "Mmmmm," and "You’re welcome."

Herb and Fruit Dessert Recipes:

Apple Brown Betty with Rosemary Recipe
Blueberry Buckle with Lemon Verbena Recipe


Peach and Blueberry Crisp Recipe
Pear and Cranberry Crumble Recipe
Plum Flummery Recipe
Sour Cherry Grunt Recipe
Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Recipe 

What will make all the difference is the addition of fresh herbs that harmonize with whatever fruit you’re using to create these herb and fruit dessert recipes.

Generally, the lemon herbs are wonderful additions to most fruit desserts. Fresh bay leaves, red-flowered beebalm, orange mint and citrus-scented geraniums also work well. Hints of mint, anise hyssop and basil often will complement and highlight fruit flavors. To avoid overwhelming the senses, use less of a robust-flavored herb like rosemary or sage, or a highly perfumed herb such as lavender and scented geranium.

Juicy fruits are great for flummeries and biscuit doughs; berries traditionally are used in buckles, grunts and slumps. Apples often appear in brown betties and pandowdies, but pears, Asian pears and even quinces are equally delicious. The stone fruits of summer — peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots — are elegant in a crisp, or more rustic in a crumble or cobbler. For best flavor, serve these fruited desserts warm or at room temperature. Now, try to resist vanilla ice cream or chilled whipped cream to top them off.

What’s the Difference Between These Fruit-Based Desserts?

Betty — A baked pudding or casserole made of alternate layers of fruit, tossed with sugar and spices, and breadcrumbs. Apple Brown Betty made with brown sugar is the best-known betty.

Buckle — A buckle is like a single layer cake; Blueberry Buckle is the best known of the old recipes, but any berry can be used. Buckles most often have crumb toppings.

Crumble — This British sweet is made by covering raw fruit with a crumbly pastry mixture before baking. The crumble often contains oats and nuts, in addition to flour, butter and sugar.

Cobbler — A deep-dish fruit dessert covered with a rich biscuit dough. The fruit is generally thickened with a little cornstarch or flour. Dough is cut into biscuits and the rounds are laid on top.

Crisp — Prepared in a shallow dish with fruit on the bottom and the crisp on top, a crisp can be made with any fruit and usually has a bit of flour or cornstarch added for thickening.

Flummery — A pudding made from stewed fruit, generally thickened with cornstarch, most often berries, sometimes with milk or cream.

Grunt — An old-fashioned dessert from New England, usually made with berries or apples. The fruit is stewed with sugar and a soft biscuit dough is dropped.

Slump — See Grunt.

Email your questions and suggestions for our Comfort Food department to ComfortFood @ Grit.com.