Connie MooreMy friend Betty decided to bake dessert for her family. She pondered over not what they wanted, but what she had on hand.

Her countenance was about to crumble when she discovered some crisp apples in the refrigerator. She had flour, brown sugar, and butter, but she questioned her baking skills when it came to pies as a crispy yet flaky crust was essential. All thoughts of pie buckled as she slumped to the table in despair. She really didn’t have baking skills. But still ... dessert was a must for this bird’s nest of hungry kids.

She ended up cobbling together a deep dish dessert of enormous and amazingly tasty proportions. Soft, tender fruit bathed in a brown, sugary, buttery syrup under a layer of golden-brown biscuit, over which was a shiny glaze of sugar and cinnamon.

If you are still wondering what kind of desserts we’re highlighting, "cobbler," "crisp," "crumble," "slump," and "bird’s nest" were hints that deep dish fruit and biscuit or oat toppings are in season! As October cool evenings, cold mornings, and warm afternoons work their way into our lives, fruits of all sorts can be highlighted in these old-fashioned dishes. Cobbler is the basic word usually used for these desserts, but upon research, some rather odd names present themselves.

Betty, or Brown Betty, uses fruit — usually apples baked in layers of buttered bread crumbs. Later, graham cracker crumbs were introduced. The term "Betty" relating to the dessert had its beginning as far back as 1864.

Crisps and crumbles are fruit mixtures baked with a crumb topping consisting of nuts, bread crumbs, oats, or crushed cookies mixed with butter and spices. "Crumble" is the English version of North America’s "crisp."

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