28 Fruit Desserts Easier Than Pie

Pie who? Let me introduce you to your new, totally low-maintenance fruity friends: betty, buckle, crisp, crumble, grunt, pandowdy, and slump.

1. Honey Rhubarb Brown Betty

Cubes of bread go for a happy little swim in melted butter and honey before getting baked on top of the fruit. Recipe here.

2. Peach Brown Betty

This recipe has you break up bread into crumbs in the food processor.

3. Blueberry Buckle

Streusel = crumbs made out of flour + sugar + butter. Recipe here.

4. Nectarine Brown Butter Buckle

Some buckles have you layer fruit on top of the cake batter instead of mixing it in. This is one of those buckles. Recipe here.

5. Rhubarb Buckle

Recipe here.

N.B. Opinions vary infinitely regarding the difference, if there is one, between a crisp and a crumble. One might have oats, but the other might too. According to Gourmet, “A crisp is called a crumble in Britain.” Jolly good, carry on.

6. Rhubarb Crisp

Who says rhubarb always has to drag berries around with it? Not this crisp.

7. Plum Berry Crisp

Recipe here.

8. Cherry Coconut Crisp (Gluten-Free)

Because crisp toppings don’t have to hold together the way something like a cake does, they’re easy to make gluten-free. This recipe uses rice and almond flours.

9. Caramelized Banana Crisp

Don’t jump to conclusions, now. Bananas enjoy a good baking just as much as any fruit. Recipe here.

10. Raspberry Crisp

Play around with adding different nuts to crisp toppings; this recipe uses pecans, which get along nicely with most fruit.

11. Peach and Blackberry Crisp

Recipe here.

12. Pear Ginger Crumble (Gluten-Free)

This recipe uses a mixture of quinoa flour and oats.

13. Blackberry Rhubarb Crumble

Recipe here.

14. Mango Ginger Crumble

Tropical flair! Recipe here.

15. Peach and Pecan Sandy Crumble

The crumble topping here is essentially Pecan Sandies cookies that never quite made it to cookie-hood, which, yum. Recipe here.

16. Blueberry Drop Biscuit Cobbler

Recipe here.

17. Stone Fruit Cobbler

Cornmeal gives these biscuits a nice, slightly crumbly texture. Recipe here.

18. Brown Sugar Berry Cobbler

Recipe here.

19. Cherry Cobbler with Almond–Buttermilk Topping

Cobblers and crumbles are a fun, easy venue for experimenting with flour mixtures; this healthy(ish) biscuit topping uses whole wheat flour, almond flour, and cornmeal.

20. Peach Blueberry Cobbler

Recipe here. Deb warns that a 2-1 peach–blueberry ratio “baked up to taste almost entirely like a blueberry dessert.” So watch your berry count if you want the peaches to come through.

21. Mixed Berry Grunt

With grunts and slumps (which are the same thing), covering the pan cooks the dumplings on top by steaming them. Recipe here.

22. Plum Slump

With slumps, you cook the fruit and sugar into a semi-jammy mixture before adding the topping. Recipe here.

23. Blackberry Slump

Recipe here.

24. Stone Fruit Slump

The dumplings should be dry on top by the end of cooking, but the whole shebang will be much softer and meldier than a cobbler. Recipe here.

25. Plum Pandowdy

Pandowdies = bottomless pies. Pies without pants! In this recipe you use a knife to slice up the top crust halfway through baking, which lets steam out and lets the fruit filling bubble up through.

26. Raspberry Pandowdy

Recipe here.

27. Apricot and Sweet Cherry Pandowdy

Recipe here.

28. Stone Fruit Patchwork Bake

Sort of like a cheater’s lattice pie: You cut the rolled-out dough into squares and then scatter them on top of the fruit. Recipe here.

IN SUMMARY:


A brown betty is the easiest of all: fruit baked with buttery bread crumbs on top.

A buckle is like a coffee cake with fruit inside: cake batter on the bottom, streusel crumbs (flour + sugar + butter) on top.

A crisp and a crumble are the same thing: fruit baked with streusel on top.

A cobbler is fruit baked with biscuit dough on top.

A grunt and a slump are the same thing: fruit cooked with dumplings on top — basically, steamed cobblers.

A pandowdy is a pantsless pie — just a top crust, broken up with a knife.

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