Crisp, crumble, cobbler, buckle, pandowdy or brown betty — there are a lot of terms for fruit baked with flour, sugar and butter. While all of them are a wonderful way to highlight the beauty of perfectly ripe fruit, they all have unique characteristics.

A cobbler is a fruit base with dollops of batter or biscuit-like dough scattered over the top, much like cobblestones.As the cobbler bakes, the top of the dough gets crispy, while the inside is tender, and the bottom is soaked with delightfully sweet fruit juices.

With its cakey texture, a buckle teeters on the edge of the coffeecake category, but it typically contains more fruit. As the batter rises in the oven, it buckles around the fruit, hence the name. It's a delicious dessert that would also be a lovely breakfast treat.

A pandowdy is similar to pie, with the filling on the bottom and a pie-crust topping. But in this case, the crust is broken into an untidy or "dowdied" appearance.

A betty swaps out the typical dough, batter or streusel topping with bread crumbs or cubes mixed with brown sugar and butter, making it a dish that's easy to put together and a perfect way to make use of day-old bread.

Crisps and crumbles both have streusel-type toppings and are so similar that when you read descriptions of the two in cookbooks, they are often interchangeable. If a differentiation must be made, a crumble tends to have a denser topping that often includes nuts, while a crisp usually has looser crumbs that may include oats.

Cinnamon is frequently a flavoring, but don't feel constrained by that one option. In this week's crumble, ginger provides a subtle backdrop to the apple flavor, both in the filling and the topping, where gingersnap cookies are crumbled and mixed together with flour, sugar and butter before being scattered over the top and baked.

All of these options work with almost any type of fruit, but this time of year, why not celebrate Minnesota's pride and joy, the apple. And what's a celebration without ice cream? That's how I suggest serving any of these desserts: warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top.

Gingersnap Pecan Apple Crumble

Serves 6.

Note: Gingersnap cookies and fresh ginger lend a subtle background note to the generous amount of apples in this fall-inspired dessert. From Meredith Deeds.

For the filling:

• 7 Honeycrisp or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4-in. pieces (about 2 lb.)

• 1/3 c. granulated sugar

• 2 tbsp. flour

• 1 tbsp. lemon juice

• 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger

• 1/4 tsp. salt

For the topping:

• 3/4 c. crushed gingersnap cookies (about 15 cookies)

• 3/4 c. chopped pecans

• 1/2 c. packed brown sugar

• 1/2 c. flour

• 1/4 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, melted

• Vanilla ice cream, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

To prepare the filling: Toss apples, granulated sugar, flour, lemon juice, ginger and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in large bowl. Transfer to a 2-quart baking dish and press into an even layer. Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and place on rimmed baking sheet. Transfer sheet to oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until apples have softened.

To prepare the topping: In a small bowl, mix crushed cookies, pecans, brown sugar, flour, and salt; stir in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over filling. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, or until apples are tender and topping is browned. Cover loosely with foil if the topping browns too quickly. Let cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Meredith Deeds is a cookbook author and food writer from Edina. Reach her at Follow her on Instagram ­at@meredithdeeds.