Part of the fun of baking crisps, cobblers, and other baked fruit desserts is going through cookbooks and deciding which recipe to use. I enjoy comparing recipes and seeing what sounds better or what matches the things I have in my pantry. Sometimes I take a little from that one, borrow a little from this one, and nab a little from another.
I wasn’t sure I would be able to find books with either a total focus on baked fruit desserts like cobblers, crisps, and the rest—or even books with a minimum of five recipes. Why five? I don’t know. It just felt like a good number to aim for. Turns out: I did.
What can I say? I enjoy research and, just like I had fun learning about the history of cobblers, crisps, grunts, sonkers, and pandowdy; sifting through cookbooks wasn’t a bad way to spend my time at all. If that doesn’t sound like fun to you, well, then be glad the hard part is done. You get to sit back, relax, and take a look at the slew of books featuring these homey baked goods.
Baked Fruit Cookbooks
Before we get to the good stuff, I want to note that Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie is a newer edition than I have. I used mine to write the blurb below and it is dated 1996, just FYI. I’ve linked to the new edition below. I think that was the only real issue I had this time. Though there is my handy disclaimer at the top, these are all affiliate links. If you click through my link and make a purchase, I get a little compensation from each purchase to help support this site at zero cost to you. It’s a nice, no-fuss way to say, “thanks!”
This article, like any other cookbook articles on this site, will be updated as I discover (or you tell me) about new (or vintage) cookbooks I missed.
250 Best Cobblers, Custards, Cupcakes, Bread Puddings and More (2004) by Esther Brody (Amazon) (eBay)
I’ve raved about Esther Brody’s work before (like when I talked muffin cookbooks). I enjoy her work and this one is no different. If you want a bunch of Esther’s work all rolled into one (including this cookbook), then opt for 1500 Best Bars, Cookies, Muffins, Cakes, & More.
Chapters include: Cupcakes; Cobblers; Crumbles; Crisps; Popovers; Turnovers; Scones; Custards, Crème Brûlée, and Flans; Mousses; Puddings; Bread Puddings; Steamed Puddings; and Sauces.
This publisher doesn’t include many images, but at least each recipe has a nice big font and they don’t cram a bunch of recipes on a page. Each one gets their own space. This 7 x 0.63 x 10 inch, 192-page cookbook follows the usual Robert Rose format so it’s easy to use and easy to see.
250 Treasured Country Desserts: Mouthwatering, Time-honored, Tried & True, Soul-satisfying, Handed-down Sweet (2009) by Andrea Chesman and Fran Raboff (Amazon) (eBay)
Apple Brown Betty, Apple Crisp, Many Berry Crisp, Berry Cobbler, and Blueberry Grunt are a few of the on-topic recipes in this 8 x 1.06 x 9.13 inch, 416-page book. Yes, it’s a bit hefty.
Chapters include: Cookies, Brownies and Bars, Fancy Cakes, Everyday Cakes, Muffins and Scones, Pie and Tarts, Fruit and Nut Desserts, Puddings and Custards, and Ice Cream & Frozen Desserts. Pages don’t include images, but there are illustrations that make it cute. Fortunately, the recipes and other content make it super functional. It’s more than a pretty face!
This is a thoughtful cookbook. Not only does it include a baker’s wish list, those items you need, but keep forgetting to buy, but it also has a great calendar. “Every Day is A Holiday” is a calendar listing of many of the “National” days. You know, “National Apple Dumpling Day” (September 17) or “National Peach Cobbler Day” (April 13) and that type of thing.
American Desserts: The Greatest Sweets on Earth (2003) by Wayne Harley Brachman (Amazon) (eBay)
This book has a great dedication: “For Violet Mae, Your great-grandpa Sam came to America to find freedom. The cake was pretty good, too.” There may not be many images, but every recipe includes an intro and a call-out. The call-out is a bit of history, a recommendation, or a variation.
Chapters include: Red, White and Blueberry Desserts; Pies, Tarts, and All Sorts of Fillings; Cobblers, Buckles, Pan Dowdys, and All Their Cousins; Cakes and Plenty of Frosting; Puddings and Custards; Doughnuts and Other Fried Doughs; Cookies, Brownies, and Bars; Ice Cream and Sherbet, and Sauces and Toppings.
Pear Cobbler with Hazelnut Biscuits; Apple Raspberry Cobbler with Pecan Biscuits; Blackberry Rhubarb Crisp; Peach Pandowdy; Berry, Berry, and More Berry Grunt or Slump; and Sour Cherry Brown Betty are all waiting for you in the 7.52 x 0.94 x 9.39 inch, 256-page cookbook. Whatever it is—it’s good, just like the rest of the content in this American-centered book by a dessert chef and former Food Network host. Don’t worry, it’s not a dry read at all. You’ll find a little humor and a lot of “must make” desserts.
Beatrice Ojakangas’ Light and Easy Baking: More than 200 Low-Fat and Delicious Recipes for Cookies, Cakes, Pies, Desserts, and Breads (1996) by Beatrice Ojakangas (Amazon) (eBay)
I admit I steer clear of anything proclaiming itself to be low fat. I like butter, full-fat buttermilk, actual ice cream, and sugar in my hot tea. But Beatrice’s 7.57 x 0.84 x 9.57 inch, 240-page cookbook doesn’t make me want to launch it out the window. As stated in the intro, “If a recipe can’t be successfully adapted to a reduced-fat version, it’s not in this book!”
Chapters include: Cookies; Cake; Cobblers, Crisps, and Puddings; Pies, Tarts, and Pastries; Muffins; Quick Breads and Spreads; Yeast Rolls and Buns; Yeast Breads; Whole-Grain Breads; Stuffed Breads; and Bread Machine Breads and Doughs.
You’ll find Beatrice’s successful adaptations of Apple-Raspberry Cobbler, Summer Fruit Cobbler, Maple Apple Crisp, Blueberry-Peach Cobbler, and Berry Cobbler. Each recipe includes nutritional information so you know where you stand. Don’t expect images. Beatrice shares a tidbit about each recipe, sometimes briefly stating how a thing got its name or how she lightened up the recipe from its traditional form. I like reading her work and, surprisingly, this book was no different.
Better Homes and Gardens Fruit desserts (1996) by Better Homes and Gardens (Amazon) (eBay)
As I’ve said so many times, this book matches the usual Better Homes and Garden format, so you won’t have any surprises. It is a 8.25 x 0.75 x 8.75 inch book typical of their sizing with 144 pages. While you don’t get the commentary or story kind of writing with this book, each recipe usually includes a blip at the top to alert you of easy swaps or serving tips.
Each page has a red block at the top that includes the name of the chapter. It’s handy for fast flipping so you can see where you are versus where you need to be, at least once you know the cookbook. Chapters include: Fruit Specialties; Pies and Pastries, Baked in a Dish; Sweet Chills; and Cakes, Cookies, and More. There is a metric conversion chart at the back of the book for handy reference.
Picture it: Peach-Praline Cobbler, Cherry-Berry-Crisp, Pear-Butterscotch Betty, Plum Cobbler, and Fresh Berry Crisp. Bright and bold images accompany every recipe. So, too, do nutrition facts per serving. It’s not something often found in a cookbook so if you need such an animal, you’ll find it right here in a trusted cookbook name.
Betty Crocker’s Old-Fashioned Cookbook (1990) by Betty Crocker (Amazon) (eBay)
I swear my grandma had the white tablecloth shown on the two-page spread at the beginning of the book. This is my kind of a cookbook. Recipes include little snippets and new chapter intros include observations on food of a long ago time.
Chapters include: Hors d’oeuvres and Canapés; Poultry, Fish and Shellfish; Beef, Veal, Pork and Lamb; Soups, Bisques, Chowders and Stews; Potatoes, Grains, Macaroni and Eggs; Vegetables, Fruits and Salads; Biscuits, Muffins and Quick Breads; Coffee Cakes, Rolls and Yeast Breads; Puddings, Custards and Creams; Pastries, Pies and Cobblers; Cakes and Desserts; Cookies and Sweets; and Condiments and Preserves.
Enjoy 246 pages in an 8 x 0.75 x 10.25 inch book. You expect our kind of fruited goods to appear in a cookbook like this—and they do. Apple Cider Brown Betty, Cherry Crisp, Fresh Peach Cobbler, Blueberry Grunt with Custard Sauce, and Apple Pandowdy. There are images, but they do not accompany every recipe. It is a delight.
Betty Crocker’s Picture Cookbook: Revised and Enlarged (1956) by Betty Crocker (Amazon) (eBay)
This 8 x 8 x 2 1/2 x 10-inch, 472-page cookbook is one hard-hitting dose of nostalgia in a five-ring binder package. More than 2,000 recipes, amazing illustrations, tips, and advice make it a hugely satisfying read.
Tabbed chapters include: Special Helps; How to Do; Meal-Planning Table Service; Appetizers; Beverages; Quick Breads; Yeast Breads; Cakes, Frostings; Confection; Cookies; Desserts; Eggs; Main Dishes; Meats, Fish; Pies; Salads; Sauces; Soups; and Vegetables. Every recipe in a section is located on the chapter’s tabbed page, though there is still an index.
Find the Apple Crisp, Brown Apple Betty, Canned Fruit Cobbler, and Fresh Fruit Cobbler in the Desserts chapter.
Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (1979) by Better Homes and Gardens (Amazon) (eBay)
Everyone’s mom had the red and white checked cookbook. Now, I’m that mom. You can be that person too. My 1979 edition (6th printing) states that “18 million homemakers use this bestseller.” I love the beginning sections that feature the super modern test kitchen with lots of blue (even a blue countertop on the island). It’s groovy.
Take a step back into 1970s flair with this five-ring binder style cookbook with chapter tabs. Chapters include: Appliance Cooking; Barbecues and Easy Meals; Appetizers and Beverages; Breads; Cookies and Cakes; Candies; Canning and Freezing; Casseroles and One-Dish Meals; Desserts; Meats; Pastry and Pies; Poultry, Fish, and Eggs; Salads and Salad Dressings; Soups and Sauces; Vegetables; Meal Planning and Nutrition; and Special Helps.
Cobbler and crisp and fruit baked dishes lurk in the Desserts section of the 9.5 x 1 x 10 inch, 436-page book. Fruit cobblers include variations like Cherry, Peach, Apple, and Rhubarb. There’s a recipe for an Apple Fruit Betty and one for Apple Dumplings. Most recipes don’t have images, but man, oh man, the images there are definitely capture the time period.
Biscuits, Spoonbread, and Sweet Potato Pie: 300 Recipes that Celebrate the Glories of Southern Baking—with a Generous Accompaniment of Historical Lore (1996) by Bill Neal (Amazon) (eBay)
Roly Poly, Sweet Potato Roly Poly, Pear and Plum Cobbler, Peach Cobbler with Clabber Biscuits, and Fruit Crackle will give you a few different ways to use your favorite fruits (and veggie). I like that this cookbook includes more lesser-known fruit desserts. I mean, how many cookbooks with roly poly have you seen?
Chapters include: The Gift of Corn; The Pride of the South; Mostly Breakfast Cakes; Yeast-Risen Breads; From our British Heritage; Rice, Rye, Whole-Wheat, and Oatmeal Breads; Confections and Sauces; Fruit Desserts; Cooling Off; Delectables; Cookies and Small Cakes; Pies, Tarts, and Sweet Dumplings; and Home-Baked Cakes.
This 336-page, 7.25 x 1 x 10 inch cookbook is a blend of recipes, commentary and food-related history. If you enjoy a good cookbook read, take a closer look. Some recipes did appear in Gourmet (1990), but you’ll find plenty to keep you busy. Bill Neal passed away in 1991. If you aren’t familiar with his work, hunker down, and get reacquainted with a southern cookbook author known for good home cooking.
Calling All Cooks (1982) by Telephone Pioneers of America, Alabama Chapter No. 34 (Amazon) (eBay)
Picture your favorite community or church cookbook. Now, super-size it. This 6 x 1.5 x 9 inch cookbook has a whopping 738 pages. Luckily, it boasts a nice-sized font, so it’s easy to read, even though you won’t find images or any illustrations other than what accompany a chapter page. My mom gave me my copy and it is fun.
Chapters include: Appetizers, Beverages, Party Foods; Breads, Rolls; Cakes, Fillings, Frostings; Candies, Cookies; Casseroles, Pastas; Desserts, Pastries, Pies; Dressings, Sauces, Soups; Jellies, Pickles, Relishes; Meats, Beef, Game, Poultry, Seafoods; Salads; and Vegetables.
Crusty Peach Cobbler, Fruit Cobbler, Lazy Man’s Cobbler, Old Fashioned Cobbler, Apple Walnut Cobbler, and Apple Pandowdy give you options in the whole fruit dessert arena. My copy states that more than 550,000 copies have been sold, so you know the rest of it has to be good too.
Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie: Comforting Baked Fruit Desserts for Chilly Days (2010) by Ryland Peters and Small (Amazon) (eBay)
This cookbook has since had a new release. I’m not sure how they differ, so you can find the new version of Cinnamon, Spice, and Warm Apple Pie (2020) here. The 2010 book is fairly packed with recipes. In addition to gorgeous pic of the finished dessert, there are often other images on a page like a basket of berries or a plate of pears.
Chapters include: Crumbles and Streusels; Cobblers and More; Bettys and Crisps; Clafoutis, Slumps, and Puddings; Pies, Tarts, and Strudels; and Dessert cakes. Browse among Nutty Plum Crumble, Pear and Chocolate Crumble, Apricot and Almond Slump, and Mango and Coconut Macaroon Crisp. Maybe you’ll decide to whip up a pan of Peach and Amaretti Crisp or Apple, Prune, and Armagnac (or Cognac) Phyllo Crisp. I do wish we were neighbors.
Recipes include a brief intro before you get to the good stuff. It’s a 7.75 x 1 x 9.5 inch book with 160 pages. And every inch of it is just beautiful.
Cobblers (2002) by Camille Le Foll and Akiko Ida (Amazon) (eBay)
This 68-page book is all cobblers, all the time. Sweet or savory, you can use this cookbook to serve cobblers for dinner and then for dessert. I kid, but it does at least help you see the possibilities that exist once you venture out of the “only fruit cobbler” rut. I’m not judging. I’m there too.
This cookbook doesn’t have chapters. Instead, it lists all the recipes over a two-page span. Yes, there are fruit cobblers, and that is where this book begins, with fruit-based dishes. These include Spicy Pear Cobbler, English Summer Cobbler, and Apricot and Lavender Cobbler.
You’ll see some of the more unique flavors like White Chocolate Cobbler, Iced Coffee Cobbler, and Dark Chocolate Cobbler. Then, you’ll discover an assortment of savory cobblers like Savory Tomato Cobbler, Mediterranean Cobbler, and Moroccan Cobbler. It might be the push we need to give a dinner cobbler a go. Cobblers for every meal!
Classic Southern Desserts: All-Time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream & More (2010) by Southern Living (Amazon) (eBay)
Some recipes include call-outs, like “Kids Love It” or “Holiday Favorites” or “Chocolate Decadence.” Recipe font may prove a little small for some bakers, but each recipe includes a full-color image to go along with it. Some also include a tip or a brief intro. It’s a 7.5 x 0.75 x 9 inch book with 344 pages of Southern desserts.
Chapters include: Luscious Layers and Other Cakes; Crunchy Cookies and Chewy Bars; Cheesecakes to Die For; Old-Fashioned Pies, Cobblers, and Tarts; Sweet Breads and Coffee Cakes; Bread Puddings, Custards, and More; Ice Cream and Frozen Desserts; and Test Kitchens’ Guide to Successful Baking.
Sure, there’s a basic Apple Brown Betty and Blackberry Cobbler, but also spins on classic favorites. These include Double-Crust Peach Cobbler (because the crust is the best part!), Apple-Gingerbread Cobbler, and Sweet Potato Cobbler. Some recipes start with a mix, which is disappointing, but there are homemade recipes too. New bakers: Don’t miss the tip section at the back of the book for recipe success each time.
Cobblers, Crumbles & Crisps and Other Old-Fashioned Fruit Desserts (1991) by Linda Zimmerman and Peggy Mellody (Amazon) (eBay)
Chapters include: Cobblers, Pandowdies, Slumps, and Grunts; Crumbles, Crisps, and Bettys; Dumplings, Pies, and Tarts; Shortcakes, Batter Cakes, and Buckles; Fritters, Fools, and Other Fruit Favorites; and Master Recipes.
More than 50 fruit-filled recipes will give you a great place to start if you need a few new ideas (and some well-written recipes). You could start with Brandied Apricot Cobbler, Cinnamon and Orange Scented Plum Pandowdy, Apple Quince, or Dried Cherry Pandowdy. That’s not even all of them. Boysenberry-Peach Slump, Apple-Cheddar Crumble, and White Peach and Mango Betty fill in any gaps.
Some recipes include variations so you can switch out fruits and still ensure success. No images, but illustrations similar in style to those found in Elizabeth Alston’s cookbooks. You knew I’d find a way to mention her here, didn’t you? At 122 pages, it’s a nice read and a valuable resource when it comes to preparing these crumbly, bubbly, fruity baked desserts.
Cooking for Young Homemakers By Food Editor Ruth Berolzheimer (Amazon) (eBay)
Apple Slump, Apple Grunt, Toasty Prune Betty, Peach Betty, Banana and Apple Brown Betty, Cranberry Nut Cobbler…well, you get the idea. This meaty vintage cookbook has a slew of those fruit desserts (or breakfast. Don’t judge). You remember my love of menus? Try 700 of them in all their 1950s glory, sorted by month dinners and luncheons, plus breakfast menus, including wedding breakfasts, heavy summer breakfasts, and P.T.A. Brunch.
The list of chapters is loooong. Are you ready for it? Chapters include: Your 2,000 Facts About Food; Your Menus; Your Soups and Chowders; Your Breads, Biscuits, and Rolls’ Your Sandwiches; Your Snacks and Appetizers; Your Leftovers; Your Egg Dishes; Your Fish and Sea Food; Your Meats; Your Poultry; Your Fresh Vegetables and Potatoes; Your Salads’ Your Pies and Pastries; Your Desserts; Your Refrigerated Desserts; Your Cakes; Your Cookies; Your Candies; Your Dairy Dishes; Your Canning, Freezing and Preserving; Your Sauces, Gravies, and Dressings; Your Dishes for Children; Your Lunch Box; Your Meals for Two; Your Quick Dinners for the Woman in a Hurry; Your Beverages; Your Cheese Dishes; Your Fine Art of Carving; your Table Setting and Entertaining; and Your Pressure Cookery.
A second list of chapters highlight “happy occasions.” I’m not going to list them as they coincide with the same starting page as the actual chapters I listed above. Just for an example, “Your 2,000 facts about Food” is listed on the second page as “Science in the Kitchen.” “Your Poultry” is listed as “Thanksgiving Dinner” and “Your Dishes for Children” is also listed as “The Halloween Party.” The 6 x 3 x 9 cookbook boasts tabbed chapters in hardcover format. I could keep going on about how wonderful this info-packed cookbook is, but I’ve already gotten sucked into it for half an hour, so I need to go put this one away before I quit writing altogether.
The Cook’s Bible: The Best of American Home Cooking (1996) by Christopher Kimball (Amazon) (eBay)
I think it’s fun to check out the pricing and info accompanying the older models for the “must-have” items (and their specs) from 20 years ago. But bypass the product reviews and recommendations to get to the good stuff: Almost 450 recipes and commentary on one cook’s idea of what makes a recipe the best of the best. There are also a few pages of cobblers and crisps, with master recipes and their variations.
Chapters include: What to Buy for the Kitchen; Should a Good Cook use a Microwave Oven?; How to use Knives; An Illustrated Guide to Quick Fruit and Vegetable Preparation; Thirteen Common Vegetables and How to Prepare Them; Potatoes Explained; Steaming Vegetables; How to Roast Vegetables; Salas, Relishes, and Chutneys; The Secrets of Salad Dressings; How to Build a Salad; Improvising Soups; Cooking Perfect Rice; What to Do with Dried Beans; The Best Way to Cook Grains; Pasta Sauces; How to Make Homemade Ravioli; An Illustrated Guide to Shellfish; How to Cook Fish; Basic Sauces for Fish and Shellfish; Boning, Butchering, and Carving; How to Sauté Boneless Chicken Breasts; The Best Ways to Roast a Chicken; How to Fry Chicken; How to Cook a Turkey; Improvising Stuffings; The Cuts of Meat; How to Roast Meat; How to Braise Meat; Making a Tender Stew; Stocks and Sauces;; How to Marinate Meat, Fish, and Poultry; Grilling and Slow Barbecue; The Barbecue Rub and Sauce; How to Stir-Fry; Quick and Easy Homemade Pizza; The Secrets of Yeast Breads; How to Make Dinner Rolls; Pancakes, Waffles, Muffins, and Biscuits; How to Cook an Egg; Perfect Piecrust; How to Thicken Fruit Pies; Custard Pies, Chiffon Pies, and Holiday Pies; The Best Chocolate Cake; Angel, Sponge, and Chiffon Cakes; Baking a Cookie; The Perfect Brownie; Mastering the Soufflé; How to Poach Fruit; and Baked Fruit Desserts.
Okay, so those aren’t like traditional chapters, but I guess you get a pretty darn good feel for the contents inside the 7.13 x 1.25 x 10 inch, 443-page cookbook.
Crisps, Cobblers, Custards & Creams (2016) by Jean Anderson (Amazon) (eBay)
You know Jean Anderson. Yes, you do. She’s written more than 20 cookbooks, is a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, and her work is in all the big food publications. This book focuses on everything we’re talking about. How about that?
Chapters include: Crisps and Cobblers, Custards and Creams, Bread Puddings and Steamed Puddings, Miscellaneous Puddings, and Sauces and Toppings. It’s 8 x 1.12 x 9 inch-cookbook and over 300 pages. There’s even a section for notes, which I appreciate (even though I know I would still make my notes on the actual recipe). You can find a few related recipes in her From a Southern Oven cookbook too.
With a full chapter on all of these comfy cozy desserts (breakfasts!), I’m having a rough time deciding what to share with you. Apple-Cheddar Crisp, Pick-Your-Own-Peaches Crumble with Ginger Shortbread, and Roasted Rhubarb Cobbler with Whole-Wheat Topping sound pretty good. So, too do the Golden Delicious Apple Crumb Betty; Berry Patch Cobbler with Pecan Shortbread Crust; and the Red, White, and Blueberry Cornbread Cobbler. That’s not all, so hop to it and check this one out.
Delicious Crumbles & Cobblers (2007) by Love Food/Parragon (Amazon) (eBay)
Experience a whole new world (cue Disney music), when it comes to cobblers. More than the sweet cobblers you are used to, this one includes a bunch of savory versions.
Chapters include: The Classics, Contemporary Twists, Cobblers and Beyond, and Nice ‘n’ Spicy. If you are familiar with the format of the Love Food books, this mimics the rest. Color images pair up with each recipe, the instructions are clear, and in the case of this book, measurements are listed as both metric and imperial. You can always figure out the conversions using an online converter if you don’t use a scale. I would suggest writing your changes in your cookbook so you always have it.
Spiced Mango and Blueberry Cobbler, Beef Cobbler with Chili, Winter Vegetable Cobbler, Mixed Fish Cobbler with Dill, plus Pear and Nectarine Cobbler with Almond Liqueur. Did you ever? No? Me, neither. This is a 8.75 x 0.5 x 8.75 inch cookbook that’s almost 100 pages of dishes both savory and sweet.
Farm Journal Cooking for Company: More than 900 Extra-Delicious Recipes and Menus plus “Hostess How-to” — Ideas for Entertaining, Party Favors, Food Garnishes, Serving a Crowd (1968) by the Food Editors of Farm Journal (Amazon) (eBay)
No one said you had to pull out all the stops when you entertain. Sometimes, the coziest and homiest of desserts end up creating a stir. There is just something about a cobbler or a crisp or a slump that’s appealing and homey. It’s also unexpected.
Chapters include: How to Make Food Taste Wonderful; Hearty Main Dishes; Vegetables Country Style; Colorful Salads and Salad Dressings; Homemade Country Breads; Country-Best Cakes, Cookies, and Pies; Great Country Desserts; Beverages, Snacks, and Appetizers; Cooking for a Crowd; and Cooking over Coals. A separate list includes a short selection of “Hostess How-To.” These chapters include: How to Plan Company Menus, How to Set an Attractive Table, How to Dramatize Food with Garnishes, and How to Serve Guests Graciously.
“When the branches of peach trees bend and a blue haze covers blueberry patches, that’s summer signaling that it’s time to make cobblers,” reads the Cobblers are Country Fare (page 248) section. Poetic and true. Fresh Peach Cobbler, a Peach Cobbler Ring, Fresh Blueberry Cobbler, and Winter Cherry or Winter Peach Cobbler mark the beginning of the fruit desserts. Add in a crisp, crumble, and a dumpling recipe, and look at all the options you’ll have on your next baking day.
Farm Journal Country Cooking (1959) by Food Editor Nell B. Nichols (Amazon) (eBay)
I’m sure I’ve mentioned Neighbor Donna before. She’s since passed away, but I can’t see a Farm Journal cookbook without remembering her and her Farm Journal Cookbooks perched on top of her refrigerator. They were her favorite. I spent some very lovely mornings hanging out in her kitchen and reading her cookbooks—after I’d fixed her desktop computer.
Chapters include: Company Specials, Dishes to Tote, Eating Outdoors, Cooking for a Crowd, Coffee Break, The Cookie Jar, Meats, Chicken and Other Poultry, Potatoes, Eggs, Butter and Cream, Milk and Cheese, Apples, Special Sweetenings, From the Garden, From the Freezer, Homemade Relishes, From Stream and Field, Make-Ahead dishes, Quick and Easy, Cooking, Master Recipes, Money-Maker Recipes, Old-Fashioned Recipes, Regional Dishes, and Guest Cooks in Our Test Kitchens.
Mincemeat Brown Betty, Apple Walnut Crisp, Blueberry Betty, Raspberry Crisp, and Two-Fruit Cobbler will tempt your taste buds. At 422 pages, with more than 1000 recipes, the “32 pages of full-color illustrations” are simply delightful. So, too, are the intro chapters. If you like vintage cookbooks, you’ll love everything about this 6 1/2 x 1 1/2 x 9 1/2 book.
Fix-It and Enjoy-It Cookbook: All-Purpose, Welcome-Home Recipes 2006) by Phyllis Pellman Good (Amazon) (eBay)
You may be familiar with the New York Times bestselling author thanks to her “Fix-It and Forget-It” series, and her slow cooker cookbook. Who didn’t have that cookbook? This cookbook, however, focuses on every day kind of meals, snacks, beverages, and dessert. Just like the title implies, it is full of good general recipes. It’s one of those cookbooks that list the name and location of the recipe submitter. I enjoy seeing where people are from and if it’s anywhere I’m familiar with.
Chapters include: Appetizers and Snacks; Breakfast and Brunch Dishes; Breads; Soups, Stews, and Chilis; Main Dishes; Pastas and Pizzas; Grilling; Vegetables; Salads; Desserts; Snacks, Candies, and Beverages, and Extra Information.
Make any day a good day with Rhubarb Crisp, Apple-Pear Crisp, Fruit Cobbler, Cherry Berry Cobbler, or Ultimate Apple Crisp. It’s a 7 x 0.9 x 9 inch cookbook with 284 pages, no images, but the simple instructions more than make up for it. This is a pantry-friendly kind of cookbook.
Fruit Desserts! (1987) by Dorothy Parker (Amazon) (eBay)
Look to the lengthy intro sharing tips for success and heaps of fruit facts and info. Expect lower amounts of sugar in the recipes, relying instead on the fruit’s natural sweetness. The author suggests turning to your own taste buds when it comes to varying that amount. Sound advice.
Chapters include: Quick No-Cook Concoctions; Quick Custards, Molds, and Fools; Fruit Puddings and Soufflés; Tarts, Pies, Crumbles, and Cobblers; Cakes and Bars; Frosty Delights; and Miscellany and Exotica. Now, what about the goodies inside of them? You’ll find her recipes for Green Apple Betty, Apricot Nut Crumble, Peach Crisp, Berry Cobbler, and Mulberry Cobbler. No images, but there is an apple illustration topping each page for a little of that 1980s country style we know and love.
The 8 x 6-inch book is 175 pages, but the introduction (and all the related info that goes along with it) is substantial. She often includes a little one-paragraph (or couple sentence) story with the recipe, which you know I love. Unlike some all-fruit cookbooks, expect recipes for things that aren’t fruit-based, but do benefit from a fruit topping (like cheesecake).
The Good Housekeeping Cooking (1963) by Food Editor Dorothy B. Marsh (Amazon) (eBay)
I still remember when I snagged this cookbook at an antique shop in a small town where we lived several houses ago. I sat outside and read while our oldest (there wasn’t a youngest then) played with cars and trucks in the yard. I think that’s the first time I read a cookbook to read a cookbook. Not because I was looking for a specific recipe, but for the fun of it. This cookbook was a good choice for such things. It’s a goldmine of betty, cobbler, and dumpling recipes.
But, first things first. Chapters include: Salads; Salad Dressings; Favorite Quick Breads; Breads and Rolls You Buy; Delectable Yeast Breads; Let’s Have Sandwiches; To Sauce the Dish; Wonderful Ways with Fruits; Dreamy Desserts; Pies that Please; Ice Cream and Sherbets; Our Best Cakes; Fillings and Frostings; For the Cookie Jar; Sweets to Make; Drinks—Hot and Cold; When There is Wine; Freezing, Canning, and Jelly Making; Cooking for a Crowd, and the Bountiful Barbecue.
“Dreamy Desserts” includes subchapters (like the rest of the book), and that’s where you’ll find the fruit desserts. Find ’em under “Desserts to Bake ‘N’ Serve. Old-Fashioned Peach Dumplings and variations, Pear-Butterscotch Crisp, Apple Brown Betty, Banana-Coconut Betty, Caramel-Peach Crunch, Carolyn’s Apple Pandowdy, Brazil Betty, plus a few more related recipes, are a different take on the classic recipes. It’s a 7 x 2 x 10-inch book with occasional color images and tons of information.
Grandma’s Great Desserts (1996) by Country Store/Reiman Publications (Amazon) (eBay)
You know this brand and the community-styled sourcing they do for recipes. The name and location is listed of whomever shared the recipe, which I love. While color images (and some illustrations too) are included, they aren’t with every recipe. As with their work in general, they include scratch-made and boxed mix+ recipes.
This cookbook includes baked fruit desserts like Blueberry Slump, Apple Pandowdy, Rhubarb Cobbler, Cherry Grunt, Zucchini “Apple” Crisp, and a few others. Chapters include: Cakes and Tortes; Cheesecakes; Cobblers, Crisps, and Kuchens; Cookies and Bars; Ice Cream Desserts; Puddings and Pies; and Quick and Easy Desserts.
It’s a 8.25 x 0.5 x 11.25 inch cookbook just a shade under 100 pages. They include some stories from cooks too, so you can learn what makes a recipe special. Some call-outs include a tip or trick to improve your baking skills. It’s a tall, thin volume packed with (mostly) home-style goodness.
Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats : A Baking Book (Amazon) (eBay)
Joy’s bubbly personality makes even fruit baked deserts seem hip and lively. You’ll find a fair assortment here, like Apple and Fennel Brown Betty, Berry Breakfast Cobbler with Oatmeal Drop Biscuits, Peach Cobbler with Orange and Cinnamon Dumplings, Strawberry-Ginger Crumb Cobbler, and Pear Cranberry Pecan Crumble.
Chapters include: Brunch; Cookies, Brownies, and Bars; Pies, Crumbles, and Cobblers; Layer Cakes, Cupcakes, and Skillet Cakes; and Ice Cream Social. As joy says, “I may not put on a pastry chef coat every morning, but knowledge and confidence in the kitchen don’t always come from a fancy uniform.” This book will help you get there.
With 125 recipes, 433 pages, and images with every recipe in the 8.34 x 1 x 9.36 inch cookbook, you’ll soon leave this one lightly dusted in flour and smeared with butter, as it should be.
The Madison County Cookbook: Homespun Recipes, Family Traditions, and Recollections from Winterset, Iota—The Heart of Madison County (1998) by Members of the St. Joseph’s Church in Winterset, Iowa (Amazon) (eBay)
Country-style illustrations adorn most pages in the 6 x 1.75 x 8.25 inch, 512-page cookbook. Chapters include: Appetizers, Dips, and Beverages; Breads; Brunch; Cakes and Frostings; Candy; Cookies and Bars; Desserts; Herbs; Meats, Main Dishes, and Meatless Main Dishes; Pies; Salads and Dressing; Soups and Sandwiches; Tea Time; Vegetables; Recollections and Stories; and Advent and Christmas.
Wash-Day Peach Cobbler, Rhubarb Cobbler, Cherry Cobbler, Apple Crisp, Cherry and Apple, or Cherry Crisp are the crispy/cobblery-type recipes in this church community cookbook. It’s a mix of recipes and stories pertinent to the area and the church (but mostly recipes).
Martha Stewart’s Fruit Desserts: 100+ Delicious Ways to Savor the Best of Every Season: A Baking Book (2021) by Martha Stewart (Amazon) (eBay)
It’s Martha Stewart. You know what to expect (quality, classic, good). So, let’s look at the kind of dishes we’re interested in at the moment: Huckleberry Cobbler, Mini Peach Cobbler, and Plum Blackberry Cobbler. Feast your eyes on Nectarine and Raspberry Crisp or Mixed Berry Grunt that certainly fit the bill. Add in Strawberry and Apricot with Pine Nut Crumble Crisp or Pear and Apple Phyllo Crisp for a new variation on our old faves.
Chapters include: Autumn, Winter, Spring, and Summer. Yes, this all-fruit, only-fruit cookbook provides you with plenty of recipes to jazz up every season with in-season fruit. Concise directions with helpful tips won’t leave you guessing.
This 7.7 x 0.95 x 10.25 inch cookbook is 256 pages of Stewart-style recipes, beautiful photography, and a wonderful mix of classic combinations and some not as familiar selections or, at least, fruits I don’t generally bake with. These include (at least to me) huckleberry, quince, and passion-fruit.
Rustic Fruit Desserts: Crumbles, Buckles, Cobblers, Pandowdies, and More (2009) by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson (Amazon) (eBay)
This title was a Gourmet Cook Book Club Selection. Gingered Peach and Apple Pandowdy, Lemon Blueberry Buckle, Caramel Peach Grunt, Huckleberry Buckle with Vanilla Drizzle, Fig and Mixed-Color Raspberry Crumble, Sour Cherry Cobbler, Apple and Black Currant Brown Betty, Nectarine Boysenberry and Almond Crisp, Stone Fruit Slump 7.28 x 0.86 x 8.24 inch 176 pages
Organized by season, this book is packed to the gills with comforting, cozy recipes. Images are few and far between, but the clear directions, kitchen tips, and call-outs telling you where to look for more info will keep you zipping along with ease. I like how each recipe includes the baking time, so right away you know how long your dessert will bake in the oven.
Slow Cooker Desserts: Hot, Easy and Delicious Custards, Cobblers, Soufflés, Pies, Cakes and More (2013) by Jonnie Downing (Amazon) (eBay)
Dust off your slow cooker. Put it to good use all year round. Say “hello” to Fall, or Winter, Spring, and those cooler days of summer with the delicious, hearty recipes found inside this cookbook.
Chapters include: Cakes and Cheesecakes; Cobblers, Crisps, and Other Fruit Desserts; Custards and Puddings; Cookies, Brownies, and Bars; Fruit Compotes, Spreads, and Sauces; and Emergency Desserts.
Apple Brown Betty, Cherry Crisp, Pineapple Crisp, Fruit Crisp, Mini Berry Cobblers, and Peach Cobblers, and Blueberry Cream Cheese Cobbler. Keep your kitchen cool and surprise the fam with their favorite desserts (breakfasts!) any time. There are many color images in the 6.75 x 0.25 x 9.25 inch and 160 page book, though not images with every recipe.
Sweet Taste of History: More Than 100 Elegant Dessert Recipes From America’s Earliest Days by Walter Staib (Amazon) (eBay)
More than the still famous women of an earlier time (like Dolly Madison or Martha Washington), this book includes the recipes of other historic women who, though well-known in their day, may have faded a bit from common lore. There are 100 recipes and 256 pages in the 7.84 x 0.82 x 9.52 inch cookbook.
Chapters include: Beverages; Cakes; Cobblers and Crisps; Pies and Tarts; Custards, Puddings, and Foods; Cookies; Quick Breads; Pastries; Ice Creams and Sorbets; Petits Fours and Sweetmeats; and Crusts and Complements.
Ready for a bit of history in a mouthful? Try Apple Cranberry Cobbler, Peach and Raspberry Cobbler, Rhubarb and Strawberry Cobbler, Apple and Fig Crumble, Apple Cranberry Cobbler, or Pear and Sour Cherry Crumbler. This book is a remarkable look back at an earlier time, and all the desserts (fancy or otherwise) in fashion in the late 1700s. Cookbook readers, reenactors, and anyone interested in early American cooking should gobble this one right up.
Pie Camp: The Skills You Need to Make Any Pie You Want (2020) by Kate McDermott (Amazon) (eBay)
If you were looking for old-fashioned sort of fruit desserts, you might have passed this one by, thinking it wouldn’t hold such things. That would be a terrible error. Pie Camp is fun and friendly—and contains plenty of the baked fruit-centered desserts you’re craving. Chapters include: Pie Tools and Ingredients, Dough, Fruity Pies, Creamy Pies, Kitchen Cupboard Pies, and Extras.
You’ll find Mixed Berry Slump, Baked Apple Granola Dumplings, Angel’s Creeping Crust Cobbler, Kate’s Peach Berry Sonker, and Banana Rhubarb Crisp, plus a couple more. It’s also the second time I’ve seen bananas included in these kinds of recipes, so call me intrigued. It’s a 8.4 x 1.2 x 10.4 inch, 344-page cookbook.
Details make the difference. If I had to say what makes a cookbook great, as opposed to merely good, it wouldn’t be step-by-step images (though this cookbook has them), it would be a bit of humor thrown in there too. #NailedIt. Baking shouldn’t be such a serious business. Her #1 rule then and now, “Keep everything chilled, including yourself.” Read it, laugh, and then bake your pants off.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library: Fruit Desserts (1994) by Williams-Sonoma (Amazon) (eBay)
It’s a short ‘n sweet focus on fruit dessert—and it isn’t the only fruit-based title in their collection, as you’ll see in a sec if you keep on scrollin’ down. This book and the next one below are two different books, with recipes by two different authors, published a decade apart. These recipes are from Lora Brody so it’s pretty much a must in my book.
Like plenty of other cookbooks based on fruit, Fruit Desserts also uses organization by the seasons. Chapters include: Basic Recipes, Finishing Touches, Spring and Summer Desserts, and Fall and Winter Desserts. Now for the good stuff. You’ll find recipes for Cranberry-Apple Slump, Blueberry Crisp, Fresh Peach Kuchen, Three-Berry Cobbler, and Rhubarb-Strawberry Brown Betty.
It’s a 8.75 x 0.5 x 8.75 inch, 108-page cookbook. As is common with Williams-Sonoma, there are lovely color images with every recipe. Each recipe begins with a little blurb, which could contain a bit of origin history or a helpful tip. Cups, ounces, and grams are a part of each ingredient list. Edible serving ideas are a fun bonus.
Williams-Sonoma Collection: Fruit Dessert (2005) by Williams-Sonoma (Amazon) (eBay)
This Williams-Sonoma cookbook offers up fruit-based recipes by Carolyn Beth Weil (former bakery owner, food writer, and pastry chef). As is usually the case with Williams-Sonoma books, each recipe includes a glossy color image of the finished product, along with measurements in cups, grams, and ounces. This book is no different. Expect a serving suggestion, technique or ingredient tip, or baking advice with the recipes.
Chapters include: The Classics, Quick and Simple, Crisps and Cobblers, Pies and Tarts, Puddings and Frozen Desserts, and Special Occasions. As for the recipes, you’ll find a nice assortment to change up your baked fruit dessert rotation. Apricot-Almond Crisp, Harvest Fruit Pandowdy Pie, Peach and Pistachio Cobbler, and Cranberry and Pear Crumble make you want to grab an apron and a wooden spoon like its 1799.
Flip to the back of the book for a primer on baking terms and a few basic recipes to add to your arsenal. It’s a 8.25 x 0.7 x 9 inch, 120-page book. At just over 40 recipes, it may not be the largest book you own, but it may be one you can’t put down.
The Yellow Farmhouse Cookbook (1998) by Christopher Kimball (Amazon) (eBay)
I already included Christopher’s first book, The Cook’s Bible, above. But, this version also includes a selection of cobblers, crisps, and betties. Some are master recipe with variations. There are differences between the recipes in the newer version, and even among the crisps, as well as other recipes unrelated to this article (like the slow roasted turkey temperature, for example) so if you don’t have either, and want one, opt for the newer version first. You can always snag the older issue later (because they are still two different cookbooks).
Chapters include: The Country Kitchen, The Soup Pot, The Root Cellar, Rice and Beans, Covered Dish Suppers, Noodles and Macaroni, The Chicken Coop, The Meat Locker, The Summer Garden, Country Bakery, Farm Breakfast, The Cookie Jar, Cakes, The Dairy, The Apple Orchard, Summer Fruit, On the Farm for the Holidays, and Preserving.
Summer Fruit, the chapter that leads to plenty of crisp, cobbler, grunt, and pandowdy recipes is a good read. Cookbook readers who appreciate a blend of history, early and modern farming stories, and personal tales, with the reasons behind why a recipe is made a certain way—well, this book is for you.
Cookbooks with Comfort Food Dessert Recipes
Okay, what did I miss? Please let me know of any great cookbooks that are either baked fruit focused or have at least five cobbler, crisp, grunt, slump (and so on) kind of recipes. Leave your faves in the comments below or please get in touch.
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