Chef Nicole: Blueberry Peach Crumble? Crisp? Betty?

Nicole Straight

One of our family’s favorite summer traditions is going blueberry picking.  We always pick way to many berries and come home wondering what we’re going to do with them.  This recipe for Blueberry Peach Crumble is always at the top of our list. 

Fresh blueberries freeze beautifully.  Simply wash, and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet before transferring to a ziplock bag.  I’ve been asked over the years what the difference is between a crisp and a crumble.  After some research, I found these general definitions,  but the truth is you will not find a universally agreed upon answer.  Whatever you call it, this dessert is simple, summery, and delicious!

Betty — a baked pudding made of layers of spiced and sugared fruit and buttered bread crumbs.

Clafoutis — a French cobbler, with fruit (usually cherries) on the bottom, custard, and a rough batter crust baked on top

Cobbler — a spoon pie (more like a fruit stew with dumplings), in which biscuit dough is dropped onto the fruit before baking. The consensus is that the dish got its name because the lumps of cooked dough resembled cobblestones.

Crisp — a deep-dish fruit dessert made with a crumb or streusel topping and baked.

Crumble — a British dessert in which raw fruit is topped with a crumbly pastry mixture and baked. One reference says a crumble is like a crisp, but not as rich.

Grunt — a spoon pie, with biscuit dough on top of stewed fruit, which is steamed, not baked

Pandowdy — a spoon pie, with fruit on the bottom and a rolled crust on top, which is broken up to allow the juices to come through

Slump — a spoon pie, including cooked or uncooked fruit topped with biscuit dough or piecrust, which can be baked or steamed, and can be made upside down 

Blueberry Peach Crumble

For pie filling:

1 quart fresh blueberries

3-4 peaches, diced

½ C. brown sugar

¼ C. corn starch

1 Tbs. vanilla extract

1 Tbs. cinnamon

3 tbs. unsalted butter, diced

For crumble topping:

½ C. oats

½ C. flour

½ C. almond meal

½ C. granular sugar

5 Tbs. unsalted butter, diced

1 tsp. cinnamon

Optional- 1 pie crust 


Preheat oven to 350. Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and gently toss to coat fruit with cornstarch.  Place pie crust in a pie tin and add filling, draining any excess juice.  Combine crumble topping in another bowl and using fingers, work to combine ingredients until it has the consistency of sand.

Add crumble topping to top of pie.  Place pie on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 1 hour or until crumble is golden brown.

*IMPORTANT NOTE- After much research, we found this crumble is also delicious eaten cold for breakfast.

[Photograph coutresy of Ezra Pound Cake]