You know what a pie is. Everyone knows what a pie is! But do you know what makes a pie different from a tart? Or a crumble? Or a buckle? It’s okay—we get confused too. The most important thing to remember is that they’re all delicious—and they will all be welcomed desserts at a summer barbecue.
We’re deep diving into the different kinds of baked fruit desserts, from classic pastry dough-clad pies to the more exotic, free form galettes, and everything in between. So stock yourself up on your favorite summer fruits, break out your apron, and let’s get baking!
Ah, pie. The classic American dessert. Sweet, fruity filling nestled between two pillowy sheets of pastry dough, cooked until flaky on the outside and gooey and bursting on the inside—it’s enough to make anyone swoon. Apple and berry pies are classics, but really, the sky is the limit when it comes to which fruits to use in your pie fillings. We love combining tart early summer stone fruits like peaches and nectarines with sweet, peak season berries.
While pies are more typically a deep dish affair, tarts are often made in a shallower, scalloped pan, and thus have a thinner, crisper crust and a higher filling-to-dough ratio. Additionally, while pie filling is usually made up solely of fruit (plus sugar and cornstarch, for a texture boost) tarts are often filled with a pastry cream mixture, and then topped with uniform cuts of uncooked fruit laid out in an aesthetically pleasing design. If you’ve ever dreamed of spelling our your name in raspberries, a tart is the place to make it a reality!
A galette is like pie’s more free-spirited go-with-the-flow sibling. There are no fanciful trimmings or crimped crusts on a galette—it’s all about the rustic, free-form look. You basically roll out your favorite pastry dough, arrange your fruit of choice in the center of the dough (leaving a 1-2 inch ring around the perimeter of your fruit), and then fold the outer edges of the dough over the fruit in overlapping folds as you go. We like to add an egg wash and a sprinkling of coarse sugar to the top of the dough rim, for added shine and crunch, but this isn’t totally necessary.
The one rule that you do have to follow with galettes (yes, even this rule-breaker dessert has a few guidelines) is to not overload the dough, or else you’ll have a major leakage situation.
You can always identify a cobbler by its unique topping—traditional cobblers feature dropped mounds of biscuit or pie dough, which create pools of flaky crust on top of the cooked, jammy fruit. When it comes to the filling, feel free to use whatever seasonal fruit is your favorite (or most available at your market). Even better—mix and match! We love pairing raspberries with peaches, or strawberries with rhubarb. If your mouth is watering already, this guide to the perfect seasonal fruit cobbler will get you started on the right path to crisp, fruity goodness.
If you’re more drawn to the delicious pie filling than the flaky crust, a crumble may be more your speed. A crumble has the same warm, cooked fruit base as a cobbler, but is topped with a crisp, crunchy baked oats mixture, instead of pie dough. And with no dough to fuss over, a crumble comes together quickly, making it a perfect on-the-fly summertime dessert. As with cobblers, you really can’t go wrong with your fruit selection, so pick up a few pounds of your favorite summer fruit and get crumblin’!
As fun to eat as it is to say! Two big differences distinguish a buckle from other baked fruit desserts. First, it uses a batter, rather than a pastry dough or crumble. Second, buckles call for the fruit to be folded directly into the batter, more in the style of a cake or loaf. Think of it like a fruitier, moister coffee cake that comes together in a pinch. We’re into it.
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