Whole oats tend to top a crisp in a streusel-like finish, according to The Kitchn. Meanwhile, a cookie or pastry closes a cobbler, not quite unlike a pie—but not quite the same either, thanks to its lack of bottom crust and deconstructed filling.
Thus, a shoemaker leaves more room for creativity; the pastry ends with a filling of cookies, dough, or even cake batter layered over the filling, according to Food & Wine. One of the most common fillings, cookies usually require a separate recipe that relies on a combination of buttermilk, butter, or heavy cream. The cookies are then shaped and arranged on the filling, via Bon Appetit.
For a crunch, an oatmeal filling is the only choice. Combine oats with butter, flour and sugar for the ultimate finish, according to The Kitchn.
This finish not only differentiates a crisp from a cobbler, but also explains the names. The biscuits spread over the fruit create the effect of a cobbled road, while the oatmeal finish of a crispy baked crunch, adds texture and flavor to the standard filling.
So whether you favor a cobbler or a crisp, both pastries have endless possibilities – neither limited to just sweet. For the innovative gourmands, try the savory with a duck confit cobbler. Although not traditional, this recipe does indeed fall under the cobbler rubric – not crispy; you don’t have to top your dinner with oats, although a cookie is a must.