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There was a time when pots were rare. People's only options were to roll a dough that could hold the filling and bake it. Those ancient time crusts served both as something edible and a container for cooked foods.
The pie concept emerged, traveling to the US from Ancient Egypt. Then in the mid-nineteenth century, evolved cobbler, which is a close relative of the old-fashioned fruit dessert, pie.
But, how exactly are the two different?
Today, we will settle the debate of cobbler vs pie.
What is a pie?
A pie is a baked dish that you can eat from every corner of the container. You can dig into the sides to get the pie crust, eat the filling with the top crust, and even when you are about to finish it; you will again get to eat the crust.
Pies are typically enclosed baked dishes with a crust to hold a filling. The ancient concept of using the crust as a container would ultimately seal the contents of a pie inside a dough crust.
However, now we have come to terms with some filling peeking from the inside of the crust. Yes! This non-fancy description belongs to the fancy lattice pies. Still, we haven’t forgotten the old relatives that would seal the entire dish in a ‘coffin.’ Now, we have more sophisticated versions like a double-crust pot pie.
Apart from the double-crust pie, you can find single-crust pie that use a crust at their bottoms only.
Today, pies have two main categories — Sweet and savory. The sweet pie category is dominated by apple pie, peach pie, or any seasonal fruit pie, depending on where it is prepared.
All these pies use crusts made of flour, water, and some fat like butter or lard. So, here’s some more information about the types of these pie crusts:
Types of pie crusts
Modern baking in the US emphasizes learning four types of pie dough methods:
Flakey American Pie Crust
This type of pastry uses cold butter that you rub into the flour to get an uneven, flaky-textured pie crust.
The rest of the three types come from France, so please look up the pronunciations.
Pate Brisee has similar ingredients as the American crust, but the incorporation method is different. You can make this type of dough by mixing flour, cold butter, and cold water in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.
The resulting crust is ideal for savory pies.
Pate Sucree uses flour, eggs, sugar, and butter. While the other types directly incorporate all ingredients, this one works like cakes. You need to cream butter and sugar first and then add other ingredients.
The crust thus formed is light and crispy, suitable for baking sweet pies.
Pate Sablee is the most unconventional of all the crusts. It is the most delicate and the hardest to master. Although it contains similar ingredients as Sucree, the preparation stands it apart as a crumbly sweet crust best for fruit pies.
With these pie crusts, you can keep experimenting with your fillings. Some days after the summer orchard pick, you can bake blueberry or strawberry pie using the Sablee crust. Other days, a beef or pork pie will work with Pate Brisee.
What is a cobbler?
Experts believe that a Cobbler is a type of pie that originated in the 1850s. The idea of a cobbler is to cook a fruit dessert covered in some crust. The crust doesn’t need to be fancy. It can be anything like a biscuit dough or any batter like a cake mix.
The early American settlers adopted the idea of baking a dish with whatever ingredients were available from the British. The concept emerged from the steamed puddings English people used to make that transformed into modern-day cobblers.
Typically sweet, a cobbler primarily consists of a thin and flaky crust.
Today, a cobbler only has a crust on top of the fruit filling, either fresh fruit, or pie filling. Still, in nineteenth-century culinary literature, there were mentions of using pastry dough as the base and topping of the dessert.
A cobbler gets its name from the cobbled paths in the early era. The uneven top of a cobbler looks like an unpaved, or cobbled road, hence the name. The dessert has many variants and cooking methods depending on where you’re eating it. Here’s a broad overview of how Cobbler changes forms in different regions of the world:
Eaten in the Eastern American coastal region, grunt gets its name from the sound, a grunting noice, the fruit filling makes while cooking under the biscuit topping.
Dump cake is also an American dessert classified as a cobbler. The dessert gets its name due to the fruit filling and cake batter dumped in a pot before baking them together.
Only found in North Carolina, Sonker is a deep-dish cobbler. Although natives do not count it as a cobbler, it falls in the same category with a juicier texture and always a huge serving size.
Betty is another type of American cobbler that uses bread or bread crumbs in the top crust. The brown betty dessert uses fruit and crust in alternative layers too.
Finally, it's time to settle the Cobbler VS Pie differences.
Cobbler VS Pie
Here’s a rundown of the main difference between the cobbler and pie:
Different crust - The biggest difference is the crust. While the pie crust usually encloses the filling (even the single-crust pies cover the sides of the pan, at least), cobblers are not enclosed; instead, they are topped.
The crust of a pie is the most crucial element of its success, but even simple ingredients like bread crumbs also work as a crust for a cobbler. So, there’s a lot of difference between the two regarding the preparation process.
You can spend hours perfecting the dough of a pie crust when you only need to whip up a few crust ingredients for a cobbler, and you are good to go.
Moreover, a pie crust is usually thin and rolled out. If not rolled out, still it is never thick. On the other hand, a cobbler uses a thick, chunky topping with a batter or dough.
Cobbler is only a dessert. Pie can be savory. - People typically eat a cobbler as a dessert. It is unlikely to find a savory cobbler in modern cuisine, so we consider cobbler only a dessert. The filling of a cobbler is primarily fresh fruits and nothing else.
On the other hand, a pie can be a dessert if it has a sweet filling like fresh fruits. At the same time, pies can also have savory ingredients. So, you can count beef pie or chicken pot pie as a one-course meal.
Consider complementing your one-pot pie with a cobbler as a dessert to finish the dinner if you have the stamina to bake both.
Using a thickening agent - Pies always need something as a thickening agent. Usually, it is a flour paste that you need to mix with the filling so that it doesn’t leave the crust while you bake it.
On the contrary, a cobbler doesn’t need anything like a thickening agent. The reason is the lack of a bottom or side crust in a cobbler.
Origin - Pie originated earlier than a cobbler. It belongs to the ancient Egyptians who made pies as early as the fourteenth century.
On the other hand, the cobbler made its first appearance much later in the mid-nineteenth century.
While Cobbler VS Pie remains a heated cyber debate, we are only concerned with the flavor of the two. They are equally delicious despite having differences in the crust, filling, methods of preparation, and origin.
The ultimate goal must be to nail whatever you bake. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a pie or a cobble