Fresh Fruit Grunt
(courtesy of Natalie Sellers, co-owner-chef, 4th St. Bistro in Reno. Serves 6 to 8)
Don’t dismiss this delicious dessert, dating back to colonial days, because of its name. A grunt (also known as a slump, depending on what New England state you live in) belongs to the large cobbler clan, which includes crisps, pandowdy, and brown Betty. The grunt differs from its cousins in its cooking method. Instead of baking, it cooks in a heavy pot on the stovetop. The grunt gets its name from the sounds the fruit makes as it bubbles and cooks. The slump is named for its appearance after it is served — it slumps.
6 cups fresh fruit (peaches, berries, plums, etc.; use combination of fruits or just one kind. If using peaches, peel first and slice)
½ to ¾ cup sugar
⅛ cup water
Squeeze of lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
Vanilla extract, brandy, or port, to taste (optional)
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup buttermilk
Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in bowl or food processor. Cut in butter until pea-sized, using pastry blender or food processor. Mix in buttermilk. Set aside.
Mix fruit, sugar, water, lemon, and spices in heavy, nonreactive pan with tight-fitting lid. Bring to boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low; drop tablespoon-sized dough balls on top of fruit mixture. Cover with lid. Cook for 15 minutes without lifting lid.
Serve with homemade vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.