The real things haven’t changed. It is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder
Blueberry Grunt is a traditional dish from the east coast of Canada that takes advantage of the small wild blueberries that grow so well here.
Grunt consists of a sweet sauce made from the berries, topped with dumplings. As the dumplings cook, they absorb some of the berry sauce. Topped with a bit of whipped cream, it’s a simple dessert that can be made any time of year with fresh or frozen berries.
As I was out of berries, and in possession of a collection of fruit that had past its prime and was getting decidedly soft, I decided to expand the grunt repertoire.
I used pears, apples and rhubarb in my rendition, but you can use any berry or soft tree fruit to develop your own variation.
Which leads me to the three really good things about this fruit grunt:
- It’s almost infinitely variable. Use whatever fruit you have on hand to create a range of flavors. The key is to choose fruit that is very ripe (even slightly overripe) so that it has enough juice, and will break down enough to create a good sauce.
- It’s frugal. You can use less than perfect fruit and reduce waste in your kitchen. You can use seasonal fruit to create a tasty economical treat.
- It’s reasonably healthy. There’s not a lot of added sugar here, and not too much fat either. Whole wheat adds some extra nutrition (but I use it mainly because I prefer the taste and texture). You can fancy it up with whipped cream or ice cream, but without it’s healthy enough to serve for breakfast (which I do).
The sauce uses a bit of lemon juice to brighten up the fruit flavor, and some orange juice to balance the sweetness from the fruit and brown sugar.
The dumplings are just a simple drop biscuit. I use olive oil in the dough, but you could use butter or a different oil if you prefer. You could substitute a half cup of cornmeal for a half cup of the flour for some extra texture.
This is a quick and easy recipe to put together on a busy night when you feel like something sweet but don’t want to overindulge.
Maybe it should be called Four Good Things Fruit Grunt.
- 8 cups / 2 liters roughly chopped fruit
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml lemon juice
- ¼ / 60 ml cup orange juice
- ½ cup / 125 ml brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon / 1.25 ml salt
- 1 cup / 250 ml all-purpose flour
- 1 cup / 250 ml whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml baking soda
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml baking powder
- ½ teaspoon / 2,5 ml salt
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml white sugar
- ⅓ cup / 80 ml olive oil
- 1 cup / 250 ml buttermilk, sour milk, or yogurt
- Cinnamon sugar (optional) - see note
- Mix fruit, lemon juice, orange juice, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in large saucepan or Dutch oven. Heat over medium-low heat until mixture starts to simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. Continue simmering for 20-30 minutes until fruit is soft, and the mixture starts to create juice.
- While the sauce is simmering, prepare the biscuits.
- Mix together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and white sugar.
- Sprinkle olive oil over then stir in with a fork, or blend in with a pastry blender.
- When the oil is thoroughly mixed in, and the flour is crumbly, pour in the buttermilk.
- Stir gently until all the flour is moistened. The dough should be quite wet - you should not be able to knead it.
- Drop the biscuit dough by tablespoons onto the simmering fruit. Don't worry if the biscuits touch each other.
- Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon sugar, if using, then put the lid on the biscuits. Simmer gently for 15 minutes. (You can test to see if biscuits are done by inserting a toothpick - it will come out clean if the biscuits are done.)
- Remove from heat and let sit covered for 5 minutes before serving.