Marry the northeast and the northwest! Make an old-fashioned New England grunt with luscious peaches from Washington State.
Baking is one of my all-time favorite hobbies. It seems a miracle that you can mix flour, sugar and various other ingredients, pop the whole thing in the oven and end up with crusty bread or chewy cookies or a tender cake.
But during the summer months, my oven goes on vacation. Sometimes I resort to grilled flatbreads, but usually it’s the stovetop that comes to the rescue. Casseroles become stir-fries, cookies are the fudgy no-bake variety, and fruit crisps and cobblers are served as Grunts.
“What on earth is a grunt?” Unless you are of a certain age, and have spent time in Northern New England, you probably have never heard of the dessert called a grunt – also called a slump. A grunt is basically a fruit cobbler, only the batter is dropped onto cooking fruit in a skillet instead of being baked. The process is similar to dropping dumplings onto a bubbling pot of soup.
Originally grunts were cooked over a fire in a Dutch oven, making them a favorite at logging camps, where the men worked in the woods for days or weeks before returning home. The most traditional grunt was, and continues to be, blueberry – because little, wild, flavorful blueberries grow everywhere in Maine.
Here in the Northwest though, I prefer to use lush, juicy peaches from my backyard tree. The process is the same, whether you make a peach grunt, a blueberry grunt, an apple grunt, or a plum grunt. Like cobbler, grunts are delicious with any fruit.
Use a 10-inch skillet with high sides, or a Dutch oven for cooking. This particular recipe, which can also be halved and cooked in a smaller saucepan, is inspired by the King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion Cookbook.
This particular batch of peaches was courtesy of the Washington State Fruit Commission Canbassador program. As a Canbassador I usually write about how to preserve Washington state fruits, this recipe is one you can enjoy right now – and is the perfect finishing touch to a weekend barbeque.
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
- 4 cups of peeled, sliced peaches
- 1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- ¾ cup buttermilk or regular milk*
- Stir together water, sugar, and ginger (if using) in skillet until combined.
- Add sliced peaches. Bring to a gentle boil over low heat.
- Meanwhile, add flour, baking powder, and baking soda to a large bowl. Stir to combine.
- Cut in butter with a pastry blender until like coarse crumbs.
- Stir in buttermilk.
- Drop dough over the fruit mixture. Cover and cook over low heat until dough is cooked through – about 15 minutes.
- Serve with the fruit sauce “slumped” over the dumpling.
- Top with whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
- *Buttermilk adds a tangy flavor that goes well with peaches. However, you may use regular milk instead. If using regular milk, omit the baking soda.
Full disclosure: This recipe was made with peaches I received from the Washington State Fruit Commission.
Mmmmm.. love your recipes! We used to live in Washington state in Seattle. I sure miss that clean air and all that wonderful fruit!
Thank you so much. Sadly, due to the wildfires in British Columbia, we haven’t experienced much clean air lately! But the fruit is still plentiful and delicious. Although I did have to wash soot off of the last two peaches picked off my tree yesterday.