Posts Tagged ‘fruit’


If you are a past reader you know that I love “nursery” desserts like custard, puddings, floating island – almost anything that would have been served in an English nursery.  The only ones I don’t like are those with gelatin bases or what I used to call wiggle desserts.  A grunt is almost one of those nursery desserts but it is a little more grown-up.  But how I love the names of old-fashioned fruit desserts like this one.  Buckles, slumps, pandowdies, fools, betties, sonkers, crumbles – all silly names for delicious fruit desserts probably most of them from early English cookbooks.  I particularly love a grunt (also called slump) in the summer as it can be cooked on the stove top rather than in the oven so you don’t have to heat up the kitchen on those hot days.  This is one of my favorite recipes —- summer or winter.  You can use almost any fruit that is in season.  If using harder fruits, such as apples or pears, pre-cook them a bit longer to soften.


1¼ cups all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

¾ cup half and half

¼ cup cooled, melted unsalted butter

½ cup water

½ cup orange juice

¾ cup granulated sugar

8 cups blueberries

Zest of 1 lemon

Pinch ground nutmeg

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting

Heavy cream or whipped cream for serving, optional


Combine the flour, light brown sugar and baking powder in a medium mixing bowl.  Whisk together to blend completely.  Add the half and half and melted butter and, using a wooden spoon, beat until a soft batter forms and no lumps remain.

Combine the water, orange juice and sugar in a heavy bottomed 12-inch frying pan.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved into the liquid.

Add the blueberries, lemon zest, and nutmeg, cover and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and cook for 5 minutes.

Uncover and drop the batter by the heaping tablespoonful into the bubbling fruit. Continue dropping until all of the batter has been used and the entire top is almost covered in dumplings.  Lower the heat to barely simmer, cover and cook for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a couple of the dumplings comes out clean.

Remove from the heat and set on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Serve warm, dusted with confectioners’ sugar or with heavy cream poured over each serving or whipped cream dolloped on top.  You could also serve with vanilla ice cream or yogurt – do whatever your diet points you toward.



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Grocery shopping the other day at Trader Joes – one of my favorite stops – I saw a young woman handing out tastes of something called a Thomcord grape with a small piece of Manchego cheese.  Although I usually don’t bother to snack on samples when I shop I was intrigued by the grape so I popped one into my mouth.  It was so delicious – a little sweet, a little tart with a snappy skin – small as a plain old grape jelly Concord grape and about the same color, but no seeds and no bitter skin.  So, of course, I bought some.  They are absolutely terrific with almost any cheese – we served them with a cheese selection and a glass of Cava after a light dinner.  A wonderful ending!

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I grew up eating gooseberry fool and when a child, thought my mom had made up the name ‘cause it would fool me into thinking it was ice cream.  But, I later learned that it is the olde English name for a fruit dessert – classically gooseberry – that combined mashed fresh fruit with a custard sauce.  My mom just used whipped cream and fruit and I now use a combination of whipped cream and yogurt rather than the richer custard.  We have had such beautiful berries this summer that I’ve tried to use them in lots of different ways although they have all been sweet and delicious on their own.  Last night I took the last of the blackberries, mashed them with a bit of sugar and then folded them into vanilla nonfat yogurt.  A perfect summer dessert.

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Could it be more appropriate that the Barryville (New York) farmers market gave us a fantastic assortment of summer berries?  We bought blackberries as big as your thumb, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and gooseberries.  The latter have been reserved to be turned into a gooseberry fool while all of the others have just been gobbled up straight from their boxes.  So sweet and luscious, no sugar needed.

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©Stephen Kolyer_strawberry

You can’t tell from looking at this photo, but here we have the most old-fashioned pie I can think to make in the spring – strawberry-rhubarb.  I only make it when rhubarb is fresh from the yard of my best buddy, Bee.  Her one gigantic plant yields enough rhubarb for quite a few pies and lots of jars of jam.  Steve took the photo of the pie just as it came out of the oven and then we forgot to take another photo once we cut a slice.  It was just so good we ate before we thought!  Will try to do better next time.


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We first discovered sumo oranges last spring – didn’t indulge much as they were a bit pricey, but so delicious.  Developed in Japan (where it is known as dekopon), they are a cross between a California navel orange and a mandarin.  The name comes from both their size and the distinctive knot at the stem end that resembles that of a sumo wrestler.  The crazy warty skin seems to be impenetrable, but, in fact, it is easily peeled off to expose the sweetest orange you’ve ever experienced.  Visit http://www.sumocitrus.com to discover more about the fruit and the dedicated California farmers that are bringing it to market.

sumo oranges

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On our recent trip to San Francisco during a Saturday visit to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market I discovered what the farmer called a “cherimoya” but what I have known as a sugar apple or a soursop.  When I went hunting on the internet, the cherimoya looked more like an antemoya, but I don’t think it really matters “cause they are probably versions of one thing and are all probably just as delicious as the soursop and sugar apples I have come to love on our visits to the Caribbean.  I don’t much know what you do with them other than eat the flesh as I do, carefully spitting out the toxic seeds or scrape the flesh into a freezer container, freeze it, and eat it like ice cream.  The texture is soft and custard-like, the aroma perfumey, and the flavor is so, so delicious – a combination of banana, pineapple, lime, and something not quite ready to identify itself on your tongue.




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