Posts Tagged ‘quick desserts’


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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This was my mom’s go-to Sunday coffee cake and, as my wonderful husband just said “it is addictive.  Easy to make and even easier to eat.  It is so much better than a commercial out-of-the-box cake and really doesn’t take anytime at all to make.  I make a big batch of the Crumb Topping and keep it in the freezer so the entire process takes only a few minutes to put the cake together.  It can bake while you make the beds and throw a morning’s load of wash in.  And, oh! the aroma that will wake everyone up to sweet thoughts. You can add dried fruit or berries to the batter, but it is totally unnecessary.

Makes one 9-inch cake

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
 1½ teaspoons baking powder
 ¼ teaspoon salt
 1 cup milk
 1 cup raisins, dried cranberries or cherries, or fresh blueberries, optional
 Crumb Topping (recipe follows)
 Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
 Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake cake (or use nonstick vegetable spray such as Baker’s Joy).  Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle.  Begin beating on low to soften; then, add the sugar and beat on medium until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt and add to the creamed mixture, alternately with the milk, beating just until well-blended.  If using the fruit or berries, fold them into the batter now.
Pour into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula (or whatever implement you have handy).  Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter.
Transfer to the preheated oven and bake for about 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool for about 15 minutes before cutting into serving pieces.

    Crumb Topping

    1 cup walnut pieces
    1 cup brown sugar
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces

Combine the nuts, brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade.  Process to just combine.  Add the butter and process, using quick on and off turns, to just crumbly.  Use as directed or place in a resealable plastic bag, seal, label, and freeze for later use.

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