Yeah, I’d never heard of a blueberry grunt, either. Until I became friends with Sandy. Every since we became friends, I couldn’t use the word “blueberry” without her saying “Mmmm, blueberry grunt…” eyes half-closed and smiling. I knew it was one of her favorite desserts, but I couldn’t bring myself to make something called a grunt.
Until, that is, I had four cups freshly picked blueberries.
A grunt is in the cobbler family, and it’s a traditional East Coast maritime dessert. It’s perfect for people who might want something like a pie, but are too lazy make an actual pie. So that means it’s perfect for me!
Blueberry is a popular flavor for grunts, but I imagine you can use pretty much any berry or fruit. They’re a great way to use up bountiful–but fleeting–summer fruit. The most common way to make a grunt is to boil berries with water, sugar, and lemon juice, then add biscuit dough to the top, cover with a tight lid, and steam. It’s a one-pan, stove-top operation. I chose to bake mine because I had these ridiculously cute gratin dishes that I’d been dying to use for a blog post. I’ll give directions for both methods of cooking.
Recipes for grunts are all pretty standard, I adapted and veganized this simple recipe.
Makes four individual grunts, or one large
Four Cups Fresh Blueberries (or frozen)
3/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 tsp Each Cinnamon and Nutmeg, optional (I left them out)
2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
3 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, or veg. shortening
3/4-1 Cup Soymilk
Add all of the ingredients for the blueberry filling into a large skillet. If you’re going to be making one large grunt and steaming the biscuits, make sure this skillet has a tight fitting lid. If you’re going to be baking the grunt, preheat the oven to 400º F.
Boil the berries for 10-15 minutes until the mixture has thickened a little.
Meanwhile, combine all the dry ingredients for the biscuits. Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the margarine/shortening into the dry ingredients. If you’re berries aren’t done yet, go ahead and stick the dry mixture in the fridge or freezer to keep the margarine cold until you’re ready for it.
When the berries are ready, add the soymilk to the dry mixture to form a soft biscuit dough. The consistency is pretty forgiving, a slightly too-soft or too-firm dough won’t make a difference in the final product. As long as it holds together, but is soft enough to break apart into clumps, you’re good to go. Don’t over-mix the dough, or the biscuits will be tough. But you knew that!
For one large, steamed grunt:
Break the biscuit dough up into small, bite-sized pieces. Place the pieces on top of the hot, still-cooking berries, spread evenly across the top. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat slightly, and steam for 15 minutes without peeking. The biscuits should be puffed up and cooked all the way through. Serve warm.
For one large baked grunt:
Follow the instructions for a steamed grunt, but place in the oven to bake at 400º F (without a lid) for 20 minutes. You can sand the biscuits sugar before baking if you like! Serve warm.
For individual baked grunts:
Transfer berry mixture to individual ramekins or gratin dishes, filling only half-full. Add biscuit mixture on top. Sand with sugar and place all the grunts on a baking sheet (this will help you take them out of the oven with burning yourself). Bake for 20 minutes, serve warm.
Here’s what my individual grunts looked like before baking:
These are great just as they are, but you can also serve them with some ice cream if you want. I invited Sandy over to try them, and she said that not only were they delicious, but they “taste exactly like a non-vegan grunt.” So if you’re looking for a simple, but elegant dessert to use up summer berries, I highly recommend this one.
I won’t blame you if you call it a cobbler, though.