Make Some Noise, East Coast


Despite Canadians earning something of a reputation for being quiet, one of their more prominent desserts is anything but.  In fact, one of the sweeter specialties of the eastern (Maritime) provinces is something with the rather peculiar name of Blueberry Grunt, so-called due to the noise blueberries make as they cook down and partially reduce to a thick, textured syrup.

In fact, the Grunt is fairly simple, with the cinnamon-laced blueberries mostly (but not entirely!) covered with an undulating sweetened biscuit topping.  It’s somewhat similar to a cobbler, but in a Grunt the topping is fluffier and softer, a consistency perfect for soaking up all those syrupy blueberries.  While the Grunt may have originated in Nova Scotia and environs, it now is prepared and consumed eagerly all up and down the North American East Coast, wherever blueberries thrive.

Of the many recipes out there, one of the more promising appears on the Earth, Food, and Fire website.  The result thrills the eater with all kinds of delight.  From cinnamon gently warming the blueberries’ tangy exuberance, to the topping’s more subtle bronzed sweetness, the exquisite combination is hard to top.  A silken dollop of freshly-whipped cream aims to do just that, though. and by gosh, it succeeds.  Especially when the warm Grunt slowly melts the topping, feeding creamy streams that ooze over the berries.

Below is the grunt in a more boisterous mood, causing all sorts of commotion as the blueberries cook down to perfection.   This is Part I of the process, under cover on the stovetop, before the waiting oven gives the biscuit a delicious golden-brown glow:Blueberry Grunt Baking

In production, the Grunt is a noisy dessert, creating all sorts of fuss as the berries make their way in the world.  Eventually,  though, things settle and all is at peace.  For a bit.   Soon enough, though, it’s diners who shatter the silence.  The blueberries had their say; now one hears noises more similar to, “Mmm,” “Are there seconds?” and “Seriously, where’s more?”  Just like Canadians, causing a riot.

*****

East Coast Blueberry Grunt

For the blueberries:

  • 4 cups fresh blueberries (*1)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • juice from half a lemon
  • a splash of water, if using fresh berries (*2)

For the dough:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter

Start by cooking the blueberries, giving them time to simmer while you prepare the dough.  Pour the berries into a skillet.  Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice.   Cook the blueberries over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until a sauce emerges and begins to bubble.  If you’re using fresh berries, add a splash of water to prevent the sugar from burning

After bubbling begins, lower the heat ever-so-slightly, and move on to making the dough.  In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Use a fork to mix in the butter until it’s evenly crumbled throughout the mix.  Butter should be a little smaller than is a pea.

Mix together the milk and egg, then use a spoon to mix this into the flour-butter combination.  Dough will be a bit shaggy.  Preheat the oven to 400°.

Using a spoon, carefully drop pieces of batter atop the bubbling blueberies.  Space the pieces as evenly as you can, also try to cover as much of the blueberries as is possible.  Cover skillet with a lid, or tightly with aluminum foil.   Reduce flame to low and cook thusly for 15 minutes.

After the 15 minutes, remove the lid/foil and place the skillet in the oven.  Once the biscuit is golden-brown, about ten minutes, remove from oven, divvy into individual servings, and top with whipped cream (recipe below).

NOTES:

1 – Use two pounds of frozen berries if preparing this in the winter, or if you can’t get fresh.  Although frozen, generally speaking, are quite good, fresh is best.

2 – Naturally, omit the water if you’re using frozen, as the thawing berries will have sufficient moisture.

*****

Freshly Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer.  After 15 to 20 minutes, remove them (they should be heavily frosted) and attach to the mixer.

Pour the cream into the mixer bowl.  Activate mixer to its lowest speed.  Add the sugar and the vanilla extract,  Keep mixing at low speed until both additions are thoroughly incorporated.

Gradually increase the motor speed to its highest setting and continue to whip until the cream is light and fluffy and soft peaks form, about six minutes

Pipe or dollop whipped cream onto dessert.

 

23 thoughts on “Make Some Noise, East Coast

    1. Thanks so much, Rachel!

      This one definitely is written in the ledger’s “Dessert” column. Unsurprising, as I’m not so much a fan of morning sweets. Pancakes and freshly-squeezed being two major exceptions. 🥞🍊

      Be warned – there’s an idea tossing around, also blueberry-forward, which should be even more baffling. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep, most of the sweet stuff has been/will be pretty unambiguous. Did you save room for dessert?

        Come breakfast time, though, there’ll be some head-scratching. Maybe not for you, though, ’cause you’ll know what to do.

        As for me and my contrarian tastes, I’ll spend all day thinking about that coffee cake, then after dark, I strike. See, I’m a “Butter Pecan Coffee Cake for a Midnight Snack” kind of guy. 🕛🌙

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is true, Angela, though I’m more likely than not to enjoy AM sweets – coffee cakes, breakfast pastries and the like – in the evening anyway. Even when it’s intended as breakfast, for me it’s a dessert.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hehe… I think you’ve got your names mixed up there, Felix. Don’t worry — my mom does it all the time. Sometimes with my brothers’ names. 😝

        Huh. I wonder, is that just personal preference, or habit (i.e. childhood rules)?

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Sorry about that, Rochelle! I was starting your response, when somebody else’s message binged. I realized the confusion only about two seconds after hitting “Send.” By then it was too late, right?

        Oh, and thanks for mitigating my embarrassment with a diversion. You’re a real friend. Anyway, the mild disdain for morning sweets is a personal preference. Most of my genetic inheritance comes from mother’s side of the family. She loves AM treats, though, making my difference of opinion is one of the many things which come from Dad’s traits

        By the way, I do indulge occasionally, but my sweet tooth usually doesn’t activate until after dinner. Until next time…Fritz.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Lol!! No prob. 😄

        Ahh. Your mother’s on the more zealous side of desserting too, huh? I wonder if women are more inclined towards such things… Instinctively making up for some deficiency, perhaps? After all, everybody knows that women require a steady supply of chocolates throughout the year to prevent serious conditions like cantankeritus.

        Wait, no. Isn’t that everyone?

        Liked by 1 person

      6. You definitely have a good measure of things, Rachel. Actually, there’s good science behind each sex’s general food preferences, women for sweets and men for meat. In both cases, our bodies need those specific nutrients each category furnishes.

        Of course, there’s quite a bit of poaching in both directions. Most women do crave a sizzling steak from time to time, about equal to the number of men who dream about chocolate cake on occasion. Unsurprising, as the top entrants in both sections generate genuine enthusiasm from both sexes.

        Still, personal experience confirms our original premise. In common with social media everywhere, this journal’s readership trends female. Especially so, and with the most ardent reaction, when desserts are featured. The same holds true for Instagram, by the way.

        Now, knowing this, if I were a typical guy (and to some degree I am, as biology still calls the tune, after all), I would cook desserts every week. 🍰 I would, that is, but my Guy Card requires me to give poultry and shellfish their due too. Thus, as you’ve noticed, it’s at least one dessert a month. More, if you include the random sweet breakfast item too. 🥞

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Ha! Interesting observation. Now here’s a question: seeing as how the thing we all inevitably crave is variation, if you were to start sharing nothing but desserts, could you thereby create steak enthusiasts of us all? Might be worth a try. 😜

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Well, I do think each preference has minority share in all of us. Women are 31.87% steak lovers, while men clock chocoholics at 29.60%. Your own research might have yielded slightly different results, but the general proportions are the same.

        The secret, perhaps, is to concoct something which includes both meat and sweet. Off the top of my head? Well, there is a Mexican dish, Grilled Steak Soft Tacos. The meat part is obvious, as are most guys, but sweet also is present. The corn tortillas are slightly so, but the mole sauce provides the real fireworks, chocolate and date-like ancho chilis being two significant elements.

        Of course, uniting two disparate plate mates is an easy solution. Over the weekend I enjoyed a steak dinner at my Mom’s house. My favorite bite? A strip of steak, plus half a forkful of Cinnamon Harvest Apples. Yum!
        🥩+🍏=😊

        Like

    1. Thanks, my friend!

      The qualities you describe are exactly what got me too. Almost to the word.

      Somebody’s got to do something about these recipes, luring all sorts of people to the kitchen. Is it too much to ask that most recipes be unappealing? Think of all the hours it would save people from having to bake and to taste. Gruel for everyone from now on!

      Like

    1. Much appreciated, Angela! Because blueberries are native to native to this region (northeastern North America), they’re abundant everywhere – wild, in gardens and, of course, at the market. As such, I’m honor-bound to make the most of them.

      Like

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