Ah, all this time with my parents must be rubbing off on me, as I opened this post with a paragraph about the weather. They love to talk about the weather. They struggle to stay awake through the news so that they can get the weather report, and then they go straight to bed. They only call me up if they've heard the weather in Portland has been doing something interesting, otherwise they stick to forwarding me emails about amazing photography and funny stories.
As you may have gleaned from my ramblings, I am visiting my family for a while. My parents still live in my old hometown on the peninsula and my sister and her husband live in SF, about 45 minutes apart from each other. I am bouncing back and forth between both places while I am here, and currently I am back in the suburbs after a weekend in The City with my sis. (Yes, locals call SF "The City" and NOBODY calls SF "Frisco." Ignore at your own risk.) This afternoon my sister and her husband drove me back down here and mom made us an awesome dinner. In fact, every dinner mom has made since I've come home has been awesome. God, I love my mom.
September 27, 2009
Name of Dessert: Caramel Peach Grunt
Occasion: Dinner with the Family
Constituents: Peaches, stewed in a caramel sauce with a drop biscuit top
On Friday, before I left for SF, Mom and I were talking about Sunday's dinner and cleaning up the stacks of papers that my dad likes to leave everywhere. In the stack was a newspaper clipping that my mom pulled out and started telling me about. She began to explain the existence of things called crisps, cobblers, pandowdies, and grunts. I laughed, and told her I was already acquainted with these things. Her clipping, it turns out, was part of the press for Rustic Fruit Desserts and included the recipe for the Caramel Peach Grunt. I have been dying to make the grunt, and when mom heard that she asked me to make it for Sunday's dessert. Yesssssss!
We were scheduled to arrive at Mom and Dad's around 5 pm, so Mom bought me the peaches and then fretted that I wouldn't have time to put it together before it got too late for Michele and Mike to get back to the City. I assured her it wouldn't take much prep time and could be baking while we ate dinner, but she bought a pre-made pie crust just in case.
A grunt and a slump are pretty much interchangeable terms, both denoting fruit cooked on top of the stove instead of baked in the oven. This technically isn't a true grunt as it is finished in the oven, so that the biscuit top gets nice and toasty. But who's counting.
First off, the peaches are macerated in some sugar in order to release some of their juices. After sitting for about 20 minutes, the juices are strained off for later and the fruit tossed with a bit of cornstarch and salt.
Next, a caramel is cooked in a deep ovenproof skillet. Once dark amber, which because I am anxiously watching the pan seems to take forever, the peach juices and a little bit of butter are added and brought back to a boil.
The peaches and a little bit of vanilla are added, and left to simmer until the peaches are cooked through.
In the meantime, a buttermilk biscuit dough is made. It is sticky and pillowy, so the biscuits are dropped onto the fruit and the whole thing is popped into the oven until the biscuits are cooked and the juices are thick.
We chose to serve it with vanilla ice cream, which I believe is almost necessary with cooked fruit. My sister is on the opposite camp and had her ice cream separately in another bowl with chocolate sauce.
I found the caramel to be very pronounced, with a boldness that did pair well with the fragrant peaches. The biscuit was a little bit of a wallflower for me, but it did provide a nice chewy something to contrast with all the soft and showy fruit and caramel. Interestingly, I discovered that I liked this dessert much better without the ice cream!
Everyone loved the dessert, and found it to be a great end to the evening. Mom kept repeating her astonishment that it only took about an hour to put together. What can I say, except that Rustic Fruit Desserts is awesome?
Most importantly, about six hours after my sister ate the grunt, she went into labor and lookit what got born Monday mornin'!