Thursday, October 01, 2009

Caramel Peach Grunt

Well folks, fall in the San Francisco Bay Area is a different ball of wax. The days have been dry, sunny, and warm with lovely cool evenings. This is pretty much the best time of year to be in San Francisco proper, and over the weekend we enjoyed beautiful warm days with a light breeze. Warm! No fog! I always feel sorry for the tourists who come to SF in July, not expecting it to be cold, foggy, gray, and windy. The beautiful time in San Francisco is September and October, people. Please remember that when planning your trip.

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

caramel peach grunt

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.

caramel peach grunt

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.

caramel peach grunt

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!

caramel peach grunt

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'!

my sister and the little pooper


  1. Aww, congratulations on your cute little nephew! So sweet!

  2. thanks Amanda! He is the cutest baby ever!

  3. How wonderful! Isn't he a wee sweet bonnie lad! He has proper manners already, you know, not causing any problems during dinner time!
    Did you help with the birthing?
    Congratulations to your family on the new cupcake arrival!

    The slump looks mighty good. How funny your mother showed you a clipping about the Pandowdy book!

  4. Melinda, he IS a wee sweet bonnie lad!! So far he is a very agreeable baby, except when getting his diaper changed or trying to poop. I sort of helped with the birthing--they think I helped more than I really did. Which is cute.

    That was funny that my mom had clipped the press about the pandowdy book. I decided it was fate, and I needed to convince her to let me make the grunt. But then she came up with the idea all on her own; fate again!

  5. Тётя Женя! How well that sounds! ;-) Congratulations on becoming an auntie. How great that you could be there for the birth -- I'm assuming that you're getting lots of baby time!

    Your paragraph about your parents and the weather made me giggle -- I love stories about your parents!

    The grunt dessert looks good, though usually I'm not a huge fan of cooked peaches. I think the caramel would save them!

    Have a wonderful, wonderful visit!

  6. ECL,
    Both baby and peach grunt look terrific! Do you really understand the difference between grunts, fools, cobblers, etc.? I read the definitions, and then forget.
    I hope you start baking from the Heavenly Cake book when you get back home, but I can see that you might want to hang around your parents' house for a while.
    P.S. Even an old midwesterner like me knows better than to call SF "Frisco."

  7. Raiuchka, I am getting lots of baby time, but as you know it isn't enough! I am so excited he's part of our family.

    I forgot how much we used to laugh over my parent's stories--remember the escape plan through Turkey?

    BBC, I have a good grasp of the grumt and slump, but that's about it. All the rest seem so similar!

    I will most definitely be baking from Heavenly Cakes when I get back. I can't believe I left it in Portland...there are so many hungry mouths here. And yes, it won't be for another couple of weeks before I get back.

    You are smarter than these silly Pacific NW people out here, where they casually ask me when I'm next going to Frisco. I tell them I'm never going to Frisco but I'll be going to SAN FRANCISCO by the end of the year. Sheesh.

  8. Child of Thunder, do I *ever* remember the escape route through Turkey! That is exactly what came to mind as I was giggling! And you unwittingly teaching Zoya and me to swear in Tagalog, then the phone call to your mom to check the meaning...

  9. Child of Thunder, haha! I forgot I taught you girls how to swear in Tagalog!

    Ah, parents. So unintentionally funny.

  10. Your parents are awesomely funny! And the weather cracks me up!!

    But, you suck for not making the peach grunt when we lived together. Peaches are my favorite, and my last name is Grant. Did I ever tell you that when my mom married my dad and had kids, she was concerned that we would be called and teased with the word 'GRUNT'? Parents really are funny!

    I'm so excited about little Mikey!! I just want to squeeze his little cheeks!! I want a baby!

  11. Listen fool, maybe if you DIDN'T MOVE AWAY you would have had some peach grunt!!

    You know you totally opened the door for that one.

    I'm SO CALLING YOU GRUNT from now on.

    The little one is almost 8 lbs!! And he's only two weeks old!! Soon he will be one of those awesome chubby babies. I just love him so.

    I want a baby too. You might have a better chance of getting one sooner than I will have one, esp with that new iPod of yours. Think about it.

  12. Great combo of flavors in your grunt!

    Congrats to your sister :)