a cast iron pan filled with freshly baked blueberry grunt.

East Coast Blueberry Grunt

You may be asking yourself, what the heck is a blueberry grunt. If you’re from Atlantic Canada or live on the East Coast of the US, the chances are you may have heard of or possibly even eaten this delicious rustic dessert at least once in your lifetime.

Topped with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream, blueberry grunt is a traditional, rustic Acadian dessert. Very similar to a cobbler, blueberry grunt is traditionally cooked on the stove top and covered with a lid instead of baked in the oven, though you could easily bake a blueberry grunt as well. The name of this odd sounding dessert comes from the the odd grunting sound the blueberry sauce makes as it cooks underneath the dumpling style crust.

a cast iron pan filled with fresh blueberries

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An East Coast Tradition

The Atlantic Provinces of Canada, are rich in culinary history. With influences from both French and British cuisine, many old recipes (and in this case cobblers) are perfectly suited to using the locally available foods. With a relatively harsh climate to work and survive in, using the locally available and even forage-able foods, was an important part of everyday life. The advent of modern agriculture and grocery stores made life a lot easier of course, but locally available foods are still often superior in quality and taste.

From the simple lobster roll, to hearty dishes such hodge podge, or chicken pot pie, these simple recipes using locally abundant foods define what has now been dubbed ‘East Coast Cuisine’. This blueberry grunt recipe is no different. With an abundance of wild blueberries in the Maritime provinces, it was almost inevitable, that early settlers would not incorporate them into their desserts somehow.

Related:  Classic East Coast Lobster Rolls

Thus the blueberry grunt was born.

Here on Prince Edward Island, the blueberry season generally runs from the end of July through August. With plenty of blueberry u-picks available, trekking through the woods and fields looking for wild berries isn’t necessary anymore, and blueberry picking is a unique activity anyone can experience in the late summer.

Wild blueberries (especially locally grown ones) simply taste so much better then mass produced, commercially grown fruit. The reason for this is partially due to the fact that the harsh climate of Eastern Canada makes the blueberry plants work harder to survive, producing sweeter, more intensely flavored, and smaller sized berries.

What’s The Difference Between A Grunt, Cobbler, And A Crisp?

All of these fruit desserts are very similar indeed, and it can be easy to confuse them. When it comes down to it though, a grunt, is just another name for a cobbler. A ‘grunt’ can also be called a ‘slump’ depending on where in Atlantic Canada you are. That leaves us with cobblers and crisps.

  • Fruit cobblers are fruit based desserts that are either cooked on the stove (or baked) and topped with a savory dumpling, biscuit or other doughy batter.
  • Fruit crisps, are very similar to cobblers in that they utilize fruit as a base and are baked in the oven. Crisps are topped with a crumbly topping consisting of oats, brown sugar, and flour. This mixture crisps up as the butter melts, and the sugar caramelised.

blueberry grunt baked in a cast iron dish with gold brown dumplings in it

East Coast Blueberry Grunt

A really easy recipe to throw together anytime of the week, making blueberry grunt requires virtually no special equipment. All you need is two bowls and a mixing spoon, as well as a deep sided pan or cast iron skillet and a stove top! Not going to lie here, a cast iron pan is perfect for baking a blueberry grunt, (or other cobbler) and just looks cool!

A blueberry grunt is traditionally cooked on a stove and not baked, making it the ideal camping dessert! Simply follow the instructions below, but cook the blueberry grunt in a cast iron dutch oven over hot coals! – Chef Markus

While it’s true that a blueberry grunt is traditionally only cooked on the stove top, and the dumplings steamed as the blueberries cook. I prefer a combination of stove top cooking and baking to create a golden brown, crisp dumpling crust.

You’ll need:

Blueberry Sauce

  • 5 cups of fresh blueberries or 900 grams of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup white sugar,
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • a splash of water if using fresh fruit

Dumpling Dough

  • 2 cups  all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup of milk + a splash if needed
  • 1/2 cup butter

Cooking The Blueberries

I always start by cooking the blueberries first so that they can simmer while I prepare the dumpling batter.

Pour the berries into a deep walled pan or cast iron skillet (which seem like they where created just for this). Add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice then cook the blueberries over medium heat until you create a bubbling blueberry sauce. If using fresh berries add just a splash of water to the pan to prevent the sugar from burning. If you use frozen berries this is not needed as the frozen fruit will release liquid as they cook.

Blueberries, sugar, cinnamon and lemon cooking in a cast iron pan to create a bubbling fruity sauce

Making The Biscuit Topping

While the blueberries cook, mix together the batter ingredients as you would when making homemade biscuits.

Related:  From Scratch Rosemary & Garlic Biscuits

Start by measuring out the dry ingredients and mixing them together. Make sure to sift out any lumps of baking powder, otherwise you’ll end up with chunks of it in your batter that wont ‘break down’.

Use a fork and mix in the butter until it is evenly crumbled through out the flour mixture. The mix should now be crumbly with little bits of butter a little smaller then the size of peas.

Mix together the egg and milk, pour this into the flour/butter mix. Use a spoon to create a shaggy dough. If its a little to thick, add a splash of milk to it to thin it out.

a biscuit like dough being mixed in a bowol. The dough will be used to top blueberry grunt

Using two spoons,( an ice cream scoop also works well if you have one) carefully plop chunks of this batter directly into the bubbling blueberry sauce. Evenly space out the batter to help it cook evenly and cover as much of the blueberry grunt as you can. Cover the pan with a lid or tinfoil and let it cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

At this point pre-heat your oven to 400F. As the blueberry grunt cooks be patient, and don’t open the lid! The steam created by the cooking blueberries will help cook the dumplings. Don’t be surprised if you hear odd grunting sounds!

Once the 15 minutes is up, remove the lid, and place the blueberry grunt in the oven to brown up the biscuit topping. This part is not required, and an extra step, but I just love that crisp crunch!a plate of blueberry grunt topped with whipped cream and mint

 

The blueberry grunt is best served immediately while hot, and topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. A great fall dessert, serve this at your next family gathering or potluck!

a cast iron pan filled with freshly baked blueberry grunt.
5 from 9 votes
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East Coast Blueberry Grunt

A traditional Canadian East Coast dessert, blueberry grunt is a simple and delicious dessert to make with minimal skill. Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a sweet treat!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword baked blueberry dessert, blueberry cobbler
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 3042.4 kcal
Author Chef Markus Mueller

Ingredients

Blueberry Sauce

  • 5 cups of fresh blueberries or 900 grams of frozen fruit
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 whole lemon juiced
  • a splash of water if using fresh fruit

Dumpling Dough

  • 2 cups  all purpose flour
  • 3/4 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1/3 cup milk + a splash if needed
  • 1/2 cup butter

Instructions

Cooking The Blueberries

  1. Start by cooking the blueberries first so that they can simmer while you prepare the dumpling batter.

  2. Pour the berries into a deep walled pan or cast iron skillet. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and lemon juice. Cook the blueberries over medium heat until you create a bubbling blueberry sauce. 

  3. If using fresh berries, add just a splash of water to the pan to prevent the sugar from burning. If you use frozen berries this is not needed as the frozen fruit will release liquid as they cook.

Making The Biscuit Topping

  1. While the blueberries cook, mix together the batter ingredients as you would when making homemade biscuits.
  2. Start by measuring out the dry ingredients and mixing them together. Make sure to sift out any lumps of baking powder, otherwise you'll end up with chunks of it in your batter that wont 'break down'.
  3. Use a fork and mix in the butter until it is evenly crumbled through out the flour mixture. The mix should now be crumbly with little bits of butter a little smaller then the size of peas.
  4. Mix together the egg and milk, pour this into the flour/butter mix. Use a spoon to create a shaggy dough. If its a little to thick, add a splash of milk to it to thin it out.

Top The Blueberry Grunt & Cook

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 400F. 

  2. Using two spoons, ( an ice cream scoop also works well if you have one) carefully plop chunks of this batter directly into the bubbling blueberry sauce. Evenly space out the batter to help it cook evenly and cover as much of the blueberry grunt as you can. Cover the pan with a lid or tinfoil and let it cook over low heat on the stovetop for 15 minutes.

  3. As the blueberry grunt cooks be patient, and don't open the lid! The steam created by the cooking blueberries will help cook the dumplings. Don't be surprised if you hear odd grunting sounds!

  4. Once the 15 minutes is up, remove the lid, and place the blueberry grunt in the oven to brown up the biscuit topping. 

  5. Serve immediately while hot, topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. 

Have you tried the recipe? Take a picture and tag me on Facebook & Instagram: @earthfoodandfire . For more from scratch recipes follow me on Instagram & Pinterest

© 2018, Markus Mueller | Earth, Food, and Fire. All rights reserved. Please contact Earth, Food, and Fire, if you wish to use any media or other content contained on this site.

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A very simple dessert to make, blueberry grunt is a basic cobbler style dessert that's best served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serve it hot for best results. #cobbler #blueberry #blueberrygrunt #dessert

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22 Comments

  1. I am from the East Coast US, but (sadly) have never heard of a blueberry grunt. This looks delicious! I love that the blueberries shine in this recipe!

  2. I love blueberry grunt! It is similar to the little steamed sweet dumplings I grew up with in Germany so when I first came to Canada this dessert was comfortingly familiar, yet different with that delicious thick blueberry sauce! Your recipe sounds delicious!

  3. I have a gallon zip lock bag full of hand picked blueberries- oh what a way to use them!

  4. I have never had a blueberry grunt, but it looks fantastic! Honestly, I love anything with blueberries in it <3

  5. This looks like such a great way to finish up all those delicious summer berries! I’m not sure that I’ve ever officially eaten a grunt, but the method does sound familiar to me. My family would love this!

  6. Tomorrow I’m making blueberry danishes and I need a recipe to use the rest of the blueberries up in. I love a good dumpling recipe and this will be perfect for dessert later this week!

  7. I’ve never heard it called a grunt before, but whichever name you call it, it looks fabulous. I love cobblers because they are so easy and great for using up any leftover fruit. This looks wonderful!

  8. This looks amazing! And I love learning about new foods I’ve never heard of. Can’t wait to try this blueberry grunt! 😀

  9. Fascinating how the same dish can have different names depending on location. But no matter what you call it this looks delish!

  10. I’ve never heard of a grunt so I totally appreciate your thorough run down of the differences between a grunt, cobbler and crisp. It sounds delicious so I’ll definitely have to give it a try!

  11. Oh my goodness this looks AMAZING! I’m busting out my cast iron skillet and picking up some blueberries tomorrow so I can try it myself.

  12. The blueberries in this grunt look so juicy! I’m from the east coast and I’ve definitely heard this dessert called a grunt more than a cobbler. Perfect use for the last of my local blueberries!

  13. This looks incredible, what a great way to use up all the last of the berries for the season.

  14. Love blueberries! Never tried making a grunt before! Must try!

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