Special guest recipe – Blueberry grunt

Posted on: August 5th, 2011 by admin 11 Comments

One of the nicest things about having a blog is the interactions you get with other people, strangers and friends alike. A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of being contacted by Brooke Ali.  One of the co-authors of a fabulous book From Pemmican to poutine: A journey through Canada’s culinary history.  It’s wonderful to use a cookbook that is written in your area and to support local chefs and writers from your home country.  So for a real treat, here is a guest blog post from Brooke!

As a child growing up in Nova Scotia, blueberries were a common addition to sweet treats. Blueberries are one of the most prolific berries in the province and the low bush variety is indigenous to the area. I remember taking a plastic cup out to the woods behind my house every July to pick the tiny, tart-sweet low bush blueberries that grew wild there. I always said I was going to make a pie, but I inevitably ended up eating them long before they had a chance to become anything.

An excellent way to showcase these delicious blue orbs is in blueberry grunt. This dish was likely developed by early British settlers who adapted their own traditional cooked fruit desserts to be made with the indigenous offerings. The “grunt” part of the name comes from the sound the berries make as they are cooked down. My favourite way to enjoy blueberry grunt is as a Sunday breakfast, but throughout history it has also played a role as dessert and even main course.

Blueberry Grunt

  • 4 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup water


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup 2% milk

In a large saucepan combine blueberries, nutmeg, cinnamon, sugar, lemon juice, and water and boil gently until well blended and cooked down.

In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in butter and add enough milk to make a soft biscuit dough.

Drop by spoonfuls into the hot berry sauce.

Cover tightly with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes. The dumplings should be puffed and cooked through.

Transfer cooked dumplings to serving dish. Ladle sauce over top and serve with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.

Thanks to Brooke!  How good are dumplings, baked in juicy blueberry goodness?  I just love that the word grunt is in this recipe.

Original recipe: From Pemmican to poutine: A journey through Canada’s culinary history.  We didn’t receive any compensation for this post, but we will be buying a copy of this book very shortly!

Song for this recipe:

“Blue Velvet” – Bobby Vinton Blue Velvet - The Best of Bobby Vinton

Bobby Vinton was a band leader in the 60′s, who had a hard time getting hits to begin with.  He hired a girl to shop around his first single Roses are Red with a dozen red roses to all the local disc jockeys to try and get them to play it.  But when he released his covers album Blue on Blue, he lucked out with his version of Blue Velvet (originally a hit for Tony Bennett in the 50′s) that went to the top of the charts for weeks.  It is the perfect song for making dessert, I would recommend listening to the whole album while baking and eating this treat.

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11 Responses

  1. Joh S says:

    ha. Poutine! I’d forgotten that delicacy. Love some grunt right now. Sounds delish. I hope you told her about damper and honey. Now that is delicious.

  2. admin says:

    Ahh damper and honey, a good combo. I’ll make you some grunt when I next see you – I almost chose a song from Rusty Crowe’s band 30 odd foot of grunt, but didn’t feel it matched…

  3. Stephanie says:

    YUM! Definitely keeping this recipe on hand :) Buzzed ya!

  4. Curt says:

    That looks fantastic! I love cinnamon and nutmeg together. That combination always takes me back to my childhood. That’s what we always made toast with. Sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and butter!

  5. Susie says:

    I have never heard of this but it looks fantastic. Plus I like the name. :)

  6. admin says:

    I know! The name is awesome hey? And it is a delicious recipe.

  7. admin says:

    Me too Curt! I love those two spices together – I put them in banana smoothies!

  8. kellypea says:

    This sounds really tasty. I’ve been experimenting with different old fashioned baked fruit desserts, but haven’t tried a grunt yet. I love dumplings, so know I’d enjoy this. :)

  9. Hi Wendy, this continues to be a fantastic site and I love it!!So looking forward to seeing Ellen soon, but give her a hug from me before I do!Thanks muchly.

  10. admin says:

    I haven’t seen her in a few weeks – I miss her!!! Glad you’re liking the blog! Have a wonderful time when you do see her! XOXO

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