how ’bout a grunt for dessert?

blackberry gruntSome say a grunt is like a cobbler but brace yourself:  the first time I tasted this I almost fell over it was so good.  The dough is made with whipped cream and self-rising flour so it becomes a pillowy cloud of yumminess.

I was handed the recipe to make while working as a prep cook many years ago; the top of the printed out page said “James Beard’s Rhubarb Grunt”.  We were a new casual restaurant in need of a ‘wow’ dessert; this fit the bill both for the customers {so delicious} and for me the busy prep {simple, straight-forward directions}.

Years later I tried to find it online; lots of pages came up but never anything by James Beard.  So I’d like to credit the man who started it all, unfortunately with no link and I don’t know which of his cookbooks to mention…

Today I substituted marionberries for rhubarb since that’s what I had on hand.  So far I’ve used rhubarb, apricot, huckleberry, apple and peach and they all work well.


  • 1-1/2 pounds rhubarb, sliced {or berries or fruit of choice}
  • 3/4 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons sugar, separate
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream, whipped lightly


  • Preheat oven to 375F {or 350F convection}
  • Grease a 9-inch square brownie pan
  • Place the fruit evenly in the pan, then sprinkle with 3/4 cup of the sugar; toss to coat
  • Dot the surface of fruit with the butter cubes
  • Whip the cream, not too stiff
  • Sift the flour, the 3 tablespoons of sugar and the salt into a mixing bowl; gently stir in the whipped cream until it becomes a really sticky dough
  • Use a big spoon {and your finger} to scoop and drop the dough over the fruit; spread gently to cover as much as possible
  • Place pan on a lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes until lightly brown & bubbly

gruntYou can cut back a bit on the 3/4 cup sugar if you’re not using rhubarb, but the sugar is what makes the juice thicken.  It also works fine in any shallow pan or dish of comparable size.

I have eaten this warm with ice cream for dessert as well as cold with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  Either way it’s delicious, with a unique topping that I really love.


22 comments on “how ’bout a grunt for dessert?

  1. Looks delicious, similar to something my nieces make called a “dumpcake”.

    • thanks for subscribing and for your comment!

      i haven’t heard of dumpcake ~ this is like a cobbler but the fluffiness of the biscuit dough is so amazing

      • Dumpcake is also similar to a cobbler, but cakemix instead of the biscuit dough on yours. It’s a lot sweeter because of that. I make cobblers myself, because the pie crust used for it, isn’t as sweet, and allows the berries to shine. I think using the biscuit dough would have the same effect. Add some cinnamon, brown sugar too the biscuit dough and maybe even some nuts and it would make a great topping for it as well.

      • dumpcake sounds good too, but i agree not too sweet allows the berries to shine

  2. Amy says:

    Yum, yum! My mouth is watering. It looks delish!

  3. soffiagudrun says:

    I have a freezer with 20 kg of rhubarb. Am going to make a jam this weekend, might throw this recipe in to serve at “tea time”. I love rhubarb and Ice cream….If you say it´s good it´s a must try with all that rhubarb I got.

  4. Rachel Logan says:

    Looks perfect. I love using the bounty of summer berries in crisps and all sorts of baked dishes. I look forward to it!

  5. theFtangent says:

    This looks gorgeous! I love cooking with rhubarb, and the topping sounds really interesting, so definitely marking this out to try for myself.

  6. Vanesther says:

    Oh this is most definitely my kind of pudding – got to make soon!

  7. […] Grunt {a delicious twist on cobbler} from Eclectic Faerie […]

  8. Fabulous recipe. I’ve been a fan of James Beard for years, yet have none of his book and I can’t think why that is. Glad to have found your blog.

  9. […] Grunt– Stewed fruit topped with dropped or rolled-out biscuit dough while cooking. […]

  10. Diana says:

    Wow. That sounds scrumptious. Made me want to bake !

    {I might try adding tapioca [mmmm] to the fruit }…

    Thanks for visiting me, I’m keeping an eye on you.

  11. Jay says:

    James Beard’s Simple Foods, chapter 15 Cobblers: a buckle is a slump is a grunt

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