This is the first guest post I have had on my blog and what a guest it is. When I started blogging I think Toni (from the brilliant blog Boulder Locavore) began around the same time. What started as a few likes and comments here and there grew into a friendship and Toni and I now email regularly. We share a passion for local and seasonal food and infusing fruit and alcohol is something we both indulge in! It’s great to be able to see what’s happening on the other side of the Atlantic. Her photography leaves me green with envy and her recipes are always mouthwatering. Toni lives in Colorado and this is her fantastic recipe for Plum Slump.
I’m not sure exactly when I found Caroline (fantastic author of All That I’m Eating) in cyberspace but it was early on in my blogging career. I was immediately drawn to her almost mirror focus and passion for local food, made all the more enchanting by her being ‘across the pond’. Over time we connected with each other through email and have become friends, sharing admiration for each other’s food exploits and a penchant for seasonal recipes, foraging and infusing liquor with seasonal ingredients. I’m always excited to see what she’s whipped up next and was deeply touched when she asked me to guest post for her.
I have a personal soft spot for vintage recipes, often reinvigorating those from my multigenerational family recipe box or from vintage recipe collections I’ve purchased online.I’m not a fussy baker; I admire a pristine, flawless Martha Stewart caliber cake but it’s just not in my DNA to produce one myself.I also love a rustic dish that seems like real people have and would enjoy eating it.
Of late I’ve become a bit taken with rustic Americana desserts gone by the wayside. Their names are captivating and strange; Pandowdy, Brown Betty, Grunt, Slump and Buckles. Each name has very practical roots despite not leaving the dish sounding incredibly enticing! These desserts all center on seasonal fruit, are generally simple and fast to prepare (all the better in my book). I liked the idea of sharing one of these on All That I’m Eating as they are usually stemming from our original U.S. Colonists which would mean the Mother dish resides most likely in England. I’d love to know what you think inspired the version we ended up with in early America!
Plums are just coming into season in Colorado and I understand Damsons are beginning in England as well. I’ve never had a Damson Plum and quite envy the gin Caroline has made with them, begging her to describe the flavor which of course is a bit like explaining a color to someone without sight. I have a weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share in a local farm and this week left with a large bag of beautiful mixed plums in all sizes and colors.
Despite sounding like a dish featuring fruit with bad posture this Plum Slump is a lovely dessert, not too sweet, simple and relaxed. This same dish is either known as a ‘Slump’ or a ‘Grunt’ depending on where in the U.S. it is consumed. The south would call it a slump because as it cooks the sweet dumpling atop the fruit relaxes into a slump. In New England it’s referred to as ‘grunt’ due to the sound made by the steam escaping through the dumpling as it cools. Regardless of the less-than-tantalizing names, the dish stands on its own and does not disappoint!
This is a very versatile dessert really able to be made with any type of fruit or a fruit mixture. Instead of varying from the plums I used four varieties turning the thickened fruit on the bottom a gorgeous red tone. The recipe calls to simmer the fruit then add a bread topping which cooks into a soft, sweet dumpling.
I clearly was flying my Yank flag when making this, completely neglecting a conversion to weight measurements! I had full intention to weigh as a baked but was so excited I forgot. Caroline has come to my rescue with a conversion chart (click here). A note on the flour, I am gluten free so made this with gluten free flour but regular flour can easily be substituted.
Yield: 6-8 servings
Ingredients: 3 cups plums, pitted and sliced ¾ cup granulated sugar ¾ cup water* ¾ cup all purpose flour (regular or gluten free) 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/8 teaspoon salt 3 tablespoons butter, cold 1/3 cup buttermilk
*should you want to experiment a bit, substituting a light dessert wine for some or all of the water would add some unique flavor to the plum mixture.
1. In a large sauce pan combine the plums, water and ½ cup sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and reduce to simmer on low heat.
2. In a medium bowl stir together the flour, remaining sugar (1/4 cup), baking powder, cinnamon, salt. Add butter cutting it into the flour mixture with handheld pastry blender or a dull kitchen knife until resembling crumbs.
3. Add buttermilk to flour mixture and stir just until lightly mixed. Do not over mix.
4. Spoon small mounds of dumpling dough on top of the simmering fruit mixture (remember it will ‘slump’ together to cover the mixture). Simmer covered until a toothpick inserted into the dumplings comes out clean about 15-20 minutes. Note: dumplings will cook through but will remain softer in texture. Serve warm.
My thanks to Caroline for the chance to share this recipe on All That I’m Eating and to you, her readers, for spending some of your time with me! Please stop by Boulder Locavore to say hi!