The heat kicked in last night. July 4th is in two days. Happy summer, Chicago!
I’m not sure what is happening with the weather, but we’re still trying to pretend it is warm. Last weekend, we had friends over for a barbeque and the plan was to end dinner with a cobbler cooked on the grill. But one thing lead to another and when I should have been making dessert, our little ones were discovering planets and telling us the difference between them and the stars we could see. So we decided to have coffee and a slump* the next morning.
It was my first time making a slump and I sort of just guessed at how much fruit I had. In the end I used Julie Richardson’s “Rustic Fruit Desserts” as a guide. Her book has a stone fruit slump, but I made a blueberry rhubarb slump. The rhubarb was really moist and I should have used more cornstarch, because my slump looked almost more like a pudding, more fruit than biscuit.
It was delicious, but there was some debate about the merits of the name “slump.” I kind of like saying it, but it is a funny way to describe a dessert. Slump, slumpy, doesn’t sound very appealing, it honestly sounds like you are describing a dish you messed up a little, but still taste good. We decided this style of dessert should be called “muffin pudding.” Nick suggested “Muffing” but that sounded a little racy for a dessert, but it made us all laugh pretty hard. In the end, I will certainly make this again.
If you choose the right fruits, this could be a beautiful, patriotic colored dessert for your barbeques this weekend. God willing, it will be hot enough not to want to turn on the oven and a stovetop dessert will be heaven sent. In reality, it might not feel so bad to turn on the damn oven and warm up the house. Because, really, who wants their heat to turn on it July?
Happy 4th of July!
*A slump is like a cobbler, but instead of cooking it in the oven you can make it on the stovetop in a large pan or Dutch oven.
- For the filling
- 4 1/2 pounds (8 to 9 cups) mixed fruit, in this case, rhubarb, blueberries and strawberries
- 3/4 to 1 cup (5 1/4 to 7 ounces) granulated sugar, depending on how sweet the fruit
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
- For the dumplings
- 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) unsifted cake flour
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 1 cup cold buttermilk
- Make the filling
- 1. Slice the fruit into 10 to 12 pieces each, working over a large bowl to collect both the juices and the slices.
- 2. In a separate bowl, rub the sugar, cornstarch, and salt together. Add this to the fruit and gently toss to coat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, then scrape the fruit and juices into a 10- to 12-inch nonreactive, deep skillet or a wide 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven. (Whatever pan you choose, it must have a tight-fitting lid so the slump will cook all the way through.) Let the fruit mixture stand for 15 minutes. During this time, the fruit will release some of its juices and the sugar will begin to dissolve.
- 3. Bring the fruit mixture to a low simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to prevent the juice from sticking to the bottom of the pan, but do so gently to avoid breaking down the pieces of fruit. Simmer for about 2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat.
- Make the dumplings
- 4. Whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom together in a bowl. Add the butter and toss until evenly coated. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until pieces of dough form that are the size of peas. Add the buttermilk and stir just until the mixture comes together; it will be a slightly wet dough.
- 5. Plop the dough atop the fruit in 8 blobs, using a spoon to make the blobs and distributing the dumpling dough evenly over the surface. Return the pan to the stove top and bring to a gentle simmer over low heat. Cover the pan with its tight-fitting lid and continue simmering for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the dumplings are puffy and cooked through to the center. Remove the cover and let cool for 15 minutes before serving. Sadly, slumps do not keep well. You’re just going to have to tuck into this immediately.