A Summer Slump


We had a bit of a heat wave in the Bay Area this past weekend. Saturday, in particular. There’s nothing like coming off of a long flight from China and having your typically foggy city greet you with blazes. I mean really, there was no easing into summer. But it’s no problem. I’ve gotten my cotton skirts out of storage and plan on wearing them all summer long. That and flip-flops and high ponytails. There will be iced coffee in the mornings and lots of leg-dangling in my mom’s pool.

What is a problem, however, is even thinking about turning on the oven to bake during the summer. But I’ve found a solution. Its name is slump. Do you know slumps? If not, you should. I’ll introduce you.

A slump (also referred to as a grunt) is an old-fashioned dessert made with whatever fruit you have on hand. On the spectrum of old-school fruit desserts, a slump is somewhere between a cobbler and a steamed pudding. This is not necessarily the most beautiful, visually stunning dessert you’ve ever seen. I probably wouldn’t make it for royalty or even for, say, a bachelorette lunch. Stick with petite fours for that one. Or maybe a pavlova. But I love slumps for their simplicity: you slice up a bowl of fruit, heat the fruit  in a pan on the stove top, cover it with a simple dumpling dough, put the lid on, and steam away for about 20 minutes. Done. Now you’re acquainted.


The best part about slumps and summer?  Because you cook them on the stove top, you never need to actually preheat the oven. It’s not a baking-while-sweating endeavor. Now that you’ve met slump and perhaps started to really let him grow on you, I have to tell you about slump’s bad side: he doesn’t keep well. In fact, you really have to take down the whole pan the same day (although I think having it for breakfast the next morning would be perfectly acceptable) because it will get quite soggy. For me and the company I keep, that doesn’t ever seem to be an issue. But you may want to plan accordingly.

O.k, my work here is done for now.
You + Slump = fast new friends.
Me= Going for a pool-side leg dangle.

Stone Fruit Slump

Stone Fruit Slump

  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Cook time: 25 mins
  • Inactive time: 30 mins
  • Total time: 1 hr 20 mins

To peel peaches quickly, dunk them in boiling water for thirty seconds or so and the skin should peel off quite easily. For this recipe, it is important that you use a pan with a tight-fitting lid so the slump steams adequately. And while I don’t always love using cornstarch in fruit recipes, stone fruit does have a high water content, so it’s necessary here. Don’t leave it out.

Adapted from: Rustic Fruit Desserts

Ingredients

Fruit Filling:

8-9 cups (or 3 pounds, prepped) fresh or frozen peaches, nectarines or plums, pitted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)

Dumpling Topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted cake flour
2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup cold buttermilk

Instructions

Slice fruit into thin wedges over a bowl, collecting all of the juice. Drop slices in bowl. Separately, stir the sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a small bowl, then add to the fruit and quickly toss to coat. Gently stir in the lemon juice, then slide the fruit and juices into a 10-12 inch non-reactive, deep skillet or a wide 5-quart saucepan or Dutch Oven. Let stand for 15 minutes as the fruit releases its juices and the sugar dissolves. Bring the fruit mixture to a low simmer over medium-low heat and stir occasionally to prevent juice from sticking to the bottom. Simmer for 2 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove from heat.

To make the dumpling dough, 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 hands or a pastry blender, cut in the butter until it’s the size of peas. Add the cold buttermilk and stir until just combined. Don’t worry: the dough will be pretty wet.

Scoop 8 dollops of dough atop the fruit, distributing each dumpling evenly over the surface. Return to the stove top and bring to a gently simmer over low heat. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and continue simmering for 18-22 minutes, or until dumplings are puffy and cooked through. Remove the cover and let cool 15 minutes before serving.

Comments

  1. my little expat kitchen

    It looks great! I just love these kind of simple desserts. You're right, me and it are gonna be friends real soon!
    Magda

  2. kamran siddiqi

    I think I am about to do the same thin- go to the pool. I just came back from my last day of finals. Have a free day tomorrow, Friday's graduation practice (and my special day) and Monday's graduation. I'll need some of this slump to keep me calm during these next few days. :)

  3. deeba

    Rustic Fruit Desserts? YES PLEASE! As rustic and moorish as this ... I love it even more!

  4. Liren {Kitchen Confidante}

    I found myself in the same heat spell this weekend, baking with stone fruits! While I am so glad summer has found its way to SF, it always makes me second guess whether or not to fire up the oven. Love the idea of a stove top slump! I will definitely be trying this when we get our next heat wave.

  5. Denise | Chez Danisse

    I've never met Slump, but I can imagine us becoming friends. Thanks for the intro. Enjoy the pool : )

  6. Janet

    Oh, this looks fantastic, and fun. Peaches!

    I heard it's been HOT in Marin! I'm looking forward to making this in my Dad's new kitchen, then going for a swim in their community pool. Summer!

  7. El

    I love this idea because it's so simple and delicious. Your so lucky to have a pool!

  8. Mary

    Your peach photo is stunning, Megan! My favorite fruit paintings are by Cezanne. This is like a modern-day Cezanne. The recipe sounds delish too - love the name.

  9. Lynne

    Actually sounds really good and I can use the side burner on the BBQ to keep my house even cooler :)
    A Summer Slump will be a brilliant addition to our menu...Thank You!!

  10. Kathleen

    I think this looks wonderful....especially for good close friends! Thanks for sharing.
    Kathleen

  11. Danielle

    The pool does sound like a great idea, but before I go - thanks for introducing me to a new friend. Later!

  12. Kasey

    I am a huge fan of fruit desserts in the summertime--especially ones that involve stone fruit. I feel like I wait all year for those glorious peaches. This past weekend was absolutely out of this world--I wish I had a slump! Maybe this weekend for my mom's birthday in Tahoe...

  13. Baking Serendipity

    What a perfect summer recipe! I feel the same way about cooking in the oven here in Phoenix, and will definitely have to give this one a try :) Thanks for sharing!

  14. Nikki

    this looks great, a definite must make, thanks for the introduction!

  15. taylor

    Oh perfect! I walked by a mountain of fresh peaches today and thought what could i do with a basket! THanks i intend on making it this evening... making best friends with the Slump! :)

    I have a food blog if you care to take a gander, I adore yours!

    http://threeoftarts.blogspot.com/

  16. Jason

    Great recipe. We used this at a 'Peach themed' long lunch the other day. (a 7 hour long lunch...) and it worked a treat.
    Thanks!

Join the Discussion

Winter Soups and Stews

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

Smoky Butternut Squash and Three Bean Chili

If your house is anything like ours, last week wasn't our most inspired in terms of cooking. We're all suffering from the post-election blues -- the sole upside being Oliver's decision to sleep-in until 7 am for the first time in many, many months; I think he's trying to tell us that pulling the covers over our heads and hibernating for awhile is ok. It's half-convincing. For much of the week, instead of cooking, there'd been takeout pizza and canned soup before, at week's end, I decided it was time to pour a glass of wine and get back into the kitchen. I was craving something hearty and comforting that we could eat for a few days. Something that wouldn't remind me too much of Thanksgiving because, frankly, I can't quite gather the steam to start planning for that yet. It was time for a big bowl of chili.

Read More
5 Tips For Cooking with a Baby + Power Greens Soup

5 Tips For Cooking with a Baby + Power Greens Soup

Last weekend it was so windy – apocalyptically stormy, you could say – that our tent at the farmers market was uprooted by gusts of wind that were not messing around. I wasn't there, but apparently despite being heavily weighted down and with four customers holding onto each corner, it quite literally blew down the block. Sam, from across town, was reporting trees falling on every block and traffic lights out across the city. The next morning on a walk with Oliver around Green Lake, we were met with that same biting wind and ended up retreating for a hot chocolate instead. 'Tis the season in Seattle: we all get a little giddy and ahead of ourselves when we spot the cherry blossoms and daffodils, and I always trick myself into thinking that with the start of daylight savings time,  summer must be right around the corner. In truth, before we had Oliver, we'd often travel somewhere sunny for a little mood boost around this time of year. When I moved from California, many friends – other (empathetic) 'expats' now living in the Pacific Northwest – recommended this: if you know what's good for you, they'd all say, go find the sun in February or March, and we would follow that advice faaaaaithfully. But with a baby, this just isn't where our priorities are this year, and I've found myself relying on other antics like buying out of season strawberries, drinking white wine with dinner, buying a new pair of sandals that likely will not see the light of day for the next two months, and making big, colorful pots of feel good, springy soup. Let's not kid ourselves: Cherry blossoms or not, Seattle's no Palm Springs when it gets down to bathing in the sunlight. But if you step outside onto your little porch, smell the honeysuckle blooming, take notice of the longer, lighter days and think about how you simply can't wait to see your baby crawling around on the sand when it's warm enough to stroll down to the beach, it starts looking better in its own light. 

Read More
Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

Minestrone Verde with White Beans and Pesto

We returned home from San Francisco on New Years Eve just in time for dinner, and craving greens -- or anything other than baked goods and pizza (ohhhh San Francisco, how I love your bakeries. And citrus. And winter sunshine).  Instead of driving straight home, we stopped at our co-op where I ran in for some arugula, an avocado, a bottle of Prosecco, and for the checkout guys to not-so-subtly mock the outlook of our New Years Eve: rousing party, eh? They looked to be in their mid-twenties and I figured I probably looked ancient to them, sad even. But really, there wasn't much sad (or rousing, to be fair) about our evening: putting Oliver to bed, opening up holiday cards and hanging them in the kitchen, and toasting the New Year with arugula, half a quesadilla and sparkling wine. It wasn't lavish. But it's what we both needed. (Or at least what we had to work with.) Since then, I've been more inspired to cook lots of "real" food versus all of the treats and appetizers and snacks the holidays always bring on. I made Julia Turshen's curried red lentils for the millionth time, a wintry whole grain salad with tuna and fennel, roasted potatoes, and this simple green minestrone that I've taken for lunch this week. Determined to fit as many seasonal vegetables into a bowl as humanly possible, I spooned a colorful pesto on top, as much for the reminder of warmer days to come as for the accent in the soup (and for the enjoyment later of slathering the leftover pesto on crusty bread).

Read More
Simple Cooking: Pasta and Chickpea Soup

Simple Cooking: Pasta and Chickpea Soup

One of the things I wanted to accomplish before really returning to work in earnest was to print some of our honeymoon photos and get them into an album. This project has taken far longer than expected as I find myself daydreaming about the craggy streets of Naples and meeting up with our friends Mataio and Jessica for a late night slice of pizza which we ate sitting on the sidewalk before embarking on an aimless but wonderful stroll of the city. There are photos of our balcony by the sea, most with tanned limbs, sandy sandals and a Campari and soda gracing the periphery of the frame. There was the little grocery store up the hill from our apartment on the Amalfi Coast that had the sweetest, tiniest strawberries and the best yogurt in little glass jars. Tomatoes drying in the sun, Aperol spritzes and salty peanuts before dinner at the bar across from the church square where all the neighborhood kids played kickball. As I sit here typing this now, photos remain scattered on my desk and it's likely they may not make it into the proper slots in the album anytime soon. Of course, they have me dreaming of sunshine and long days with little agenda, but they also have me thinking about the simplicity of our meals in Italy and how truly easy it was to eat well. Coincidentally, a few days ago Rachel Roddy's lusty new cookbook (can we call it lusty?!), My Kitchen in Rome, arrived at our doorstep. Clearly it was time to set the photos aside and get into the kitchen. 

Read More
Returning Home

Returning Home

And suddenly, it's fall. I find that realization always comes not so much with the dates on the calendar as it does the leaves on the ground, the first crank of the heat in the morning, the dusky light on the way home from an evening run. Because we were gone on the train for nearly a week, I feel like fall happened here in Seattle during that very time. I left town eating tomatoes and corn and returned to find squashes and pumpkins in the market. It was that quick. And so, it only seemed fitting that I make this soup, one that has graced the fall table of each and every apartment (and now house) I've ever lived. In fact, I'm surprised that I hadn't yet made it for you here, and delighted to share it with you today. 

Read More