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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 fruitΒ  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?Β  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 | A Sweet Spoonful

Stone Fruit Slump

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 mins
Inactive Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 25 mins
Total Time: 80 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


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


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.

  1. Posted June 16, 2010 at 7:11 am

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

  2. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    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. πŸ™‚

  3. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:12 am

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

  4. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:15 am

    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. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:37 am

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

  6. Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:55 am

    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. Posted June 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

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

  8. Mary
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    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
    Posted June 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm

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

  10. Posted June 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

    How simple and lovely!

  11. Posted June 17, 2010 at 10:46 am

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

  12. Posted June 17, 2010 at 3:37 pm

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

  13. Posted June 17, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    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…

  14. Posted June 18, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    I love it and really enjoyed your photos from China!

  15. Posted June 18, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    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 πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing!

  16. Posted June 19, 2010 at 6:33 am

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

  17. Posted June 29, 2010 at 2:58 am

    A gorgeous fruit dessert, like my nana used to make! I think this would make an excellent breakfast!

  18. taylor
    Posted June 29, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    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! πŸ™‚

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

  19. Jason
    Posted July 28, 2015 at 11:04 am

    Great recipe. We used this at a ‘Peach themed’ long lunch the other day. (a 7 hour long lunch…) and it worked a treat.

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