When my husband and I got married we had no household necessities, we were both living at home and did not have much in the way of household goods to take with us to our new home. So our registry included most of the stuff that any functioning kitchen and household needs, and any cash gifts we got also went to purchasing basic items. But I did splurge on one cook book, it was the first hard covered, written by a chef cookbook I ever bought. Being a young bride the title spoke to me, the photography was stunning, and I loved the laid back playful attitude in the kitchen. I can pinpoint the moment in my life when my love affair with baking developed, it was during the early days of married life, after I finished my accounting homework, and poured over How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking by Nigella Lawson.
The first recipe I tried out of this cookbook was rhubarb grunt, and it was beautiful. At the time I believed recipes were to be followed, it took some time for me to get comfortable in my new kitchen, and gain the confidence to try different things. After many years of marriage, and many successes and fails in my kitchen, Rhubarb grunt is still good. My tweaks and adaptations have drastically changed the original recipe, but every time I make I think about the early days of married life and learning my way around a kitchen. How to Be a Domestic Goddess helped me overcome my believe that cooking and baking had to be regimented and recipes strictly adhered to be successful .
According to Wikipedia a grunt is a New England variety of a cobbler. I think the name is fun, and not often heard here in Upstate New York. I always get quizzical looks when I bring it to a picnic and people ask what it is and I reply “Strawberry-rhubarb grunt”. The name has never deterred anyone from eating it though, I always end up bring home a empty dish.
I have always been slightly annoyed that the strawberry and rhubarb seasons are close but don’t really overlap. Because rhubarb is in abundance now, but strawberries will not be ready for a while, I used Dole Whole Frozen strawberries in this grunt. The original recipe Nigella’s biscuit topping was touchy and leaned towards the dry side if you were not careful. The biscuit topping here is borrowed from Martha Stewart’s Raspberry-Rhubarb Grunt , I have found this version to be much more forgiving.
- 3 cups rhubarb stalks cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 cup strawberries, quartered * I used Dole whole frozen strawberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/3 cup whole milk, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 375° F, Spray a 9 inch or 8 inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Place prepared baking dish on a cookies sheet lined with foil to catch any drips or bubbling from the grunt.
- Combine the rhubarb and the strawberries with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes, and transfer to your prepared baking dish on the cookie sheet.
- Meanwhile make the biscuit topping. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, pinch of salt, in a medium bowl. Stir together milk and butter in another small bowl. Stir milk-butter mixture into flour mixture. Drop heaping spoonfuls of biscuit batter on top of filling, spread the better around with your fingertips, batter will be sticky.
- Bake for 45 minutes or until the fruit filling is thickened and bubbly, and the biscuit topping is golden.