Blueberry Grunt Recipe – Canadian Blueberry Cobbler from Nova Scotia


This Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt recipe is the best blueberry dessert ever! It’s like a blueberry cobbler but with light lemon sour cream dumplings steamed in a spiced blueberry sauce! 

a serving of Nova Scotia blueberry cobbler topped with fluffy light lemon sour cream dumplings
This Blueberry Grunt recipe is the best blueberry dessert! Like a blueberry cobbler but with fluffy lemon sour cream dumplings steamed in blueberry sauce! 

Move over Cobbler! Make this Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt recipe this summer! 

Having lived in Canada for the last 4 years, I ‘ve seen quite a bit of this huge country. However, I have not made it to the Maritimes yet which is top top top of my travel bucket list! One of my major motivations – apart from the breathtaking landscapes and lovely people – the sheer abundance of wild blueberries in the provinces Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, PEI and Newfoundland!

If the Maritimes had an official dessert, it might just be Wild Blueberry Grunt. This easy stovetop blueberry dessert is pure Canadiana! 

What is Blueberry Grunt? 

So, what is a Blueberry Grunt? YES, there’s a legit explanation for the funny name is coming right up. 

It’s a Canadian blueberry cobbler. But one with superpowers because you don’t need to turn on the oven! You cook it on the stove top – or campfire, if you’re an outdoorsy person. Aren’t camping desserts THE BEST?

What sets it apart from a blueberry cobbler is that the sour cream dumplings steam instead of bake. Like chicken and dumplings – just with light lemon dumplings and blueberry sauce!  The simmering blueberries make a ‘grunting’ noise as the steam moves through the dumpling batter, hence the name: Grunt.

I have also come across the name Slump for this kind of blueberry cobbler since that’s what it does when you try and put it on a plate.  Yep, I did this photoshoot twice. All the vanilla ice cream in the world could not make that messy plate of blueberry grunt pretty.

Talking about vanilla ice cream – yes that’s what is typically served with a Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt. I had mine with a scoop of my homemade Basil Ice Cream and it was insanely delish! 

The origins of the blueberry grunt are unclear. Some claim it was first made by early colonial settlers as an adaptation of British pudding using local ingredients, while others claim it originated as a form of Acadian “forage food.”

It is most likely the result of both of those factors combined. 

I got my original Blueberry Grunt recipe from a Canadian cookbook I found in my in-laws’ cookbook collection, which I promptly borrowed.

I have adapted the blueberry grunt recipe ever so slightly to suit my own tastes but essentially, this is a pretty traditional Nova Scotia grunt! close-up of a small bowl of Canadian Wild Blueberry Cobbler called Blueberry Grunt

Why you’ll love Blueberry Grunt even more than Blueberry Cobbler: 

  • The timeless combination of wild blueberries and a fluffy dumpling toppings makes for a crowd-pleasing treat.
  • By grating the lemon zest directly into the sugar we use for blueberry sauce and dumplings batter and rubbing it in with our fingertips, we season the whole dessert with fresh lemon aroma.
  • Served with a generous scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream, this blueberry grunt will take you straight to blueberry heaven!

Nova Scotia Blueberry Cobbler served in individual ramekins

Guys, there’s something special about a house filled with the aromas of simmering berries, vanilla and lemon! They should sell that smell in bottles! I would buy it on everything including myself! 

How to make the best ever blueberry grunt recipe: 

We start by making homemade lemon sugar which will go both into the blueberry sauce and the lemon dumplings. 

Next, we simmer berries and sugar until the mix reaches a jam-like consistency. Right at the end, I like to add a pinch of cardamom and cinnamon along with some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

While the blueberries are simmering, we quickly stir together the batter for the dumplings which we then scoop on top of the blueberry sauce.

Now close the pot with a tight-fitting lid and let everything simmer for 14 minutes or until the dumplings are light and fluffy. Do not peek! 

That is it, you guys! You made one of Canada’s most iconic desserts – and in a cinch!

a half eaten blueberry grunt topped with light lemon biscuits

Tips for making Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt: 

  • Wild blueberries are the key to a delicious grunt!  If you can find fresh, awesome – but frozen wild blueberries will work just as well. If using fresh berries add just a splash of water to the pan to prevent the sugar from burning.
  • When mixing the batter for the sour cream dumplings, only stir until a batter starts to form. Streaks of flour are no problem.
  • DO NOT remove the lid while cooking otherwise the dumplings won’t rise and you’ll be stuck with a gloopy mess. The dumplings should be puffed and well cooked through.

overhead shot of two small casseroles with Canadian Wild Blueberry Cobbler aka Blueberry Grunt

Variations on this recipe: 

Blueberries can be swapped for strawberries, peaches or rhubarb, or a mix of those. Another nice version would be one with Saskatoon berries if you have a tree in your garden. But blueberries are the most traditional and popular.

The pinch of cinnamon, cardamom and lemon zest are my additions to jazz up the flavour of this blueberry grunt, but you can certainly leave them out. 

But hey, you can also take this game further and add some more cardamom to the blueberry stew and skip the cinnamon. Blueberries and cardamom go really well together, ask anyone from Scandinavia! 

a half eaten portion of Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt topped with sour cream dumplings

f you love blueberries, then you can’t go wrong with this easy stove-top dessert. For a special treat, serve your Blueberry Grunt warm with vanilla ice cream, my basil gelato or a dollop of sour cream.

What’s The Difference Between A Blueberry Grunt, Cobbler, And A Crisp?

All of these delicious blueberry desserts are very similar indeed and it’s easy to confuse them. To be frank, though, a grunt, is just another name for a blueberry cobbler but all grunts are made on the stove-top whereas cobblers tend to be baked. A ‘grunt’ can also be called a ‘slump’ depending on where in the Maritimes you are. That leaves us with cobblers and crisps.

  • Fruit Cobblers are either cooked on the stove or baked in the oven and topped with a savory dumpling, biscuit or another doughy batter.
  •  Fruit crisps are very similar to cobblers in that they utilize fruit as a base and are baked in the oven. Crisps are topped with a crumbly and crunchy topping often consisting of rolled oats, brown sugar,  butter, and flour. This mixture crisps up to golden glory as the butter melts, and the sugar caramelizes.

Did you make and love this blueberry grunt recipe? Give it your review below! And make sure to share your creations by tagging me on Instagram!

Best Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt Recipe

Course Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine Canadian
Keyword blueberry cobbler recipe, blueberry grunt recipe, Canadian blueberry dessert
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Kiki Johnson

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon juice and zest
  • 6 cups blueberries 600 g, frozen or fresh
  • 3/4 cups sugar 165 g
  • 1/3 cups water 80 ml
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1/3 cups milk 100 g
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence
  • 2 cups flour + 1 tbsp , 260 g
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 cups butter 30 g

Instructions

  1. Grate lemon zest directly onto the 1 cup total of sugar we need for the recipe and rub in with your fingertips to flavor the sugar with the lemon essential oils.

  2. Add blueberries, lemon sugar and water to a medium sized pot and bring all to a simmer on medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 - 45 minutes until you have an almost jam-like consistency.

  3. Add spices and lemon juice and take pot off the heat. 

  4. Combine milk, sour cream and vanilla and stir. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and 1/4 cup of lemon sugar. Grate cold butter on top of dry mix and combine. Alternatively, you can quickly pulse the dry mix and butter in the food processor. Add liquids and quickly combine to a shaggy batter. Don't stir too much or your drop biscuits will be tough.

  5. Taking 1 tbsp of batter at a time, shape the batter to dumplings between 2 tbsp and place them on the blueberry jam in the pot. Place pot on medium heat and put a tight-fitting lid on.  Simmer for 14 minutes and do not lift the lid during that time.

  6. Serve with vanilla ice cream or sour cream. 

Recipe Notes

  • Wild blueberries are the key to a delicious grunt!  If you can find fresh, awesome - but frozen wild blueberries will work just as well. If using fresh berries add just a splash of water to the pan to prevent the sugar from burning.
  • When mixing the batter for the sour cream dumplings, only stir until a batter starts to form. Streaks of flour are no problem.
  • DO NOT remove the lid while cooking otherwise the dumplings won’t rise and you’ll be stuck with a gloopy mess. The dumplings should be puffed and well cooked through.
This Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt recipe is the best blueberry dessert ever! It's like a blueberry cobbler but with light lemon sour cream dumplings steamed in a spiced slow cooked blueberry sauce! So easy to make and simply the perfect crowd-pleasing summer dessert #dessert #canadian #cobbler #brunch #easyrecipes

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