Blueberry Slump

James Beard

Author and Educator

A slump (also known as a cobbler or grunt) is a dessert of fresh fruit that is cooked until thick, then topped with dollops of dough and baked. It can be made with any fruit, although blueberries are the most traditional. The only requirement is that the fruit be fresh and seasonal. According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink by John Mariani, slumps probably originated in the middle of the eighteenth century and were so popular that Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, named her Concord, Massachusetts, home “Apple Slump.”


4 servings


  • 1 quart blueberries
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoons butter, melted


Cook blueberries in a large, heavy saucepan with the water, 1 1/2 cups sugar, and nutmeg until they are well blended and slightly cooked down. Stir occasionally so that they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add more nutmeg if the berries seem to need it—this spice goes well with them.

While the blueberries cook, sift the flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt together and set aside. Combine the egg, milk, and butter and add the dry ingredients. Blend very, very well.

When the blueberries have bubbled and boiled until they are thoroughly broken down, drop spoonfuls of the dumpling mixture into the hot sauce. Cover tightly and cook for 10 minutes. Then uncover, transfer the cooked dumplings to a serving dish, and spoon the blueberries over them.

Serve with heavy cream, whipped cream, or ice cream.