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Posts Tagged ‘berries’

I’ve never made a dish described as a “buckle” before.  I have made cobblers, (I like the kind with pastry crust not biscuit topping), and crisps, but never a buckle.  I’m reading a great book, A Northern Light, by Jennifer Donnelly and the narrator Mattie describes the Blueberry Buckle her mother used to make in happier times.  The description of the dessert and the cheerfulness of the characters made me want to know all about foods know as buckles.  The book takes place in rural upstate New York in the early 1900’s, but I got out my Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook and sure enough there was a recipe for Blueberry Buckle and even a description of all kinds of rustic fruit desserts.  There are of course cobblers and crisps and even more old timey things called bettys and crumbles.  The cookbook also listed something called a slump which is sometimes known as a grunt because of the sound it makes when its cooking.  I won’t be trying either of the last two, ever.   

 Southern Living describes a buckle as, “tender cake generally baked with fresh berries inside or on the bottom of the cake.”  This buckle has the fruit right on the top and it is outstanding!  The cake is delicate and moist, not very sweet, the fruit juicy and fresh, and the crumb topping is browned and crunchy.  I used up some almost overripe strawberries and blueberries, and I’m fairly certain any berry would be delicious. I think we waited a whole 7 or 8 minutes after it came out of the oven to eat it.  The warm fruit and cake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was divine.  Also it’s a great way to use up fruit if you overbought on your last trip to the grocery store.

Summer Berry Buckle

  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups fresh berries (whatever you like), washed and patted dry.  Slice strawberries if using.
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ cold butter

Ready for the oven

In a medium bowl beat ½ cup softened butter at medium speed with electric mixer until creamy.  Add ½ cup sugar, mix well.

In a small bowl combine 1 ¼ cups flour, baking powder and salt; add to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture, mixing well after each addition.*  Stir in vanilla.

post oven

Pour batter into a greased 8-inch square baking dish.  Top with berries.

In the same bowl used for the flour, combine remaining ½ cup sugar, remaining ¼ cup flour and cinnamon.  Cut in the ¼ cup cold butter with a pastry blender, or use your fingers, until mixture is crumbly; sprinkle evenly over blueberries.

Bake at 375° for 40 – 45 minutes.  Makes about 8 servings.

*To alternate, first add about ½ cup of the flour, then half of the milk, then another half a cup of flour then rest of the milk then the remaining ¼ cup of flour.  Don’t forget to mix well after each addition.  My mom (the professional baker, and retired chemistry teacher) explained the chemistry of this process to me once and why it makes a difference.  There were big words and things I can’t remember but it does make a difference in the final product, and it only takes an extra minute.

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