High Country Baking: Blueberry Buckle
August 7, 2012
Would you like to finish off your meal with a buckle? If you’re like me, you picture yourself chewing on a boiled belt and reply with a resounding, “No, thank you!” We’d probably view the invitation with more enthusiasm if we knew that early American fruit desserts have notably unappealing names and that the buckle in question is actually a tender yellow cake baked with a slurry of fresh, sweetened blueberries. In spite of its title, this Blueberry Buckle is really quite delicious.
Like most of the desserts originating in our country’s heartland, this poorly named pastry is simple, straightforward and comes together without the need for exotic ingredients or fancy equipment. In fact, it doesn’t even require an electric mixer. First, the berries are cooked briefly, until they’re softened and their juices thickened. The dry ingredients for the cake are then combined, followed by the wet ones. Finally, the two mixtures are blended into a batter, put in the pan, and the berries are poured over it. As the buckle bakes, the cake rises and becomes beautifully moistened by the fruit. The overall result is down-to-earth goodness.
The buckle, which should be served warm, cries out for ice cream; the two were simply made for each other.
This dessert is best the day that it is made, but it can be prepared earlier than serving time and reheated.
Vera Dawson, a chef instructor with CMC’s Culinary Institute, lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in an 8X8 inch square pan with sides at least 2 inches high
1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup) of granulated sugar, preferably Baker’s
1/4 cup of water
1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons of cornstarch
2 cups of fresh blueberries, washed and dried
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon of flour
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup of whole milk
8 tablespoons (one stick) of unsalted butter plus more for preparing the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
01 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, with a rack in the center position. Grease the pan with softened butter or a vegetable oil spray. Assemble the required ingredients. Melt the unsalted butter and set it aside.
02 Add the third-cup of sugar, the water, lemon juice and cornstarch to a medium saucepan and whisk to combine them well. Gently stir in the blueberries with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon. Place the pan on medium-low heat and bring the berry mixture to a simmer, stirring frequently. Simmer for about 4 minutes, until the juices are thickened by the cornstarch and some of the berries soften. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside.
03 Add the flour, the baking powder, the remaining half-cup sugar and the salt to a mixing bowland whisk to combine them well. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg, milk and melted butter until blended. Add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture and whisk or stir just until they are just combined. Don’t overbeat; the batter doesn’t have to be completely smooth. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and pour the blueberry mixture evenly over it. Bake until the cake rises through the berries, turns a golden color and a knife inserted in it comes out clean (there may be some berries on it, but no cake batter). This takes from 28 to 35 minutes in my oven.
04 Cool the buckle on a rack for at least 10 minutes before serving it with ice cream. The dessert can be cooled completely and reheated later in the day in a low (300 degree) oven until warm to the touch.
This recipe is a variation of one from Gourmet Magazine.