July 15, 2011

Blueberry Ginger Buckle

It is the last day in the office for two of my coworkers and I had a vat of blueberries needing eating, so I did what I always do when I have an ingredient, and I can't decide what to do with it. I asked Martha! I narrowed it down to blueberry buckle and a blueberry lemon bundt and let my departing colleagues decide. Buckle it is! Of all the jammy fruit-centric desserts--pie, crisp, cobbler, crumble, brown betty, etc.--buckle, which is essentially a fruit-intensive cake with a streusel topping, is one of the most cake-like (you can make it more or less so by increasing or decreasing the amount of blueberries in the recipe). Like its cohorts though, it is an extremely forgiving dessert, much less susceptible to the demands of precision than, say, your average scone or yellow cake. So feel free to tailor both the streusel topping and the dough to your tastes. For instance, I wanted to substitute in 1/3 cup of almond meal, but discovered the bag of almond meal I had stashed away and was saving for a special occasion was almost three years old and had gone bad. Note to self: there's no point in buying expensive ingredients if I'm going to hoard them! Disappointed about the almond meal failure, I decided to spice up the streusel by replacing the standard cinnamon with ground ginger. Some grated fresh ginger might have been nice as well, but I didn't have any on hand. The ginger gave the whole thing a bit of a savory flavor, making this a nice light summer dessert. It could really have used a dollop of vanilla ice cream, but unfortunately there's no freezer in my office.

One of my coworkers pointed out that because buckle is made in a spring form pan, it is actually baked with a buckle! This prompted me to wonder where on earth the name came from. Probably not because of the pan, which I use for all sorts of baking endeavors. It turns out that the recipe below is not the only way to make a buckle, and the other method explains the name. By the other method, you empty the batter into the pan before added the fruit, pour the fruit on top of it, and then proceed to the streusel. During baking, the cake will rise, buckle around the fruit (think a boulder field in an earthquake), and voila!

- Franklin

Blueberry Ginger Buckle
Adapted from Martha Stewart
Total Time: 1.5 hours; Sweetness Factor: 3; Richness Factor: 4; Difficulty Factor: 3; Chance We'll Make it Again: 9.

For the topping:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ginger (you can substitute cinnamon if you prefer)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (somewhere between room temperature and refrigerator cold)

For the cake:
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
3-5 cups blueberries (washed and destemmed)

Preheat the oven to °350. Prepare a 9 or 10 inch springform pan (if you go with the 9, you might want to stick to the lower end on the blueberry scale). Butter and flour.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt in a small bowl. Whisk together and set aside.

Cream the butter and the sugar in an electric mixer (stand or hand held) on medium speed. Once the mixture is light and fluffy, add the maple syrup. Turn the speed down, scrape sides as necessary with a rubber spatula, add the egg and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the milk. Using a spatula (not the mixer!), fold in the blueberries. Dump the dough into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.

To prepare the streusel, thoroughly whisk together the first four ingredients, and then cut in the butter. You can do this with a fork, two knives, a pastry blender, or a cuisinart. Mix until the mixture looks rough and sandy. Pour the streusel over the dough and spread it out evenly.

Bake for about an hour. The tester will come out stained blueberry blue but should be batter free. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

1 comment:

  1. i thought your buckle was delicious! yummmm.