A Sarcastic Appetite

Blueberry Buckle
September 13, 2010, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Recipes are nostalgic things, aren’t they? Even if you don’t know how to boil water, you still know how to enjoy food, and remember food, and share those remembrances with others. Sometimes our memories of places are shaped by the food we ate there – or mine are, anyway. And when one grows up spending summers in Maine, a few foods tend to take the spotlight year after year: lobster, corn, blueberries, popovers….and lobster and blueberries. All of this, of course, is typically enjoyed while being socked in for three days by relentless fog.

Blueberry buckle is one iteration of a summer of blueberries: blueberry pancakes, blueberry jam, and of course blueberry pie. It’s basically a coffeecake with blueberries and a streusel topping, though we never had it for breakfast. It was always an afternoon treat, sometimes served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and sometimes shoveled in just plain. It was one of the things I first remember baking on my own at 13 or so, curious about my mother’s handwritten recipe and what made the damn thing so delicious.

First, though, you must forget what you know about blueberries, even the ones you find at nice farmers markets. They’re nothing like Maine blueberries, which are smaller and tarter and altogether more delicious. Blueberry picking is a rite of passage up there, and not just for Sal; I’ve spent many an afternoon gathering berries, only to return with a dozen or so, having eaten them all. That being said, I had to make do with good old New Jersey blueberries (or at least I think they’re from New Jersey), and they’re perfectly fine. I just hope you get to try the real deal someday.

The rest of this is pretty straightforward; it’s a simple cake recipe, with some of the berries folded into the batter and the rest scattered on top. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to unearth the original recipe and so had to turn to the internets for a suitable substitute. This version didn’t rise as much as my mother’s recipe, but it’s delicious – and the smaller pieces mean you can get away with having seconds. Right? Right!?

Blueberry Buckle

Makes an 8″ square pan. That’s like, what, 6 slices, right? Adapted from “Mama’s Blueberry Buckle,” by Linda and Martha Greenlaw (via Food & Wine).

For the streusel:

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

4 tbsp. salted butter, softened, and cubed

For the cake:

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. (1/2 stick) of butter

1/2 c. sugar

1 large egg

1/3 c. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 c. blueberries

ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 350.º Butter an 8″ square baking dish. In a medium bowl, mash the butter, sugar, and cinnamon for the streusel. (Use a pastry cutter, forks, or your fingers.) Set aside. In another medium bowl, whisk together the cup of flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, beat the 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 stick of butter. Beat in the egg, then beat in half the flour mixture, followed by the milk, and then the rest of the flour mixture. Beat in the vanilla, then fold in 1/2 c. of the blueberries. Pour the batter into the baking dish and scatter the rest of the blueberries on top, then scatter the streusel topping. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out just clean. Serve warm or room temperature, with plenty of vanilla ice cream.

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