What's for Dinner? Blackberry Buckle

Blackberry Buckle

What’s in a name? Buckle? Cobbler? Tart? Pie? Torte? Slump? Crisp? Croustade? Bird’s-nest Pudding? Grunt? Grunt???

In each case, they are all names—regional variations mostly—for desserts made from the same ingredients: seasonal fruit cooked with some kind cake, crust or biscuit topping.

I tend towards “buckle,:and of all the variations I found, ‘sonker’ and ‘pandowdy’ tied for first place in my list of favorites.

“Anyone care for some sonker after your main course?”

Anyway, back to this Blackberry Buckle recipe. Specifically, a buckle is a cake batter with berries mixed-in and a delicious buttery streusel on top and that is exactly what we’ll be making today.

With a watermelon-scented Summer behind us, Fall has brought us evenings with a slight autumnal chill and punnets of delicious, plump blackberries. Blackberries are a fine fall fruit and make for a great buckle. It even sounds delicious. Say it out loud: “Blackberry Buckle” – alliterative recipes are always the best.

Blackberry Buckle recipe:

For the topping (streusel, crust etc)

  • 1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus a little more for the baking dish
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 ¾ cup of blackberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F and rub some butter around a baking dish. Shape doesn’t matter for a buckle—round, oval, square—as long as it is approximately 9” diameter it will be fine.

To make the streusel / topping: Combine the flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix with your fingers, pinching the butter pieces, until the mixture looks like coarse meal with a few larger crumbs. Place it in the freezer while making the cake batter.

To make the cake batter: In a stand mixer (or using a hand-mixer), beat the sugar and butter until they are fluffy and creamy. This should take a few minutes.

With the mixer on a low speed, add the eggs one by one. Then add the vanilla. Once this is combined. Add the flour and mix lightly. Fold in the berries and put into the baking dish.

Spread the streusel over it and then bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes.

A good way to test is to use a toothpick: stick it through the crust and if it comes out dry then buckle is done.

Let it cool for 20 minutes in the dish and then serve either warm or cool.

If you are in denial that summer is ending, you could replace the blackberries with chopped peaches and raspberries for a more summery dessert.

Of course that dish is nowhere near as alliterative as Blackberry Buckle (go on, say it again – you’ll thank me for it) and doesn’t go as well when served with a light sweater draped over the shoulders.

Welcome to fall, people!

Blackberry Buckle

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