Lauren: Blueberry Buckle

I’m not going to lie. When we chose blueberries for this week’s theme, I did not break out into even one of my giddy, food-related dances (chickpea salad anyone? herbs?). Sorry blue, but I’d pick a rasp-, straw-, or blackberry over one of your tart, seedy, smushy little siblings any day. But that is not the point.

The point of this post, and this blog for that matter, is to provide us with an excuse and a deadline to explore the world of food in more depth than we ever have before in our short 22 years of life. It’s a weekly discovery of vegetables we didn’t know existed, dishes we’ve never thought to make, and cooking (oh hell, you know it’s going to be mostly baking) techniques far from mastered. Hop in, guys; it’ll be an interesting ride. And a tasty one.

We hope.

You say blueberry; I say buckle. BLUEBERRY! BUCKLE! BLUEBERRY! BUCKLE! But seriously, you’ll be screaming about it, too.

The first delicious thing that popped into my head at the mention of blueberry was muffin. But I wanted to move beyond my mind full of muffins and delve deeper. Hours into my research and about 15 tabs on my Chrome browser later, I returned to one of my original favorites from the list: King Arthur Flour’s blueberry buckle (but NOT the one you can find online) by way of The Food Librarian. While this is probably the second-most-common blueberry baked good that comes to mind when brainstorming “what to do with blueberries,” I didn’t care. I wanted streusel.* In case you were wondering what a buckle is, it is, according to a website called wiseGEEK, a dessert which combines the holy trinity of dessert baking: seasonal fruit, a rich batter, and, the best part, a streusel topping. It looked good, if a little undercooked in the photo, so I resolved to cook it longer than specified in the recipe (which I tend to do with everything anyway) and began prepping.

I had two helpers in the kitchen for this baking adventure: my mom and my grandma. Both donned their aprons and got to work. Grandma rolled up her sleeves and commenced the pan-buttering. My mom was in charge of the streusel, and I just sort of ran around the kitchen mixing things.

It was easy; mix the dough, fold in the blueberries, pour into an 8×8 Pyrex glass dish, cover the top with streusel, pop it in the oven. In the end, though, I’m pretty sure I ended up cooking it for 10 extra minutes because the sugary topping WOULD NOT BROWN. When the edges of the buckle started browning, though, I decided to just take it out. I’ve had bad luck overcooking cake-like things lately, and I didn’t want to ruin this, too. I set it on our stovetop, and we left for dinner (meaning it had a chance to cool for around three hours).

My complaint with this recipe: It didn’t specify which kind of butter to use (I used unsalted to ensure I didn’t over-salt the recipe)—one of my eternal laments—and I ignored the Librarian’s note about butter usage, although in retrospect it probably would have been a good idea, since I found the topping just a tad too buttery. The recipe says to crumble the butter with a fork, a knife, or your fingers, but that just seemed inefficient and like unnecessary butter-touching (well, that sounds dirty), so we broke out our pastry knife to combine the streusel ingredients.

The buckle was much better once it had cooled completely than it was with a bit of oven warmth still on it. While I found the topping slightly too buttery, I did enjoy the little blueberry jewels studding the cake and the taste of lemon with every bite thanks to the rind in the topping. The crisp top combined with a very crumbly cake meant that I could not capture a good-looking piece of this baby, but just know that what it lacked in structural integrity it made up for in deliciousness. The buckle got rave reviews, and everyone who tried it went back for at least one more piece. It was gone in two days.

Looks like I’ll need to give blueberries another try.

*Confession: What I REALLY wanted to make was a golden brown, almond-topped vegan blueberry coffee cake by Hungryface, but spending on (and finding, for that matter) coconut oil and soy yogurt wasn’t going to happen, so I went with plan b(uckle).

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