I've been making this Blueberry Buckle recipe for about 8 years now. I first made it at my friend Jamie's family cottage in Maine, the summer after I'd graduated from college. In anticipation of my trip, my dad had mailed me a copy of the Cook's Illustrated recipe, and on Mt. Desert Island, we acquired fresh wild blueberries and whipped up the buckle in the vintage blue and white cottage kitchen. Since there were only the two of us there, we left most (okay half) of the buckle in the freezer for Jamie's parents, and I think it's the reason they've continued to invite me back.
The buckle is the most distant cobbler relative, as it has a cake-like base, rather than a biscuit or pastry crust. The name comes not from shoes, but the fact that it "buckles" under the weight of all the fruit and buttery crumble top. Though these recipe uses a dense almost cookie-weight batter, it does indeed fall a bit in the middle, but that's the berries' fault, not the baker's, and the glut of fruit is what makes it special. Blueberries are classic buckle ingredients, but any type of berry will work--now that we're past blueberry season, try it with fall-bearing raspberries, or anything you put away in the freezer. The addition of the crumble top yields a coffee cake-esque treat that's equally good for breakfast or dessert.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated July/August 2005
For the buckle:
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
10 Tblsp. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
Zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
4 c. blueberries, low or high-bush, preferably fresh, though frozen will also work
For the streusel:
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
2 Tblsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. salt
4 Tblsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into chunks
1. For the streusel topping, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, spices, and salt until well combined. With a wooden spoon, stir in the chunks of butter, then work butter into the dry ingredients with your hands until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside on the counter while you prepare the rest of the buckle.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-inch cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, then grease and flour the paper and sides of the pan. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and baking powder and set aside.
3. In a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar, salt, and lemon zest until combined and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated. Gradually add the flour mixture while the mixture is on low speed. Mix well to combine, but do not overmix. Batter will be thick. With a rubber spatula, gently fold in the berries until incorporated.
4. Pour filling into the greased and floured pan, spreading evenly. Scatter streusel top over the buckle batter. Bake about 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
Blueberry Icebox Pie