Now lets see…there are Cobblers, Crisps, Crumbles, Buckles, Grunts, Slumps, Brown Bettys and Pandowdies. “Oh my”, indeed! What do all of the aforementioned things have in common? They are all rustic, regional fruit desserts, made with whatever fresh fruit ingredient is available at the time. There are a few differences however. Please indulge me as I describe each dish as best I can, though I’m sure regional differences abound. What some folks might call a crisp, I’m sure others would know as a crumble. Yet, here we go…
Cobbler: An American deep dish fruit dessert with a pie or biscuit crust. The dish can be either entirely enclosed in pastry on dotted with drops of biscuit, giving it an appearance similar to a cobbled street.
Crisps & Crumbles: A dessert which has fruit on the bottom with a crumbled topping consisting of flour, butter, brown sugar, oatmeal and/or nuts. This dish is baked. What Americans call a crisp is often referred to as a crumble in Britain.
Betty or Brown Betty: This fruit dish, most commonly made with apples, is similar to a crisp. However, instead of placing all of the fruit on the bottom and covering it with a topping, this dessert has layers of the fruit alternating with layers of buttery bread crumbs.
Grunt or Slump: These fruit desserts are very similar. They are both dumpling like puddings. A Slump is cooked on the stove top whereas a Grunt is steam cooked.
Pandowdy: This dessert is like a cobbler, but it’s crust has been broken up and pushed down into the fruit so that it can soak up the fruit juices. The result is that it becomes more like a bread pudding.
Buckle: A buckle is very similar to a coffee cake. It is a cake with berries folded into the batter that has a streusel topping. This topping gives it a buckled appearance.
What we’re dealing with here in this post, as you can clearly see now that all the definitions are out-of-the-way, is a delicious Blueberry Buckle recipe. Blueberries are in season now. Everyone is looking around to see what fabulous tasty treats they can make with all those bushels of blueberries they’ve just picked. I’m telling you…you’ve got to make this buckle! It is literally bursting with blueberries.
The cake merely serves as a thin matrix to hold all those berries together. It is really easy to prepare and every single person you feed it to will go crazy for it. I know all of my various descriptions above indicated that these fruit dishes were desserts. I can definitely see that. However, the Blueberry Buckle, being similar to a coffee cake is great for breakfast, or tea, or a midnight snack even.
Sure if you pop some whipped cream on the top or a scoop of ice cream down next to it, it’s also a most welcome dessert. I’m just saying its very versatile. Don’t miss out on this one!
Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures who found it in Cook’s Illustrated
Makes one 9″ Buckle
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- pinch salt
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, softened
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup (4 3/4 oz) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 4 cups fresh blueberries (about 20 oz)
To make the streusel: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the flour, both sugars, cinnamon and salt on low to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps. With the mixer still on low, add the butter and beat until it is completely incorporated into the dry ingredients, about 2-3 minutes – the mixture will resemble wet sand. Transfer the streusel to another bowl and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line the bottom of a 9-inch round pan with a round of parchment, then spray the parchment and the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour.
In a small bowl, whisk the flour and baking powder together then set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, salt and lemon zest at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs, on at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just about incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish stirring – the batter will be very thick. Gently fold in the blueberries.
Transfer the batter to the prepared pan; spread in an even layer. To top with the streusel – pick up a handful of streusel and squeeze to form a clump. Break this large clump into smaller pieces and sprinkle over the batter. Continue until you’ve used all of the streusel. Bake for about 55 minutes, or until the streusel is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool for 15-20 minutes. Run a thin knife around the edges of the cake then invert it onto the rack. Remove the parchment then turn the cake streusel side up and let cool on the wire rack.