I’m not going to lie, I considered a lot of puns to title this post, things like “buckle up,” or “get ready to loosen your...” but I ultimately decided against it. Not that I don’t love a good (or bad) pun, as the case may be, but memorializing it seemed like perhaps a bad idea, and so here we are.
If you’ve never had a buckle before, stop what you’re doing (ok, stop once you’re done reading this post and the recipe), and go make a buckle. A buckle is sort of a cross between a cobbler, a cake, a pie, and maybe a crisp. It takes all of the best elements of each, resulting in a soft, super moist cake. I would say it’s almost pudding like, but that really doesn’t do it justice. The buckle is topped with sort of a crispy sugar crust, making it even better.
The recipe I use is adapted from an old Gourmet. My mom has actually been making it for about as long as I can remember. Her advice when I went to make it was this “Bad fruit = bad buckle,” which is absolutely true. The original recipe calls for nectarines and blueberries, but almost anything will work. Ideally you want something with a sort of concentrated flavor. Most stone fruits (nectarines, peaches, etc) are great, as are all kinds of berries. I’ve never tried it with apples or pears, but I bet they would work in a pinch. One of the reviewers on epicurious mentioned having made one with strawberries and rhubarb. Given the early spring season, I went the berry route, and made one with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, which are always a solid choice if you can find good ones.
What I can say for sure is that the people I made this for couldn’t stop telling me how good it was. Maybe they were just being polite, but I suspect otherwise...
Makes 9 x 13 pan worth
For filling:1 cup + 2 T (2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened
For topping:¾ stick COLD unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9x13 cake pan or pyrex baking dish.
2. Start by making the topping. In the bowl of a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add the cold butter, and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse grain. Put the topping in the fridge while you make the rest of the buckle.
3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a standing mixer) cream together the butter and the sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla.
4. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
5. With the mixer on medium speed, alternate adding the flour, and the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
6. Fold in the fruit. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the topping liberally over the top of the cake. It might look like you’re putting it on thickly, but remember it melts in the oven, the more you add, the ticker and crunchier a crust you get.
7. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is golden on top, and the fruit juice is bubbling up the sides. Check it as you’re going, and if it looks like the top is burning, tent it with tinfoil.
8. Serve warm, with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.