Blueberry Buckle…

Just when I think I’m getting pretty knowledgeable in the culinary arts something comes along, be it a technique or a term, that makes me realize I’ve only scratched the surface of my so-called expertise. And so it was today as I was in the midst of my quest for my one new recipe per week goal. I’ve done a lot of main dishes lately and I thought I’d switch to the baking side for a couple of posts. So merrily I skipped off to Pinterest and started perusing pins. It was the title of the recipe that piqued my interest this time, a recipe for a blueberry buckle.

Wet and Dry Ingredients

Wet and Dry Ingredients

Before today I thought a buckle was a part of a belt. Now I know it is actually a term for a popular dessert that originated in New England. The premiss of a “buckle” is simple, consisting of adding berries to a single layer of cake batter. During the baking process the berries sink to the bottom and the cake emerges with a buckled appearance. Who knew you can eat a buckle as well as wear one? Will wonders never cease!

The original recipe came from a website called mybakingaddiction.com.  It seemed simple enough and this time I was smarter and adjusted the recipe for high altitude and guess what, the cake didn’t didn’t sink in! What a concept! So here are my lessons learned, recipe rating and my version of the recipe.

RECIPE RATING: A++++++  This is the best buckle I’ve ever eaten that’s for sure. The batter, the streusel topping and the blueberries all combine into one very delicious cake. Plus, you know me, I’m always a very happy camper when something turns out right the very first time you make it. I learned my lesson from not making the high altitude adjustments to my strawberry cream cheese coffee cake recipe. This time the adjustments were made and the cake turned out perfectly. I will outline the adjustments in the recipe below.

LESSON LEARNED 1: This time I made the streusel topping in a food processor versus trying to hand cut the cold butter into the other streusel ingredients. The mixture turned out much better. I simply pulsed the mixture until a greater portion of the mixture looked like very small pebbles. I will definitely make streusel that way from now on.

Ready To Go Into The Oven

Ready To Go Into The Oven

LESSON LEARNED 2: The original recipe called for two cups of blueberries. Next time I may try to cut that back a little to a cup and a half. That was a lot of blueberries and I think I might try having the cake be a tad more prominent. But use two cups if you like. I want to see if I can better balance the ratio of blueberries to cake. But then again, maybe that’s the nature of a buckle. There was certainly nothing wrong with how the cake tasted with two cups of blueberries.

LESSON LEARNED 3: As on average in high altitude, things take longer to cook. The original recipe called for baking the buckle for 25-30 minutes at 375. I would up baking it for 40 minutes.

LESSON LEARNED 4: The original recipe called for 1/4 cup shortening. I’m not a big fan of shortening so I used butter and it was fine.

LESSON LEARNED 5: I like this recipe because it is a good size for two people. I made it in an 8 x 8 pan and that is a perfect size for two people who will be munching on it over the next couple of days.

I have nothing negative to say about this recipe. The original recipe was written clearly, suggested substitutions, and turned out perfectly the first time. The only word of caution is that you use a lot of dishes to prepare the cake, but take my word for it, it’s worth it!

Fresh Out Of The Oven

Fresh Out Of The Oven

 

Blueberry Buckle

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder (high altitude adjust to 1/4 tsp)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3/4 cup sugar (high altitude make it a “light cup” – I left about 1/16 of an inch rim around the top)

1/4 room temperature butter, unsalted

1 large egg (high altitude use an extra large egg)

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (high altitude 2 tsp vanilla extract)

1/2 cup of milk (high altitude add 1 TBS water to the milk)

2 cups fresh blueberries

STREUSEL TOPPING:

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/3 packed light brown sugar (for high altitude do a soft pack)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3 TBS cold unsalted butter cut into cubes.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and set aside. Put all of the streusel ingredients except the butter into a food processor and set aside.

In a large bowl with an electric mixer, combine butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with a small portion of the milk. Start with the milk and end with the milk until the dry and wet ingredients are just combined. Fold in the blueberries.

Spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into the pan and spread out evenly. Cut the cold butter into cubes and add to the food processor. Pulse until a greater portion of the mixture resembles small pebbles. Spoon over prepared batter.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (high altitude can take as long as 40 minutes). Let cool for 20 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream.

Blueberry Buckle

Blueberry Buckle

 

 

 

It’s Been a Plum Job…

Tomorrow I go to the doctor and I’m anticipating being released to drive, go back to my part-time job and in essence be unchained from my surgery mandated recuperative routine. That means a couple of things, namely less regular time baking and slightly greater intervals in between my blogs. I know, this breaks your heart, but I have to admit it’s been fun taking time to just “be” and pursue a passion of mine, perfecting my skills in the kitchen. But before the doctor’s verdict I thought I would go for one last hurrah in the form of an easy plum tart.

Once again I foraged through the boards on Pinterest in search of a recipe that was not only easy but also comprised of ingredients I already had in the house (driving by myself to the grocery store is still a no-no, and getting my husband to make daily trips is a little more difficult than it’s worth).

IMG_4384After scrolling through at least 75 recipes I came upon one from the website makinghomebase.com called Easy Plum Tarte. I basically had all of the ingredients and probably the most time consuming part of the entire process was cutting up the plums and scooping out the pits. So once again I journeyed into the land of baking to see if I would have success making a plum tart. Lo and behold I did! I always love it when something comes out the way it’s supposed to the first time, it’s so affirming. And being the self-proclaimed Pinterest recipe critic that I am, I am including my rating of the recipe and lessons learned while making it.

Rating: A – this recipe turned out exactly the way it was supposed to – the fruit was bubbly, the crust nice and browned and the taste was delicious – so quick and easy to make, perfect as a fresh baked dessert for a busy weeknight.

Lesson Learned 1: I’ve made tarts somewhat similar to this before but never put parchment paper on the baking sheet. Never again. The parchment paper makes it so easy to transfer the tart to a plate, why didn’t I think of this before?

Ready To Go Into The Oven

Ready To Go Into The Oven

Lesson Learned 2: The recipe called for almond extract. I didn’t have it (I really need to spend some time at the grocery store since I’m out of both almond and vanilla extract, that’s unheard of for me) so I substituted cinnamon extract. I also added a little bit of nutmeg as I did not want the flavor of the plums to be to “cinnamony” and it worked well.

Lesson Learned 3. Take the time to arrange the fruit decoratively. In this case I made slices since the plums were big and I arranged them in a circular fashion. It looked good before and after it was baked. Remember you eat with your eyes first.

Lesson Learned 4: After brushing the pie crust dough with an egg wash I sprinkled it with some raw sugar. That gives the crust a little more of a professional look and adds some nice sweetness to the pie crust. The recipe did not call for that, but it’s a trick I learned a while back and it really adds to the flavor and appearance of the tart.

Lesson Learned 5: I always take 5 minutes off the recommended cooking time just to do a check-in. The recipe says to bake the tart for 40 minutes. I have a professional grade baking sheet and it tends to cook things a little faster so I checked the tart at 35 minutes and it was ready to come out of the oven. It helps to know your oven and to keep an eye on things. You can always keep it in longer but can’t go back once you’ve burned it.

Easy Plum Tarte

Easy Plum Tarte

This one is definitely a keeper. I would make it right before dinner, let it cool slightly while you’re eating and then serve it warm with a scoop of ice cream on top. Yum! Enjoy!

Easy Plum Tarte

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:

1 package store bought pie crust (I used Pillsbury)

8-10 plums (small to medium sized)

1/2 cup sugar

zest of one lemon

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 Tbs. flour

1 egg beaten with a tiny bit of water

raw sugar

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice and pit the plums and cut them into wedges. Toss the plums gently with the sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, almond extract and flour.

Unroll a single pie crust on to a parchment paper lined baking sheet (the pie crust will unroll more easily if you let it sit on your counter for at least 30 minutes to an hour so that it gets close to room temperature). Arrange the wedges in a circular pattern starting from the outside and working your way to the center, leaving at least 2 inches of pie crust plain around the edges.

Fold the pie crust up and over the wedges all the way around. In a small bowl beat the egg with water. With a pastry brush, spread the egg wash all over the edges. Sprinkle raw sugar on the dough.

Bake for approximately 35- 40 minutes or until the fruit gets bubbly and the dough gets golden brown.