Uniquely American: Blueberry Buckle

From strawberries to raspberries to blueberries and then that second harvest of raspberries, fresh local berries are the belle of the summer season ball here in western Massachusetts. Cobblers, crisps, buckles, crumbles ... no matter what variation of simple fruit filled dessert you make, it is uniquely American. 

Early American cooks were extremely talented at improvising. When the ingredients for their favorite recipes were unavailable, they made do with what they had at hand.  Berries grew wild and bountifully in many regions. Fussy English puddings were turned in for slumps, pies, buckles and cobblers filled with fresh-picked juicy fruits of the season. Homemade simplicity reliant on taste not European pastry techniques...just another example of American ingenuity!

Cake Batter:
1 cup (130 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup 1% milk
1 cup fresh blueberries 
Streusel Topping:
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray an 8 inch square cake pan with a nonstick vegetable spray. Make streusel first.  In a medium bowl, mix flour, sugars, and ground cinnamon.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fork until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Refrigerate while you make the cake batter.

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
In separate bowl beat butter until smooth.  Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.  Add the flour mixture, alternately with the milk, and beat only until combined.  The batter will be thick. Spread batter onto the bottom of the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spoon or a spatula. Arrange the blueberries on top of the cake batter, then evenly sprinkle with the streusel topping.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly.  Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes 9 servings.


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