Summer’s Berry Bounty

blackberries

I eat berries all year long, but I go a little crazy during the peak summer berry months. And other than a great apple pie, I love nothing more than a berry pie. But sometimes I want to try something a little different so I have been making crisps, crumbles and a Blackberry Buckle. I admit it – the name just tickles me.

I found a recipe at Food52, a fun food blog with recipes and one-of-a-kind items for purchase. The author of this cornbread buckle is Janeofmanytrade, a pastry chef out of Williamsburg, VA. The recipe intrigued me because I had never thought of adding cardamom and rose water to my berries. Now I am the kind of person who actually keeps things like pomegranate molasses, rose water and orange blossom water on hand. However, I am also the kind of person whose pantry gets disorganized from time to time. Okay, if I’m being really honest, it only gets ORGANIZED from time to time. For the life of me I couldn’t find the rose water so I substituted orange blossom water instead. The result was wonderful! And it was easy to make. The first night I served it with some vanilla ice cream, but after that – once the flavors became even more pronounced, I didn’t want anything (even great vanilla ice cream) to get between me and my blackberries – all purple and dimpling the cake.

Here’s how I made it.     Blackberry Buckle

Blackberry Buckle

Makes one 10 x 10 inch pan and easily serves 9-12 people

For Cake

4 cups of blackberries

1/2 cup of sugar

zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon rose water (I used orange blossom water)

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

6 ounces of unsalted butter, softened

1.5 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

1.5 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cups yellow cornmeal

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk you can add a teaspoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to any kind of milk and let it sit for about 10 minutes. You could also add some plain Greek yogurt to regular milk)

Oatmeal crumb topping

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup dark brown sugar

1 rounded 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

4 tablespoons COLD unsalted butter, cut into cubes

With your fingers, work the ingredients for the crumb topping until the butter is pea-sized and well coated with everything else.

Directions

  1. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl, tossing the berries gently.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and lavishly butter and lightly flour your pan. Use a pan that has a good weight to it. Cream the butter, sugar,vanilla and salt until creamy. I used a heavy duty standing mixer, but this could be done by hand.
  3. Add eggs one at a time and scrape the bowl as you go. Sift the flour, cornmeal (as best you can) and the baking powder over the batter and gently fold it in. Slowly add the buttermilk and mix through until no streaks show.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and even out the top.
  5. Pour the berry mixture on top and spread it evenly over the batter.
  6. Sprinkle the oatmeal crumb mixture evenly over the top and bake until a toothpick comes out clean from the cake part. Depending on your oven, this can take between an hour and an hour and 15 minutes.
  7. You can turn this out of the pan after about 20 minutes flipping it over onto a plate, but I couldn’t see the point. I cut it in the pan and served it from there, still slightly warm from the oven. It was wonderful. This will last about 3 days if you can manage to not eat it. I dare you!
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