Most of the questions I get from my readers involve the definition and clarification of some of our most beloved and traditional desserts. The ones I am specifically talking about are those known as cobblers, crumbles, crisps, pandowdies, slumps, grunts or buckles. These desserts have been around for a very long time and were usually created in one country, then reinvented in another. As it turns out, this is where the problem begins.
In my previous article, I defined the components of a cobbler and how the name itself came to be. This is information that all home and professional bakers should know – not because you want to be a prude or a purist, but rather provide a timeline and a reverence to the creation and inception of the dessert. Essentially, a cobbler is made from a fruit filling that is topped and baked with either a batter, biscuit or scone type of dough.
The mistake I’ve seen others make generally confuses cobblers with buckles. In both of these desserts, the ingredients are basically the same however a buckle takes the dessert a step further. A buckle (usually blueberry) incorporates the very same ingredients into a cake batter that is poured into a greased dish, topped with fruit and then topped again with streusel topping. The name comes from the dessert buckling under the weight of the fruit and the streusel resulting in delicious, buttery crevices filled with pockets of fruit and buttery streusel. The resulting product tastes more like a blueberry coffeecake, and has a higher ratio of cake to filling. I generally use buttermilk in my cobbler recipe and warm milk in my buckle recipe, along with the necessary changes you have to make in the leavening — but that’s about it.
So, go ahead – try one or both of these delicious recipes. Just remember that although the ingredients are the same, the name and the final result are very, very different.
1 pint fresh blueberries
½ cup granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ¼ cups flour
zest of 1 lemon
1 stick salted butter
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon BP
1/2 teaspoon BS
Streusel (enough for 2 buckles)
1 sticks cold salted butter, cut into pieces
1 cups flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
First make the streusel topping. Add all of the ingredients together into a bowl and cut the dry ingredients into the butter with your fingers until it resembles a coarse meal, then set this aside. This recipe will be enough for 2 blueberry buckles, so either double the cake recipe above or use what you need and freeze the rest for another time. The streusel freezes very well.
Next, rinse your lemon well, then zest and juice it. Keep them separate because the juice will cook down into a jam with the berries and the zest will go into the cake batter.
Wash and rinse the berries and remove any visible stems and any moldy or mushy berries. Drain them in a colander and place them into a small pot along with the sugar and the lemon juice. Cook these down until they become like a thick jam, then remove them from the heat and allow them to cool.
Next, make the cake batter. Place the milk into a microwave safe bowl and heat in the microwave for a minute or so. Add the cut pieces of butter and stir until it has melted in the milk. Place the flour, sugar and lemon zest in a small bowl along with the leavening ingredients and pour over the milk and butter mixture. Mix everything together until it is smooth without any lumps.
Pour this into a greased dish, then top with the cooked blueberry topping and half of the streusel mixture. Bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven until the cake has baked thru, about 20- 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve with ice cream, lightly sweetened whipped cream or a scoop of plain Greek yogurt.