I’m a sucker for old-fashioned rustic desserts like buckles, slumps, and cobblers. If buckle isn’t part of your daily vocabulary, let’s change that right now. Essentially a buckle is a light cake with fruit baked into it and scattered on the top. It earned its name because the fruit on top makes the dessert itself buckle ever so slightly. It’s like a cross between a messy, fruity, light coffeecake and a more traditional cake. I started making blueberry buckle at the beginning of the summer and decided that it’d be perfect for breakfast. It’s kind of like a blueberry muffin on steroids, so it seemed logical that in addition to making it for dessert, why wouldn’t folks eat it for breakfast as well? Instead of serving it with whipped cream, why not dollop a little yogurt on the top?
I first became obsessed with buckles and slumps when I came across Julie Richardson and Cory Schreiber’s book, Rustic Fruit Desserts. In it, they detail numerous recipes for great old-school desserts focusing on the seasons and really paying attention to the traits of different fruits and how they’ll bake up in a variety of situations. They discuss slumps, pandowdy’s, betty’s, crisps, and teacakes. If you’ve ever had an inkling to recreate some of the great old-fashioned desserts your grandparents probably made, get this book. So this is where I found the inspiration for the buckle recipe. The one in Richardson and Schreiber’s book is quite different–it’s for a Tayberry Oat Buckle and uses more sugar and butter and the ever-elusive tayberry. I decided to adapt the recipe to use the more common blueberry and added a bit of lemon zest and less butter and sugar. The result is perfectly breakfast-worthy–I’ve literally been looking forward to waking up early and grabbing a slice (or a jar) with my coffee lately. And my coworkers are happy. Very, very happy.
Now, the recipe below works beautifully in a 9″ square pan as well. That way, you can slice it more traditionally. No problem. But I was drawn to the Ball Jar idea because I was asked to bring a little something to a brunch last weekend–something mini like scones to share. I was feeling like everyone had had a mini scone before, but that’d it’d be fun to introduce folks to the Breakfast Buckle. And I’ve been experimenting with baking in jars, so the two ideas came together naturally. If you like the idea of baking the buckle in the ball jars, let me give you a bit of advice that I learned after my first go-around: Only fill the jars 3/4 of the way full (at most)–the batter rises and you’ll have a gooey mess if you don’t. Wipe off the edges of your jar to prevent the rim of cooked cake that you’ll (unfortunately) see in my photos below. They’d be prettier without it! I love the way you can see the berries strewn throughout. They’d also be great with some chopped pecans or walnuts on top. Experiment with any kind of fruit or nuts that you like. I guarantee, brighter mornings are in your future. Trust me on this one.
Blueberry Breakfast Buckle
Adapted From: Rustic Fruit Desserts
Makes: 10-12 servings
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter at room temperature, for pan
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
1 cup buttermilk
1 dry pint blueberries (2 1/2 cups or 9 oz), fresh or frozen
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 Tbsp. turbinado sugar (or brown sugar) for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter the insides of 10 half-pint glass jars or a 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium-sized bowl.
3. Cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed with a handheld mixer or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy: about 2-3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating inbetween each addition to combine. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each addition to ensure all of the ingredients are being evenly combined. Mix in the vanilla and the lemon zest.
5. Next, stir in the flour mixture in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions. Essentially, you want to begin and end with the dry ingredients and scrape down the bowl a few times as you go.
6. Using a spatula, gently fold in 3/4 of the blueberries and pour the batter into the prepared jars, being cautious to only fill them 1/2-3/4 of the way full–the batter will rise! Wipe off the rims with a dry paper towel. Distribute the remaining blueberries over the tops of each buckle and sprinkle the oats and turbinado sugar over the top. If you’re using a 9-inch pan instead, pour the batter out into the pan, sprinkle with remaining blueberries and oats and sugar.
For 1 pint ball jars: Bake for 30-35 minutes but check frequently. I found this time varies greatly depending on exactly how much you fill your jars. So once the top looks a bit golden, pull them out–they’re probably done.
For 9-inch pan: Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is lightly golden and firm to the touch.
To serve, spoon a dollop of yogurt over the buckle and drizzle a little agave or honey on top if you’d like. Buckle will be good for 2 days if stored in plastic wrap (or with lids on jars) at room temperature.