Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lemon Blueberry Buckle

It's that time of the year when all of your desserts should start to include fruits and berries - they're fresh, sweet, seasonal and there are endless options for cakes, breads, muffins and more. A cross between a crumble and a cake, a "buckle" is a new type of dessert I discovered last summer. This recipe is reliable and delicious - and can even double as a brunch option. This time around I served it for dessert when I had some friends over for dinner last weekend.

Sunday Dinner with Friends: Spinach Artichoke Dip, Roasted Pear and Goat Cheese Salad, Chicken with Mango Mint Dressing, Green Beans and Mashed Sweet Potato, Lemon Blueberry Buckle

Lemon Blueberry Buckle
Be sure when zesting citrus not to zest beyond the surface
of the yellow skin. Once you get to the white beneath it
it's more bitter, which won't help with the lemon flavor.
Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Zest of one lemon
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cold
1 1/2 cups plus 2 TB flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
6 TB butter, room temp
3/4 cup sugar
Zest of one lemon
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 cups fresh blueberries
Lemon Syrup:
1/3 cup sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 2 loaf pans, or one 9-inch square baking pan.
2. To get the crumb topping ready, mix together the flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest together in a bowl. Cut the cold butter into small pieces and add it to the bowl. Cut in with a pastry cutter or fork and knife until the butter has mixed in with the flour and looks crumbly. Put the bowl in the freezer until the cake batter is ready.
3. To make the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Using a mixer, in another bowl cream together the butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium speed until well combined, light and fluffy. This could take up to 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, and always scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed so that all of the ingredients are incorporated into the batter.
4. Alternate adding the whisked flour mixture in three additions with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries.
5. Place half of the batter in each of the two loaf pans, being careful not to crush the blueberries because if they break/burst you'll end up with an ugly grey looking batter.
6. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the cake batter. Finally, sprinkle the chilled crumb topping over the batter and blueberries.
7. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. If you cook the batter in two separate loaf pans it will almost definitely take less time than a single square pan so just be careful to keep your eye on the batter.
Squeeze the lemons over a colander to catch the lemon
seeds so that they don't fall into the saucepan.
8. About 10-15 minutes before your cake is done, start making the lemon syrup. Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and whisk until blended and the sugar has dissolved. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. This process could take up to 10 minutes - little by little over time the liquid will become syrupy and thicken. As the glaze begins to bubble, remove from heat and check to see if it's thick enough.
9. Once the cake is done, pour the lemon syrup directly over the cake as soon as you take it out of the oven. Let cool and serve just as it is! The first time I made this I served it with vanilla ice cream and after making it a second time, I realized it's perfect on it's own.

Of course dessert is only as good as the food it follows! When hosting a dinner party I suggest sticking with something you know - don't try out a new dish that night, and if you want to, find someone to practice it on in advance. Now I must admit that I didn't follow my own rule this last weekend with one of the courses. I've seen a version of this salad on a couple menus and wanted to make a light salad for before the main dish. It's a pretty simple salad that could also serve as a light dinner if you're just cooking for yourself. The pears are roasted at 370 degrees, about 10-15 minutes on each side and towards the end I added the goat cheese in the hole where I had cut out the seeds on the inside. I basted with apple juice and a little brown sugar throughout the roasting process and served it warm over a salad of boston bibb lettuce, dried cranberries, thinly sliced red onion and candied walnuts. The dressing was simply the roasting juices, olive oil, white wine vinegar, a little more apple juice and some salt and pepper. I promise to keep better track of my measurements next time I make this dish, which I hope is soon!


  1. I NEED to try this Elise. It sounds divine!

  2. It's great for a summer cookout - so lemony and fresh!

  3. I made this and it was delicious! I went with the 9x9 pan since I have bad luck with loaf pans. Suggestion for your next recipe - what to do with leftover buttermilk!

  4. Good question Lisa - I just threw out a container of it. My suggestion is for the grocery stores to sell it in smaller portions. Buttermilk is great for pancakes though if you're looking for a good weekend breakfast!