From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...While many folks save warm berry desserts for the dead of winter, I tend to serve them whenever our favorite fruits appear in the market. More often than not, I'll make a crisp or crumble, but every so often I'll break ranks and make a buckle. A buckle layers a more traditional, cakey batter underneath the fruit rather than on top of it. As the dessert cooks, the cake rises around the fruit, which tries its best to sink to the bottom, making the whole thing buckle inwards. When it's served warm with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of cream, it is a memorable, if simple dessert. Although they were not grown locally, I saw some gorgeous sweet cherries in our market and couldn't resist buying them. In truth, this dessert could be made with any combination of fruit, but it is especially good when made with the cherries. The only trick to making this buckle is to keep the quantity of fruit used to 3 cups. If you go too much over that quantity, the cake will be damp and soggy and you'll be disappointed with the result and unhappy with me. I found the recipe for the buckle in Eating Well magazine, and if you skin through the ingredient list, you'll see it is marginally better for you than others of its ilk. I hope you'll keep this recipe in mind when local berries hit the market. The buckle is a lovely old-fashioned dessert that I know your family will enjoy. Here is how it's made.
Cherry Berry Buckle...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Eating Well magazine
1-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup low-fat milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup light olive oil or canola oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups raspberries or blueberries, fresh or frozen
1-1/2 cups halved pitted sweet cherries, fresh or frozen, or chopped ripe apricots (1/2-inch pieces)
2 tablespoons sliced almonds
2 teaspoons raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or turbinado (optional; see Notes)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch baking dish or springform pan with cooking spray. (If using frozen fruit, let stand for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to partially defrost before folding into the batter.)
2) Whisk flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Whisk milk, applesauce, oil, granulated sugar, egg and vanilla in a medium bowl until blended. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently fold until blended. Sprinkle berries and cherries (or apricots) on top and fold just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds and raw sugar (if using).
3) Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool for about 30 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.
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