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They have a way with words in North America. Just shows: take a language out of its indigenous country and it grows, evolves, acquires a flourish and panache. I love some of the American names for foodstuffs: ‘scallion’ is much more resounding than the old boring ‘spring onion’. Eggplant is more descriptive, zucchini more authentic. Whole wheat - more precise. Cornmeal – in the UK we don’t even have a name for it apart from polenta which is not exactly the same thing. ‘Shrimp’ actually derives from the moniker for a short person, not the other way round, so why change it to a meaningless ‘prawn’?
Some expressions I’m not that sure about and it’s taken me a while to get them: ‘half and half’ - what? You’d never guess it was about cream. Broiler surely is a chicken, not an oven, and a pie - no, no, no! Pork pies! Pukka pies! All savoury. And an entrée is what you have for starters in my neck of woods.
Buckle belongs in the cute category. In UK it’s, awfully boringly, a crumble, and in a disappointing way a crumble here doesn’t usually have a cake underneath. Stingy or what? So what I call ‘a soft fruit streusel cake’, the Americans succinctly named ‘a buckle’.
That of course refers to the way the topping buckles on top of the fruit in a wavy manner. Very expressive. I think I’ll adopt it now, especially that the blueberry kind is the most common buckle and that is my firm favourite.
The fancy addition of the quinoa flour in the crumble topping comes from the NY Times Cooking buckle cake recipe.
blueberry buckleServings: 16Time: about an hour and a half
- For the crumble topping:
- 20g (3 tbsp.) rolled oats
- 60g (½ cup) quinoa flour (if you can’t get the flour, grind quinoa grains in a spice or coffee grinder)
- ½ tsp ground nutmeg
- 50g (¼ cup) demerara sugar plus extra to sprinkle over the cake
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 60g (4 tbsp.) cold butter, diced
- For the cake:
- 125g (1 cup) wholemeal flour
- 65g (½ cup) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 90g (6 tbsp.) butter, softened
- 120g (scant ½ cup) caster sugar
- zest grated from 1 lemon
- 2 eggs
- 130g (½ cup) buttermilk
- 350g (2 ¼ cup) blueberries
1. To make the topping, whizz all the ingredients except the butter in a blender. Add the butter and pulse a few times until the mix gets crumbly. Refrigerate until use.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas 4. Prepare a square 23cm (9in) tin by lining it with parchment, butter the parchment.
3. If your wholemeal flour is very coarse, sift it to get rid of some of the bran. Mix it together with the plain flour, the baking powder, the soda and salt in a bowl.
4. Beat the butter with the sugar and lemon zest until fluffy. Add the eggs, one by one. Add the flour mix followed by the buttermilk in three goes. Make sure you scrape the sides of the bowl after each next addition.
5. Fold half the blueberries into the cake mix and transfer to the tin. Smooth the surface and sprinkle with the remaining blueberries. Crumble the topping over the fruit evenly and finish with a little demerara sugar.
6. Bake for 50-55 minutes until the crumble is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7. Cool in the tin, and then cut into 16 squares.