Friday, July 11, 2008

20. Blueberry and Nectarine Buckle (p. 816)

I like nectarines and peaches, really I do. It's just that they have to be perfectly ripe, or else I'm not interested. Not ripe enough, they're hard and mealy. Too ripe, they're smooshy and sickly sweet. But when they're just so - crisp, sweet and juicy, it's hard to find anything better. Now is the time of year when the stars align for perfect peaches and nectarines, so I was happy to find this recipe to give me a shot of nectarine nirvana.

The first step is to make the streusel topping. Incidentaly, according to The Book, it's the streusel that makes a buckle different from a slump, grunt or pandowdy. Apparently, the cake "buckles" under the weight of the streusel. Silly me, I thought it had something to do with having to loosen your belt after that irresistible second helping of this tasty treat. I guess it would be called an "unbuckle" in that case. Anyway, back to the streusel. It's cold butter, broken up into bits, a little flour, some sugar, and a bit of cinnamon and nutmeg. You knead it up with your fingers until its good and mixed. This step was pretty fun. The topping had the texture of wet sand, so I felt a little like a kid playing at the beach.

The cake batter is next, and it's pretty straightforward. I had the foresight to put the butter out to soften before I went out to mow the lawn. It was so hot out when I made this on Saturday, that by the time I came back in, the butter was so soft that creaming the butter and sugar was super-easy. After all of the wet and dry ingredients are combined, then the nectarines and a prodigious amount of blueberries get folded in. I had a bit of trouble cutting the nectarines. I expected to be able to cut them in half like an avocado (cut around the pit, twist, and voila, two halves). No such luck. I mangled them a bit, but the nectarine chunks that ended up in the cake tasted just as good as perfect wedges would have. Into a buttered baking dish (I used the wrapper from the softened butter to grease the pan), sprinkle on the streusel (see the "before" photo above), and then whack it into the oven.

This was kind of like a dessert version of the Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake I made a couple of weeks ago. It was sweet and buttery and bursting with sweet, jammy fruit. The streusel topping gave the cake a nice texture. The cinnamon and nutmeg made the kitchen smell great. The recipe doesn't say anything about inverting the cake to take it out of the baking dish, so I left it right where it was, considering what happened to the aforementioned coffee-quake, I mean coffee cake.

The Book says to serve it warm with whipped cream. Yes, please! We stashed the leftovers in the fridge and enjoyed it all week. Yesterday, my wife sent me an email at work to apologize for eating the last piece. I told her it was OK, since you can't give a cook a better compliment than to tell him that you just couldn't resist eating something he made.

Date Cooked: July 5, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
Rating: A

1 comment:

Liz C said...

Oh man, you're killing me here! I so have to try that....