Blackberries. The bushes grow wild all over this part of Washington. Not just out in the woods either. At my old apartment near Tacoma, I had a patch of them growing behind a couple businesses less than a block from my apartment. I would harvest over ten pounds of berries each summer. I would eat them fresh, make sauces, chia-jams, and more. They’re one of my favorite berries, second only to blueberries maybe. And much, much better than raspberries. Although wild huckleberries are really good too.
There’s a small wooded area next to the elementary school just up the block from my current apartment, and so far this year I’ve done a couple trips, netting about 4 pounds each time. The first batch was blended up, strained and cooked down into a thick sauce I’ve been using like a jam, stirred into yogurt, and combined with some homemade pear sauce.
I’m heading to some friends for a Labor Day brunch, so I decided to make something with the blackberries, and settled on doing a buckle. Many are familiar with a cobbler, it’s a fruit base with a biscuit like dough spooned on top before baking. A buckle is almost the opposite, the batter is on the bottom and the berries on top. The weight of the berries “buckle” the batter, sinking into it as it bakes.
As I often do, I read through about six or seven different buckle recipes to see what the common themes were and took a few liberties here and there to make it my own. What I’m presenting here for the recipe isn’t exactly what I actually made, for a couple of reasons.
I used a gluten free pancake mix, because a couple of the friends I’m having brunch with can’t have gluten. Since it is a pancake mix, I did not have to add the baking powder and salt. Then, since it’s what I had on hand, I used coconut sugar instead of regular granulated sugar. That’s why my batter looks as dark as it does.
I know some of you may be wondering why I have such a dish on what is supposed to be a healthy living blog. Well, I truly believe that even a blackberry buckle can be part of a healthy diet. Foods like these are not “bad”, and when it’s something you are making from whole foods instead of some overly processed version from the store, when done in the right portion and are the exception instead of the rule, they very much can be party of a healthy diet.
That said, I have a LOT of berries still, so I am thinking I may try a smaller one using my 6 inch skillet, using regular flour. I may or may not use regular granulated sugar. I do have a bit of it in the cupboard, but honestly, I usually do not. I typically buy raw sugar from the bulk bin at my grocery store. I buy about 2-3 cups at a time to keep in a mason jar, since I just don’t go through that much. And for the things I do use sugar for, I really do prefer that slight difference in taste the raw sugar has. You could likely sub in your sweetener of choice, including whatever sugar substitute you prefer. Having a smaller amount to start with means less temptation to over-indulge. Oh, and I may try something other than blackberries too, and maybe make something else with them.
A couple last notes; I know the recipe says to melt the butter in the oven, a method I do use when making corn bread, but my photo shows me using the stove top. Well, I was heating the skillet for something else when I decided to use it for this recipe, and it was also easier to take a photo for the recipe this way. So there.
Some of the recipes I read said to serve this warm, some said it’s best when cooled. This one was served cooled since I made it the day before. As far as what to serve with it, there are just so many options. Whipped cream, ice cream, creme fraiche, yogurt, extra blackberry sauce, just some extra fresh berries. For our brunch, I drizzled on some crema Mexican table cream, similar to creme fraiche, and topped with a few more fresh berries.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 2 cups blackberries
- 1 tbsp sugar
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Put butter in a 10-12" cast iron skillet or similar size baking dish in oven to allow butter to melt.
- Place blackberries in medium bowl, sprinkle with the 1 tbsp of sugar and gently stir to mix. Set aside.
- Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Stir in milk until fully incorporated, do not over mix. A few lumps are ok.
- Once oven is heated and butter is melted, remove skillet from oven. Pour batter mix into the center of the skillet/baking dish, letting it flow to the outer edges. Use spoon to gently even out the distribution of batter as needed.
- Spoon blackberries over top of batter, leaving a ring of batter around the outside edge.
- Bake about 40-50 minutes, check after 35 minutes. It should be firm, not wet looking, but spongy to the touch. If not, check every 5 minutes until desired doneness.