There is something so profoundly compelling about a dish named buckle. Just think of it: buttery golden batter, giving way – buckling – under the weight of juicy, jammy, slightly caramelized hunks of fruit. A buckle is more exuberant than a plate of muffins, yet more modest than a cake. Serve it with coffee in the morning, nibble on a wedge with tea in the afternoon, have a slice after dinner for dessert.
What makes this recipe green? For starters, it has got far less sugar than you would think, uses whole wheat flour, and calls for absolutely heaps of fruit. And on top of that, it’s so flexible that you can improvise to your heart’s content — you don’t need to have a pile of market-fresh plums on hand (though it’s a great way to show them off, if you do). A buckle is a lovely way to use up whatever bits and pieces you’ve got kicking around your kitchen: combine those two peaches hiding in the bottom of your fruit bowl, the ones that are about to turn too soft, with that half-basket of blueberries you forgot lurking in the back of your fridge. A slow, gentle bake compensates for a world of imperfections — the mildly bruised, slightly overripe, or still-too-hard can all be rescued here.
Plum (or Peach, or Apricot, or Nectarine) Buckle
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1⁄4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup (1/2 kg) unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temperature
- about 1 lb. of fruit, whatever kind or combination you like, pitted and sliced
- 1 tsp. vanilla
1. Preheat to 350°F. Butter a pie dish.
2. Using either a hand-held or stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Sprinkle the flour, baking powder and salt over the batter, and mix in thoroughly.
3. Scrape batter into the buttered pie dish and spread evenly. Scatter the fruit slices evenly over top, and press gently into the batter using your fingertips – you should have enough fruit so that the slices are crowded quite close together.
4. Bake until the top is golden and the edges pull away from the pan, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool at least 30 minutes before serving.