Kitchen Witch - Very berry buckle

Recipe for ‘Mama’s Blueberry Buckle’

It really was my fault, but I blame it on the potato.

Preparations for a Memorial Day get-together with friends were sailing along. I was embroiled in side-dish duty and dessert detail; he was working on a rack of ribs. We were both in a kitchen groove, staying out of each other’s way, listening to a funky iPod mix. A culinary equation couldn’t get more harmonious.

Guests were arriving in about 90 minutes, and almost everything was done, except dessert. Flour, sugar and butter were out and ready to go, baking dish was greased.

And then, as quickly as a clove of garlic burns acrid, my state of bliss dissipated into the humidity. Suddenly, the sink was all backed up, spitting up the scraps I had earlier tossed down the drain.

My dutiful rib-maker was making earnest attempts at plunging and cajoling the pipes, but they wouldn’t budge. I had a funny feeling I allowed an entire red potato to escape down the drain while peeling a bunch for potato salad and felt guilty for sending him off to buy a container of drain magic.

Clock ticking, we attended to our sick drain, uncertain of the prognosis and increasingly worried about dessert.

With luck on our side (or maybe good karma), the drain returned to normal and on the fly, I assembled a vanilla-y cake batter. The hitch: It was my maiden voyage with this dessert and I had no idea what to expect.

The batter in question was for a blueberry buckle. Imagine the intense burst of fruit you get in a cobbler, but with an extra dose of love from that homey cake batter. Fruit goes on top, followed by a classic American buttery-crumb topping. As batter rises, fruit expands and a traffic accident occurs, resulting in a pothole effect (ergo, “buckled”) that is both disarming and charming.

My only wish is that I hadn’t worried so much about the potato. Because every little thing, really, was gonna be all right in buckle land.

“Mama’s Blueberry Buckle”

Adapted from Recipes from a Very Small Island by Linda Greenlaw and Martha Greenlaw


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup milk

2 cups blueberries (1 pint)


1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

• Preheat oven to 350. Butter an 8-inch square baking dish.

• In the bowl of a electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix until combined.

• In a small bowl, sift or whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients, alternating with the milk, mixing until blended.

• Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread with a rubber spatula so that it evenly covers the pan. Sprinkle berries over batter.

• To make topping, whisk together sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add butter and work with a fork or your fingers until mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle topping over blueberries. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until berries are bubbling and topping is golden brown.

• Let cool slightly; serve warm or at room temperature.

• Serves about 6 wild bucklers.

Culinary questions? Contact Kim O’Donnel at