Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Plum-Nectarine Buckle (à la Martha)

There may be no dessert I like more than the buckle. It is perfect for those of us who appreciate the juicy succulence of seasonal fruit, but demand that be delivered to us wrapped in cake and sugary crumb topping. Buckles are the ultimate hybrid for the indecisive—sinful cross-breeds of cobbler and crisp wrapped up in one.

And if you are going to make a buckle, why settle for just one fruit? This Plum-Nectarine Buckle is one of my all time favorites. The sweetness of the nectarines (or peaches, if you prefer) and the tang of red plums compliment one another in the same way that the under-layer of buttery cake gives a harmonious nod to the orange-scented crunchy crumble topping.

This recipe came from one of my many archived back issues of Martha Stewart Living magazine (August 2005). I started collecting them in 1995 when I was fifteen, and though I no longer have a subscription, I always pull out and have handy the issues corresponding to both the current month and the upcoming month. No joke—they are indispensible references for home, kitchen and garden. Don’t judge me. Martha is a goddess as far as I’m concerned. And this buckle is heaven-sent. Enjoy.

Plum-Nectarine Buckle
(Serves 8-10)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (NOTE: I often cut the butter to 4 tablespoons and then supplement with 3 tablespoons of unsweetened applesauce; especially because I know deep down that I will end up scarfing down four of those “8-10” servings.)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1 large egg
2/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ pound plums, halved, pitted, and cut into ½ -inch thick wedges (2 cups)
¾ pound nectarines, halved, pitted, and cut into ½ -inch thick wedges (2 cups)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Crumble Topping (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Brush a 9-inch square cake pan or 10-inch cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons melted butter; set aside. Whisk together flour, ¾ cup sugar, the baking powder, allspice, and ¾ teaspoon salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
2. Whisk together egg, milk, vanilla, and remaining 4 tablespoons butter in another medium bowl. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir to combine. Spread batter evenly into buttered pan.
3. Toss plums, nectarines, lemon juice, remaining ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Spread fruit mixture evenly over batter. Sprinkle with topping. Bake until a cake tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack 1 hour before serving.

Crumble Topping

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt

Combine butter, brown sugar and orange zest into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until creamy. Stir in flour and salt. Work mixture through fingers until it forms coarse crumbs in size from peas to gum balls.


Sue said...

The way the fruit is laid in the pan makes me think of a tart tatin.

It looks absolutely delightful. And I don't disagree w/you about Martha - she's just bad for my gotta-do-it-all-and-do-it-all-perfectly complex. 0_o

Mom said...

I should have warned you after you packed all your archived mags to move out west that Martha's recipes are on the internet! When I realized that, I was able to part with all my back issues of Everyday Food and Living. Here's the buckle recipe:

I fell out of love with Living when Martha was doing her "hard time" in the slammer. I think the mag lost its way when she was gone, but now that she's back, the mag rocks again and I have resubscribed. I also love her radio station on Sirius, but don't like the show her daughter hosts in the evening, because it pretty much is the female equivalent of Howard Stern. Not that I am a prude, but it's just not funny. I don't find Howard funny either.

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

I have a batch of blueberries that need to be used quickly... think I found a perfect use here! Yours looks lovely. I think I'll cut back on the butter, too, though.

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GollyGumDrops said...

I've never heard of a Buckle but this looks like a near perfect rhubarb delivery system. I'll give it a go. Thanks