Cooking Blues and Elders (Berries, that is)

Since I promised that I would make anoth­er blue­ber­ry dessert for MJ and the J‑Man, I end­ed up mak­ing the last one of the sea­son. For next year (or if you can still get your hands on the last of this sum­mer’s extra­or­di­nary crop), now you too can make my favourite old recipe for dessert, Blue­ber­ry Buckle:

Blueberry Buckle

(From “Amer­i­can Clas­sics” cook­book, part of the Cook’s Mag­a­zine Series)

4 table­spoons unsalt­ed butter
3/4 cup (3 3/4 oz. ) unbleached all-pur­pose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz.) plus 1 table­spoon sug­ar (I pre­fer organ­ic sug­ar, if you can find it. It has a clean­er flavour and crunchi­er tex­ture for the bit on top.)
1 tea­spoon bak­ing powder
1/4 tea­spoon salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups blue­ber­ries, picked over and rinsed

Adjust oven rack to low­er-mid­dle posi­tion and heat oven to 350°. Put but­ter in an 8‑inch square or 9‑inch round pan (I get away with a 9‑inch rec­tan­gu­lar pan) and place pan in the oven to melt the butter.

Mean­while, whisk the flour, 3/4 cup sug­ar, bak­ing pow­der, and salt togeth­er in a bowl. Add the milk and whisk until just incor­po­rat­ed into the dry ingredients.

When the but­ter has melt­ed, remove the pan from the oven. Pour the bat­ter into the pan with­out stir­ring it into the but­ter. Arrange the blue­ber­ries over the bat­ter. Sprin­kle with the remain­ing table­spoon of sugar.

Bake until the sur­face is gold­en brown and the edges begin to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 40 or 50 min­utes. Serve warm, with vanil­la ice cream, if you like (we’ve had it with noth­ing added plen­ty of times).

This is so ridicu­lous­ly easy a recipe, that you can do it on a whim. I made it at least 4 times this sum­mer, and look for­ward to mak­ing it again sev­er­al times next sum­mer. Who said a baked fruit dessert has to take much time or effort?

Other berries…

The oth­er night, we took a bag of Elder­ber­ries home from Granville Mar­ket. Louis, the Mush­room Guru, who we fre­quent­ly chat with and get advice about what’s in sea­son, what’s grow­ing, how to pre­pare things, etc. had them and told us what to do. We boiled them down with a lit­tle water, sug­ar, and apple slices (for the pectin), fil­tered what it reduced to through some cheese­cloth, and we got a thick, pur­ple syrup. Here are a few pho­tos of the process:
Washing and Draining Elderberries

Wash­ing and Drain­ing Elderberries

Cooking with Water, Sugar, and 1 Apple (sliced)

Cook­ing with Water, Sug­ar, and 1 Apple (sliced)

The Final Product

The Final Product

Pam tried some of this final cup or so of syrup on vanil­la ice cream tonight and said it tast­ed a lot like blue­ber­ries. I’m going to try it in sparkling water to see if it makes good ‘Elder­ber­ry Soda’. No, we have no plans of mak­ing Elder­ber­ry Wine, but we’ve cer­tain­ly heard about that very old-fash­ioned potent potable.

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