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Huckleberry-Peach Buckle

 

Some desserts evoke a visceral reaction in me. Namely, hunger.

As a baker, I'll admit to being somewhat jaded when it comes to desserts. Don't get me wrong--I have a serious sweet tooth, and I'm not afraid to use it, but most desserts are just bad. Too sweet, too overbearing, too much of a one-note sonata (and who wants to listen to a one-note sonata?). But then, I surprise myself by my own attraction to certain sweets that I had thought I'd remain aloof from.

Crème brûlée, for instance. If crème brûlée is on the menu, I almost have to order it. Apple dumplings. I made them last year expecting to take one bite and give the rest to the neighbors. Ha. What a lovely piece of fiction that was. And then this Huckleberry-Peach Buckle--totally a sleeper of a dish. It doesn't sound like much, but once it started to get nice and toasty in the oven, I knew I was a goner.

If the smell alone doesn't reel you in (it will), then one bite will. It's packed with berries and meltingly ripe peaches, and the crunchy streusel topping provides the perfect contrast to the soft, buttery interior. It's coffee cake-like, but it can easily be dessert. Or midnight snack.

We were lucky enough to find huckleberries at our farmer's market, and if you can get huckleberries, use them. They're like small blueberries with attitude. But if you can't find those, just use regular blueberries. You can even use frozen ones. 

Huckleberry-Peach Buckle
Makes one 10-inch round or 9-inch square buckle

 

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 10 × 2-inch round cake pan or 9-inch square baking dish.
Prepare the streusel topping first. Combine in a small bowl:
            1/3 cup sugar
            2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, rice flour, or bread crumbs
            2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Blend these ingredients until crumbly. Add:
            1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
            1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used hazelnuts, but almonds or walnuts would be great here)

Set aside.
Halve, pit, and cut into small chunks:
            1 large ripe peach
Combine with:
            1 1/2 cups huckleberries, blueberries, or boysenberries
Whisk together:
            1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
            1 teaspoon baking powder
            1/2 teaspoon baking soda
            1/2 teaspoon salt

Combine in another bowl and beat until slightly fluffy:
            1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
            1 cup sugar

Add and beat to combine:
            1 large egg
Gradually beat in:
            1/2 cup buttermilk
Add the flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the batter is smooth. Gently fold in the fruit. Spoon into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the batter. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until the top springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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Note: Some Middle Eastern markets sell frozen shelled fava beans. If you can find those, feel free to use them here. You may also substitute the traditional lima beans for favas.

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