Peachberry buckle: Just peachy... and berry good!

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Grunt. Slump. Buckle.

What do these three words have in common? Choose from the following:

A) They’re words from a third-grade spelling test
B) ee cummings would have liked using them
C) Phonics teachers find them useful auditory illustrations of the “uh” sound
D) They’re a wonderful way to use summer berries
E) All of the above!

You guessed it – E is the answer. Grunt, slump, and buckle, while they might in fact sound like a Dickensian law firm, are all classic New England summer fruit desserts.

I probably never would have known that had I not spent 10 years working side by side with Brinna Sands, my long-time mentor and friend here at King Arthur Flour. Brinna, a scholar of baking traditions from all over the world – and especially New England – is the author of our King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook (a.k.a. The Original King Arthur Flour Cookbook). And she has this to say about grunts and slumps:

“These are desserts whose name alone will bring a smile to the face of anyone familiar with traditional New England desserts – and a quizzical look from those unfamiliar with them. To understand the provenance of the terms grunt and slump, you need to picture how they’re put together and cooked.

“To make slump or grunt – the two terms are interchangeable – take a quart of berries or diced fruit, stir in some sugar and water, and put the mixture in an iron spider (a cast iron skillet) or casserole dish that can sit on a burner. Then top the berries with spoonfuls of biscuit dough and let the mixture cook very slowly.

“As the concoction begins to heat, bubbles slowly work their way up from the bottom of the pot to break through the biscuit dough topping. The wet snufflings you hear bear some resemblance to an animal’s grunt. Once served, the dessert slumps on the plate in a sweet, juicy, hot-biscuit heap. (Really, this is much more appetizing than it sounds.)”

Indeed.

And buckle?

It’s a fresh fruit coffeecake, pure and simple. The following version features one of our favorite fruit combinations, blueberries and peaches; if you prefer nectarines and strawberries, blackberries and raspberries, or just plain apples – whatever your fruit desire – go for it.

Let’s start with one of my favorite fruits, peaches.

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The season for good, ripe, fresh peaches is very short; so I resort to frozen peaches for much of my year-round baking.

It’s best to thaw frozen fruit before use, as otherwise it’ll make whatever you’re baking watery. Here I’ve thawed peach slices in the microwave; but feel free to thaw however you like.

This recipe calls for 1 cup sliced peaches, which translates to about 13 ounces frozen peach slices; they shed a lot of liquid as they thaw.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan.

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Beat together the following:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
3/4 cup sugar

Beat in 1 large egg, then the following:

1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Add 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour in three additions, stirring it in alternately with 1/2 cup milk, beginning and ending with the flour.

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The batter will be quite thick.

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Divide the batter in half. Each half will weigh about 10 ounces; if you have a scale, use it.

Mix 1 cup berries into half the batter; spread the other half in the prepared pan.

Layer 1 cup sliced peaches (peeled or not, your choice) atop the batter in the pan. Dollop the blueberry batter on top; a tablespoon cookie scoop works well here.

The stickiness of the batter makes this a somewhat messy process. Don’t aim for perfection; the batter doesn’t have to cover all of the peaches, it’ll spread as it bakes.

Next, the topping.

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Mix the following until crumbly:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
pinch of salt

Don’t over-mix, or you’ll get a smooth paste, rather than crumbs.

Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan.

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Bake the buckle for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until it’s a deep golden brown and a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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You may notice juice bubbling up around the sides of the pan – this is a good thing!

Remove the buckle from the oven, and cool it on a rack. Serve warm, or at room temperature.

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If you’re serving the buckle for dessert rather than breakfast, ice cream is a welcome addition. If the cake isn’t warm-from-the-oven and you want your à la mode melty, heat a slice BRIEFLY in the microwave – like, 10 seconds or so.

Please read, bake, and review our recipe for Peachberry Buckle.

Print just the recipe.

 

 

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. AnneInWA

    PJ,

    The beach buckle looks so delicious as does the blueberry. I make blueberry buckle quite often…I was thinking of making a peach raspberry combo today as I am out of blueberries. Do you think that I would have to adjust anything as raspberries tend to be juicier than blueberries? My husband will enjoy coming home from work to a yummy warm buckle!!

    Did you know today is national peanut butter cookie day? I will be making some peanut butter sandwich cookies today as well!

    Happy baking, and thanks as always PJ, I just love your posts!
    Hi Anne,
    I think raspberries would be just fine. If you are using frozen ones, you might want to rinse and pat them dry first. Also, you may have to increase the baking time just a bit. Let us know how it goes! ~ MJ

    Reply
  2. Sandy

    How yummy!! Will be trying this as here in NC it is now peach and blueberry season!
    Lucky you, my berries are still tiny little green buds. ~ MJ

    Reply
  3. cynthia brown

    Hi, This looks delish!! I’m gonna try it this weekend. Do you think I can use self rising flour without the baking powder? ( I have so much of it and never get to use it)

    Use 2 cups of the self rising flour and omit the baking powder and salt called for in the recipe (they’re included in the self-rising flour). We’d love to hear about your results. Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply
  4. Barbara Steimle

    Do you think this recipe could be doubled for a 13×9 pan?

    You are welcome to double this recipe, Barbara! I might exercise a bit of restraint and only fill the pan up 1/3 of the way with the cake batter to ensure no oven spills occur! Also, be sure to extend the baking time by 10-15 minutes, checking every 5 minutes until the buckle is baked through. and looking nice and golden brown on top. You may find that you won’t need nearly as much fruit (you don’t want to overwhelm the cake batter and turn out a soggy buckle!). Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  5. BreadManiac

    Deeelicious. I fixed this this morning to take advantage of peach season and some leftover berries. Once everybody else gets home, I’ll be surprised if it lives to see tomorrow afternoon.

    The comments about the batter were spot on; I was worried I somehow didn’t have enough, but magically ended up with a delicious cake. I’m glad I read the blog first since the recipe doesn’t mention the scanty batter.

    I did make a couple changes based on what was in the cupboard and what sounded good. The batter got a teaspoon of citrus liqueur for a little extra punch (some of my peaches were better than others). For the topping, I was out of almond extract and went for lemon… which I was also out of. I finally settled on orange extract, which, despite sounding questionable as a pairing for cinnamon, turned out amazingly. Thanks for featuring this recipe! I’m in love.

    Excellent tips on the batter and the orange extract in lieu of almond (and lemon!). Keep up the excellent work (you might have some requests after they polish off this buckle!). Best, Kim@KAF

    Reply
  6. Jane

    This is exactly what I needed yesterday, when I woke up at 5am and realized that I had peeled a bunch of peaches 4 days prior and forgotten about them! Recipe worked great, even though my peaches were now a wet soggy mess, blueberries had been picked the day before.

    Reply

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