I made a deal with my co-worker, Miriam. I make her Martha’s blueberry buckle, she makes me her arroz con pollo. “Arroz con pollo” translates into “Rice and chicken,” as we know. But what exactly defines a “buckle” and how does it differ from, say, a crisp or a crumble? I’ll tell you what I know, but it’s not as exciting as eating a second helping of arroz con pollo, so I’m gonna make it quick.

A “crisp” and a “crumble” for my money, are interchangeable. They’re both fruit based, and they’re both topped with a streusel. A “cobbler” in its genuine form is a fruit dish cooked with some sort of biscuit structure across the top, giving it a “cobblestone” appearance.

A “buckle” differs from those dishes in that it is fruit cooked in, and surrounded by, a more cake-based structure. The cake cooks up around the outside, and the fruit buckles into the middle.   In these pictures, you can’t necessarily see the buckle because of the brown sugar and cinnamon streusel blanketing the top.

Lastly, we have something called a “grunt” or “slump” which is a cobbler cooked on a stove top instead of in the oven. The name comes from the grunting noise made as the steam from the cooking fruit escapes from the vents in the biscuits.

Be it a grunt, a slump, a buckle, cobbler, crisp, or crumble, the best ones will have fresh fruit instead of frozen.  Take the extra time fresh fruit requires in your desserts.  The resulting taste is more concentrated and juicy.  And I encourage using your desserts as barter for dishes from your friends and co-workers.  Sharing and swapping recipes and favorite dishes brings people closer together.

Go bake!

Here’s a view of the underside, where you can see most of the blueberries have sunk, as they should in a proper buckle.

Wild Blueberry Buckle from Martha Stewart

For the Streusel:
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup AP flour
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

For the Cake:
4 Tablespoons butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
1 1/2 cups AP flour, plus more for pan
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp coarse salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 up milk
5 cups (wild) blueberries

Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and flour together. Mix in butter until mixture forms fine crumbs. Using your hands. squeeze together most of mixture to form large clumps. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to use (up to 3 days).

Make the cake: Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 10-inch springform pan, remembering to apply extra to the side of the springform – at the end you’ll pull the side off and if you weren’t careful, the side or the cake will come off with it.  Next, dust pan with flour, tapping out excess. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low; add egg and vanilla. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined. Stir in berries.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; sprinkle topping over batter. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 60 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove side of pan. Let cool 15 minutes before serving.