Yesterday, my mom, grandmother and I took a drive to Wappingers Falls in Dutchess County, NY. There’s a little farm called Secor Strawberries, where, upon arrival, you are handed small plastic pails and then sent off into the fields to pick your own—psych—blueberries! Yeah, they should look into changing their name over there.
Picking your own berries is loads of fun; your bucket fills up in no time. And don’t let any fool tell you it's dangerous. Because it's not. No one ever decides to step into the blueberry bushes rife with poison ivy when the paths are so well-marked and poison ivy-free. Or venture far into the bushes so that the bees get angry and begin to chase you. ... Only idiots do that.
My adventure in the fields was quite reasonably-priced. I got a half-sized pail for $5.00. And talk about fresh produce—the berries were sweet and ripe, the flesh softer and less thick than the freshest ones I’ve bought from a supermarket. And plump. Downright chubby, even.
Sweet, plump blueberries mean Blueberry Buckle at our house. It’s one of those go-to desserts, a cinch to make because you can just plop everything into one pan. And it looks so rustic once you slice it.
The recipe comes from one of my favorite dessert cookbooks of all-time, Kathleen’s Bake Shop Cookbook. My mom and I have tried a good deal of the recipes in the book, and all have been sensational, the chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies especially. Uncomplicated, classic stuff. Darned if I know why this plastic comb book is up to $115 new on Amazon now, but no matter… I’m gonna tell you how to make the Buckle right here and now.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9-inch square pan.
For the cake batter: Cream ½ cup of butter and ¾ cup granulated sugar. Add 1 egg, ½ cup of milk, 2 teaspoons baking powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix. Stir in 2 cups of all-purpose flour (one at a time), and then fold in 2 ½ cups of your little blue treasures. Pour the cake batter into the 9-inch pan. Set aside.
For the topping: In a medium-sized bowl, combine 1 cup of firmly packed dark-brown sugar, ½ cup of butter, 2/3 cup all-purpose flour, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Then mix it all with your hands—yeah, baby!—until it’s nice and crumbly. Sprinkle on top of the cake batter.
Bake for 45-50 minutes.
And that’s it. Really. That’s all it takes to make one of my favorite desserts of all time.
And don’t forget to check out Secor Strawberries! Strawberry and pea season has just ended, and right around the corner is sweet corn. Then pumpkins! But I actually have another place to tell you about for pumpkin picking...
...but first I've gotta ice these bee stings and tend to this itching.
63 Robinson Lane
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
(845) 452-6883 (Daily picking information)
(No web site)