The Fruit Forager's Companion(Chelsea Green, 2018), by Sara Bir is a guide devoted to the secret, sweet bounty outside our front doors and ripe for the taking from familiar apples and oranges to the lesser-known pawspaws and mayhaws. Bir a seasoned chef, gardener, and forager, primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques while transforming unloved and forgotten fruit into an array of delightful dishes.
We reserve buckwheat for pancakes and blinis, which is a shame. Buckwheat flour has a strong but sophisticated flavor — a little nutty, a little fruity. It goes well with berries in this buckle — a rustic fruit dessert so named because the berries make the cake buckle in its center. Think of it as a giant muffin. I love this at breakfast, or as a midday snack.
For the streusel
• 1/2 cup (50 g) rolled oats
• 1/4 cup (45 g) buckwheat flour
• 1/2 cup (110 g) packed light brown sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and at room temperature
For the cake
• 1-1/4 cups (160 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup (90 g) buckwheat flour
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon table salt
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 2/3 cup (160 ml) buttermilk
• 3 cups (435 g) huckleberries
- Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit and set the rack in the middle. Grease a 9 × 9-inch (23 × 23 cm) pan.
- Make the streusel: Combine the oats, buckwheat, brown sugar, salt, nutmeg, and butter in a medium bowl. With your fingertips, work the mixture until it’s crumbly. Set aside.
- Make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the ingredients from flour through the salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high speed until lightened, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each, and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the buttermilk. Fold in half of the huckleberries.
- Spread the batter in the prepared pan. Scatter the remaining berries over the top, then the streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before serving. Covered with plastic wrap, the buckle will keep for up to 2 days.
Also try with: Blueberries, mulberries, blackberries, raspberries.
More from The Fruit Forager's Companion:
This excerpt is adapted from Sara Bir's book The Fruit Forager's Companion: Ferments, Desserts, Main Dishes, and More from Your Neighborhood and Beyond (Chelsea Green, 2018) and is printed with permission from the publisher.