This recipe is straight from the pages of Gourmet magazine from several years back. I've made it a million times and my copy, torn from the original issue, is water stained and well used. Gourmet refers to this as a 'Pudding Cake' but I call it a 'Buckle'. The terms are really interchangeable I suppose, referring to any spoonable dessert featuring a pancake like batter spread over fruit. I think of it as a 'buckle' since the fruit sort of pushes up through the batter (buckling it, so to speak) as the cake cooks.
These types of simple, old-fashioned desserts are my absolute favorite. Buckles, crisps, cobblers, bettys... I love them all! They embody my idea of 'elegantly organic' food, featuring simple flavors and seasonal produce. They're incredibly beautiful in a very homey and casual way.
Adapt this recipe to any fruit that's in season. My husband loves anything strawberry-rhubarb, and since the first of season rhubarb made its debut at my Market this weekend, this combo was an easy choice. The harder tree fruits (quince, apples, pears....) should be stewed in this method first. The softer fruits (stone fruits, mangoes, berries...) can be added in fresh, just tossed in a little lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar before baking.
To make the Buckle:
Yields 6 servings
1/4 cup water
1.5 tsp cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar
2 cups (about 10 oz) fresh rhubarb stalks, chopped into 1" pieces
1 cup (about 6 oz) fresh strawberries, chopped into 1" pieces
1 cup millet
1/75 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 tsp vanilla
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter an 8" square baking dish.
2) Stir together water, cornstarch, and 1/3 cup sugar in a small saucepan, then stir in the rhubarb. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly. Once simmering, stir occassionally until fruit just softens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the strawberries.
3) Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and remaining sugar in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, whisk together milk, melted butter, egg, and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture until just combined.
4) Reserve 1/2 cup fruit mixture and spread the rest of the fruit mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Pour the batter over it, spreading evenly across the top. Drizzle the reserved fruit over the top of the batter.
5) Bake for about 25-30 minutes until the cake is golden brown fruit is bubbly, and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
* Serve warm with creme fraiche or ice cream. Last week's recipe for Vanilla Honey Lavender ice cream would be divine. Enjoy!