Don’t you love all of the crazy baked fruit dessert names out there? There’s a Grunt, Slump, Pandowdy, Betty and, my new recent obsession: a Buckle. While researching the history of these creatively-named desserts, I learned that they were created by early colonists in New England. Unable to find all of the proper ingredients to make more traditional English puddings, they created a new, simpler fruit dessert made with biscuits. The cobbler was born, which gave way to offshoots such as the Buckle. A Buckle is made with a delicious cake batter and then topped with fruit – as the Buckle bakes, the batter rises up over the fruit, “buckling” in. It’s an amazingly simple dessert with a rustic elegance to it. Blueberries are the most common fruit used in a Buckle, but since autumn is upon us, I decided to try pears. Paired with cinnamon, the dessert has that unmistakable autumnal feel to it.
As I’ve said before, my primary goal with cooking is to create simple yet elegant meals. I love how easily this Buckle came together: you make a cake batter, pour it into an iron skillet, and top with the sliced pears. It comes out of the oven absolutely gorgeous – people would never know how easy it was to make. And in my mind, some of the simplest baked desserts turn out the best. The cake is incredibly moist and flavorful, and the pears turn into the perfect texture – softened from baking, but not mushy at all.
I love how this is served in an iron skillet, which feels so rustic and inviting. It is delicious with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt on top. I suppose you could even have this as a little breakfast treat, as its not too sugary and has a batter similar to that of a pancake.
This has easily become one of my favorite desserts. Thank you, dear colonists, for providing us with such a lovely creation!
- For the pear topping:
- 1 large or 2 small ripe pears (I used Bartlett pears)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- sprinkle of cinnamon and ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon vanilla
- For the batter:
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup buttermilk (room temperature)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 and ⅓ cups flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Thinly slice the pear and place in a small bowl. Add the sugar, cinnamon, ginger and vanilla and mix well, ensuring that all of the slices are nicely coated. Let sit as you make the batter.
- In an 10' iron skillet, melt the butter. Once it has slightly cooled, whisk it with the buttermilk and vanilla in a medium bowl. Leave the skillet out, as you will be using the same one to bake the Buckle.
- In a separate large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
- Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix well.
- Pour the batter into the skillet, making sure it is distributed evenly.
- Place the pear slices on top of the batter.
- Bake for 40 minutes.
Don’t have buttermilk? Regular 2% milk would be fine too.
If you don’t have an iron skillet, feel free to make this in a baking dish instead – just make sure you grease the dish beforehand.
Batter recipe loosely adapted from the blackberry buckle recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Foodess.