During the summer of 1986, I found myself standing in a grocery store line with my mom. I remember perusing the magazines at the checkout stand, a habit I continue to have to this day. I’m sure I scanned the usual fare: TV Guide, Cosmopolitan, etc. Suddenly, a new item caught my undivided attention: Good Food Magazine. The cover displayed the headline “Star-Spangled Desserts,” placed just above a close-up shot of fresh berries mingled together in a perfect balance of red and blackish blue. I remember picking up the small booklet-sized magazine, intent on finding out what was meant by “Star-Spangled Desserts.” Whatever it was, it sounded right up my alley. The Good Food issue in my hands, I quickly turned the pages of the article in question, whereby I found not one, but an entire collection of colorful desserts. Even as a teenager, I was quite a baker, and I knew something good when I saw it. The thought came to my mind: did I hit the jackpot or what?
Well, as it turns out, there was one recipe in particular that would emerge as my true love from that article swimming with delicious summertime desserts. That recipe is Blueberry Buckle. Just the name itself was enough to close the deal. Who eats “buckle”? Sounds like fun! Looking at the article today, which contains a photo of all the desserts (yes, I saved the original cover and article pages from the magazine), I can see why I picked Blueberry Buckle as the one to make. First of all: blueberries and nectarines; need I say more? In the photo, Blueberry Buckle is cut into square pieces, which are stacked on one another, looking moist and dense—like the best kind of coffee cake—and showcasing clusters of baked fruit; each piece is adorned with a blanket of golden crumble topping. One of the best things about this recipe, besides its good looks and taste, is its versatility. Blueberry Buckle can be served warm or cold, and is equally delicious. It can be eaten for breakfast or for afternoon/evening dessert, along with coffee or tea; in the latter instance, a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream when the dessert is fresh out of the oven truly completes it.
Baking remains one of my all-time favorite culinary activities to this day. And thanks to Blueberry Buckle, I am never lacking for a summertime recipe to make for family and friends. Sadly, for the other recipes in that Good Food article, I have never had the heart–or perhaps more accurately, the willpower–to tear myself away from making Blueberry Buckle long enough to give them a try. That’s how good this recipe is, and why I continue to make it for all the special and wonderful people in my life. I love nothing more than seeing their eyes light up in anticipation of the infamous “buckle.” These moments, filled with joy, laughter and conversation, shared over a homemade treat, are a true gift. And I realize that, yet again, I’ve hit the jackpot.
Pictured above: Original digital illustration, © 2015 by Pam Winters