Friday, January 6, 2012
Here we are in the midst of winter and I’m dreaming about blueberries. So when I saw them at the market, I impulsively grabbed them for purchase. They’re not in season but I couldn’t resist. Blueberries just have their way.
With all the hubbub and festivity of the holidays behind us, it feels like a good time to get way back to the basics, so here I am with a Blueberry Slump. There are a lot of different old-fashioned recipes for fruit puddings and cakes that vary in the way the fruit and cake parts are co-mingled. A slump is somewhere in the same universe as a cobbler and a buckle, a sort of dumpling-cake-like pudding, which in the old days was steamed on top of the stove. This dessert is a happy combination of blueberries and bits of cake that get baked in the oven and emerge in a marbled swirl of light cake and juicy fruit.
The blueberries are simmered with some sugar just enough to coax out their inky jammy goodness. Then a good blast of lemon juice is added to keep the flavor bright. The cake is made with brown sugar and a jolt of cinnamon to make it all the more interesting. Once baked it really does seem to kind of all slump together, a welcome blueberry feast in January.
- The sugar added to the blueberries is kept at a minimum to allow the fruit to shine. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter taste.
- I used cinnamon. I imagine other spices would work as well. I think cardamom would be great.
- The blueberry mixture, including juices, gets layered under and on top of batter. As it bakes, the cake rises and dances with the blueberries in an interesting way.
- You can make 4 large servings or 5 - 6 more modest servings. Watch baking time. Or bake in an 8" x 8" pan, which will take a bit longer. You'll know it's done when the fruit is bubbling and the cake springs back when lightly touched.
- This is really best served warm.
- I think this would be great with just about any sort of fruit. Adjust sugar and cornstarch accordingly, e.g., figs would probably not need any cornstarch and peaches might not need as much sugar.
Serves 4 - 6
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C water
1 t cornstarch
12 oz blueberries (about 2 C)
1 T + 1 t lemon juice
1 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
heaping 1/4 t salt
1/2 C light brown sugar
2/3 C buttermilk
1 egg yolk
2 oz (4 T) butter, melted
1 t vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter 4 - 6 4 1/2” ramekins, depending on desired serving size. Place on a baking sheet.
For the blueberries, combine 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and cornstarch in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Add blueberries and simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 – 4 minutes or until the blueberries soften and release their juices. Take off the heat and add lemon juice. Set aside.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and light brown sugar.
In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. Add flour mixture and whisk just until blended.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon of blueberries into the bottom of each ramekin.
Portion batter on top. Spoon remaining blueberry sauce over batter.
Bake for about 20 – 24 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Serve warm.