Thursday, July 26, 2012

I was going to talk about apricots.

I have a lot of fruit. A lot. Baskets, pints, and flats of fruit. Well maybe one basket, a half-flat, and several pints, but still that's a lot of fruit. And a lot of perfectly ripe and perfectly in season fruit.  I was going to talk about apricots, which is where this whole gathering of fruit started, but instead I am starting with the berries.

Yesterday I was feeling a little indulgent after my yoga class so I decided to treat myself to an insanely delicious and exorbitantly expensive raw coconut water and the latest issue of Lucky Peach. Somehow between setting my selections down on the register and paying, I picked up a half flat of fresh berries. I am still not sure how it happened, but it did.

After staring at my spoils and debating between cake or pie for a while, I decided on well- both.  The raspberries and blackberries for pie and the blueberries for cake. Coffee cake to be exact. 

As much as I love cookbooks and magazines, there is something to be said about the Internet and instant gratification.  Or rather, virtually stumbling across just the thing you want to eat next.  In this case a recipe for Huckleberry Maple Coffee Cake from 101 Cookbooks.   It looked good enough to fall in love with: not too sweet, not too decadent, and perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  Really, the best cakes for me are cakes that you can eat at 8am and at 4pm and maybe even again sometime in between.  

This is one of those cakes. 

I substituted regular pastry flour for the whole wheat pastry flour that the recipe calls for and traded out the huckleberries for the blueberries from my box o' berries, but any berry would do. Honestly, I think that it would have been best with the blackberries, but I am saving those for pie. 

I love a lot of things about this cake. I love that the outside gets crunchy and the inside stays juicy and soft from the berries. I love that its not very sweet. I love that it goes with coffee, or I suspect nicely with some whipped cream. I love that it makes my house smell like baked berries. But mostly I love that it reminds me of home. 

A perfect New England breakfast reminiscent of bead and breakfasts and summer mornings.  My only wish is that I had east coast berries. I'll give the pacific northwest the crown when it comes to blackberries, raspberries, cherries, and strawberries- but New England takes blueberries. You will never change my mind. 

Lets really talk about blueberries. As a kid we had giant blueberry bushes in our back yard, at least four or five big bushes that every year produced fists full of berries that my sisters and I would eat straight from the bush. We also lived just up the road from a pick-your-own blueberry farm, so we were never without fresh blueberries in the summer and frozen in the winter. One of my favorite treats growing up was frozen berries straight from the  gallon zip-lock bag. Handful after handful until our hands were frozen and stained a deep purple. If only I had more patience, I could have made a lot of blueberry maple coffee cakes.... 

I'm hoping my sister, who lives in vermont, will take note and make a lot of these in the very near future.  

Blueberry Maple Coffee Cake 
Mostly the same as here from 101 Cookbooks 

1 cup  pastry flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
zest of one lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/3 cups fresh blueberries, or other berries 
For the Crumble 
1/2 cup t pastry flour
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup granulated maple sugar (or brown sugar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter and flour a loaf pan. Whisk together flour, oats, salt, powder, and soda together and set aside. Beat butter until fluffy. Add in maple syrup and egg. Beat again. Add in lemon zest and vanilla. Beat until just combined.  Add in half flour and some buttermilk. Stir. Add in the rest of the flour mixture and buttermilk and stir until just combined.  Mix in 1 cup of berries.  Pour batter into loaf fan. 
Prepare crumble by using pulsing ingredients in food processor quickly 20-30 times. Pour over batter and and the rest of the fresh blueberries. Bake 40-50 minutes. 

Let cool. Serve with coffee, whipped cream, or just a fork and a grin. 


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