Let’s take our time machine back to the summer of 2008. I had just finished a crazy stint with City Year on the now-defunct HIV Outreach, Prevention, and Education team, my lease on an absolute hellhole of a first-house-out-of-college had finally ended, and I had just landed an awesome job as the Sex Ed Czar of DC (okay- so that was a self-appointed title informed by delusions of grandeur. Whatever.). Most people would take an awesome vacation or get new business cards made or something. Chef Kefi hosted a “Summer Garden Party.”
I am not one for over-punctuation, so let me explain my use of quotation marks and capitalization: a summer garden party is a gathering in which real humans get together in someone’s well-manicured garden, sip curated cocktails, and sample the three or four varieties crustless tea sandwiches prepared by an effortless, coiffed host; a “Summer Garden Party” is an excuse for lots of 23-year-olds to masquerade as real humans by drinking Andre-based Kir Royales, stand around a mosquito-infested patch of grass and gorge themselves in a most uncivilized fashion on the seventeen kinds of hors d’oeuvres the host had made because she had not yet learned the art of an edited menu.
At this point in life it was not yet fashionable to take a picture of everything you ate/cooked, so my point will be illustrated in portraiture. In the beginning, we looked like this:
cool, calm, collected. Everything you’d expect from a summer garden party. But after about 12 minutes, it turned into this:
and that’s how you know it was a “Summer Garden Party.”
Now that you have the background, I’ll bring you to the star of the show: Blueberry Buckle. If you don’t already know, a buckle combines of the best of pie, cake, and streusel with its buttery crust, cakey texture, and crumbly topping. I have never once brought this to a gathering without stealing the show– so use wisely!
(originally found in Gourmet July 2004, lost in a move and presumed dead in July 2009 and resurrected in July 2013 to great fanfare)
- a deep dish pie pan
- 1.5 c flour
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into small bits
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 TBS heavy cream
- 2 c sugar
- 1.5 c flour
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter, cut into small bits
- 2 c flour
- 6 TBS sugar
- 1 TBS baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 c well-shaken buttermilk
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 5 c blueberries (recipe says fresh or frozen but I have always used fresh and can’t speak to frozen)
1. Make the crust: whisk together flour and sugar in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse meal with pea-sized butter lumps. Beat together yolks and cream with a fork and stir into the flour mixture until well combined.
2. Gently knead mixture in bowl with flour hands just until a dough forms. Flatten dough into a 6-inch disk and chill, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for at least one hour.
3. Unwrap dough and roll out between 2 sheets of wax paper to fit your pie pan. Remove top sheet of wax paper and invert dough onto bottom and sides of pie pan. Cover surface with wax paper and chill again for 30 minutes.
4. Make the streusel topping: Whisk together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or pastry blender until until mixture resembles coarse meal with some roughly pea-sized butter lumps. Chill until ready to use.
5. Put oven rack on lower third of oven and preheat to 400F. Make the filling: Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips or pastry cutter until mixture resembles (you guessed it!) a coarse meal with roughly pea-sized butter lumps. Beat together yolks, buttermilk and vanilla with a fork and stir into flour mixture until combined well (batther will very thick).
5. Peel off wax paper from dough in pan and arrange half the blueberries over the dough in a single layer. Spread batter as evenly as possible on top of blueberries, then arrange remaining blueberries on top of the batter.
6. Sprinkle with streusel topping and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 350F and bake until top is golden, 45-60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut into slices and serve warm or at room temp with ice cream or whipped cream.