A buckle is one of those early American country desserts, like a pandowdy, grunt, or cobbler, that combines fruit with biscuits or cake. The source for this recipe idea is Florida chef Clair Epting, who prepared a blood peach-raspberry crisp with a peach-honey sauce for dessert one evening at the Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley. The late summer peaches grown by Cakebread’s neighbors were unbelievably fragrant and juicy, with bright red centers.
This buckle takes a similar approach to California’s wonderful peaches, combining them with raspberries, layered between a lightly spiced cake and a toasted almond streusel-like topping.
I like to serve this at the end of a barbecue or at an outdoor picnic. This cake travels well. If you have access to vanilla ice cream, it brings all the flavors together.
Peach Melba Buckle
Serves 6 to 8
For the Topping
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped almonds
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark-brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- Pinch of ground ginger
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the Cake Batter
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1-pint raspberries, picked over and rinsed
- 3 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- French vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)
To make the topping: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds in a single layer on a baking sheet and toast for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a plate and cool. Leave the oven on.
Butter and flour a 9-by-12-inch baking dish.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the almonds, flour, sugars, and spices. Add the butter and mix together until the mixture is crumbly. Set the topping aside.
To make the cake batter: Combine the butter and granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat them together until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, and ginger into a bowl. Then add the flour mixture in batches to the butter mixture alternating with the milk, making sure that the ingredients are well blended between additions.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared dish. Sprinkle the raspberries and peach pieces over the batter in an even layer. Sprinkle the topping over the fruit and bake for about 45 to 55 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and bubbling and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve with French vanilla ice cream if desired.
Advance Preparation: This dish can be prepared up to eight hours ahead and kept at room temperature.