I’m excited about the long weekend coming up, aren’t you? It seems a just reward for the first full week of the new school year. What I love best about Labor Day weekend is the sense of a break only a long weekend conveys. The opportunity to sleep late, stay up late, catch up on things a normal weekend doesn’t allow.
The historical roots of Labor Day took me back to traditional Americana desserts. I periodically dive into these vintage desserts, tweaking them oh-so-slightly to mesh with modern day sensibilities but holding true to their roots. I love the Slumps and Pandowdy’s of our American heritage. The desserts our grandmothers and great grandmothers delighted in serving at the height of the fruit season. They are unpretentious, rustic and approachable, featuring whatever fruit strikes one’s fancy.
We all love a good Cobbler and in the midst of peach season they abound on dinner tables everywhere. I decided however I wanted to try my hand at making a Buckle. Typically made with blueberries, I chose to make a buckle with peaches. A buckle is close to a coffee cake with fruit. The fruit is layered on top of a cake batter then topped with a streusel mixture allowing the cake to envelop the fruit when baking and the streusel to melt forming a crisp, sugary top crust. It is oh-so-simple to make and would be as welcome on the breakfast table as it would to end a casual meal.
Classic Americana desserts such as a fruit Buckle as not only very easy to make but they showcase in season fruits with a rustic charm that not many can resist! This vintage recipe redo uses updated spices of freshly ground nutmeg and Chinese Five Spice as a nod to the original staple cinnamon but adding a fresh, citrusy twist to the peach flavor.
- ¼ cup (softened) plus ¼ cup (cold) unsalted Butter
- ¼ cup Shortening (I use organic vegetable shortening)
- ½ cup plus ¼ cup granulated Sugar
- 1 Egg, room temperature
- 1 ¼ cup plus 1/3 cup Flour (gluten-free blend or regular if not gluten-free)
- 1 ½ teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1/3 cup Buttermilk
- 1 ½ cup Peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices
- ½ teaspoon Nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
- ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10 inch cast iron skillet or a 9x9 baking pan.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer* cream the ¼ cup butter until soft. Add the shortening and mix to fully combine.
- Add the ½ cup sugar to the butter mixture and beat to combine.
- Add the egg to the mixture and beat to fully combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl combine the 1 ¼ cups flour, baking powder, salt; mix together thoroughly. Slowly pour into the butter mixture while running the mixer on a low speed. The mixture may be a bit dry.
- While the mixer is still running slowly pour in buttermilk and beat until fully combined.
- To make the Streusel: Cut the cold ¼ cup butter into small pieces. Combine ¼ cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and the Chinese five spice in the bowl. Using dinner knives or a pastry blender, cut the ingredients together forming a gravely mixture.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared skillet or baking pan. Layer the peach slices on top of the batter to cover it. Sprinkle the fresh nutmeg on top of the peaches. Layer on the streusel.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the top is a light golden brown. Allow to sit for five minutes before serving warm!
*a hand held mixer and mixing bowl can replace the standing mixer if needed
Other versions of classic Americana desserts you might enjoy: