|Now, we will turn our attention to assembling the dry team. And I’m going to do the flour, at least, by weight. We’re going to need nine ounces of cake flour. Now, if you’re a volumetric kind of cook, we’re talking about two cups here. But remember, cake flour is a fine mill and it will compact a great deal and that will throw things off. So, I really would weigh if I were you. There. That’ll do.||9 Ounces Cake Flour|
|We’ll follow that with one teaspoon of baking powder; not baking soda, baking powder. Half a teaspoon of kosher salt, and half a teaspoon also, of ground ginger. Now, whisk to combine.||
1 tsp. Baking Powder
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
½ tsp. Ground Ginger
|The wet team begins with two ounces of unsalted butter in the work bowl of your mixer, paddle-attached. We will then add five and a quarter ounces—that’s about three quarters of a cup—of granulated sugar. We will apply medium speed for about one minute or until this mixture is nice and fluffy.||
2 Ounces Unsalted Butter,
5¼ Ounces Sugar
Now, if you are a faithful “Good Eats” fan, you will
easily recognize this. Is it A. The Sponge Method, B. The Muffin Method,
or C. The Creaming Method?
That’s right: C. If you said “A” or “B”, perhaps you should stop reading so many comic books and watch more television!
A. Sponge Method
THE CHICKEN: Bu-baaww.
One egg right into the mix, and return to medium speed.
|1 Whole Egg|
|When the eggs have been absorbed, and the mixture is nice and creamy, turn the mixer down to its lowest setting, and we’ll start adding the dry team in small doses. It’ll take about three installments. And we’re going to alternate that with three installments of one-half cup of milk. Why bother with the installments? Because it will result in a smoother batter. And a smoother batter will make for a better buckle.||½ Cup Whole Milk|
|[after mixing] Time for the blues. Fifteen ounces, or three cups, of either fresh of frozen blueberries. Stir them in gently. Now when I use frozen berries for this, I like to add them in their frozen state because they’re less likely to burst. And then I just pan up the batter, and let it sit for half an hour so that they can thaw in the cake.||15 Ounces Whole Blueberries|
|Now one of the things that distinguishes coffee cakes, including buckles, is a crisp topping called a streusel. We combine three and a half ounces of sugar—it’s about half a cup, there—one and a half ounces of cake flour—that’s about a third of a cup— and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. And yes, I always do this fresh. I keep one of these in my pocket just for these occasions. There.||
3½ Ounces Sugar
1½ Ounces Cake Flour
½ tsp. Freshly Grated Nutmeg
[at the refrigerator] Next, we need two ounces of unsalted butter. Oh, cubed,
AB: [hands it to T in the back of the fridge]
I love this refrigerator.
2 Ounces Unsalted Butter,
Chilled & Cubed
Say, is this the A. The Cookie Method,
B. The Biscuit Method, or
C. The Strudel Method
A. Cookie Method
There, that’s a good texture. Now just sprinkle that right on top of the cake. Do not pack it down. You want it nice and loose. There we go. Perfect.
|[at the oven] Park in the middle of a 375 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until golden, brown, and delicious.||
375° Degrees [sic]
[after baking] There, you can see all the little nooks and crannies that give the buckle its name. You know, I just can’t think of anything better for breakfast. Unless ... Pie!
The first buckle recipe on record is from Elsie Masterton’s
1959 Blueberry Hill Cookbook.
If Americans had to vote for a national dessert, my money would be on pie. It’s
the clear winner. I mean, sure, cake is nice. But even the simplest incarnation
of it speaks of sophistication. Cake is somehow uptown. Pie, on the other hand,
is Huck Finn, Aunt Bee.
Of course, apple pie is nice. But you know, apples are from Kazakhstan. Blueberries are from here. Now, unfortunately ... ah [spots what he wants in the freezer case] ... most American’s aren’t going to go through the trouble of making fruit pie, which explains the presence of all of these boxes of frozen pie [opens up a box and shows]. The truth is, I’m a fan of frozen pie. I’m also a fan of homemade pie. And no, that’s not a contradiction. [puts the pie back, and surreptitiously replaces the box in the freezer case]
|So here’s my pie plan. I have 20 ounces of blueberries here, just rinsed and patted dry.||20 Ounces Fresh Blueberries|
Now divide this into two batches, like this. And one batch—say, this bunch over here—is going to remain whole. This bunch over here, not so much. We’re going to mash those up [mashes with the bottom of a loaf pan]. Now mashing is going to release a good bit of flavor, but it’s also going to release powerful jelling agents called pectin. They’re responsible for making blueberry jam set up. They’re definitely going to help our pie. But they won’t be enough to thicken it entirely. For that, we’ll also need some starch.
British WWII pilots were said to have better night vision because
they ate jam made from blueberry’s close cousin, the bilberry.
|[at the pantry] Behold, most of the common culinary starches. Now we know that starches thicken, but how they perform in a given application depends on how much of the two forms of starch they contain.||
|Now a starch high in amylose, which would look like this if you had an electron microscope [shows a spiral prop], will create a strong gel, but across a relatively narrow temperature range, okay?||
|On the other hand, a starch high in amylopectin [shows another prop that is very irregular] will not create a gel that is quite as thick as amylose, but it will tolerate temperatures well below freezing. So, for my frozen pie filling, I will go with amylopectin-packed tapioca flour.||
|So, we begin with one and a quarter ounces of our tapioca flour. That’s about five tablespoons. To that, we will add four ounces of sugar. It’s about half of a cup. One teaspoon of freshly-grated orange zest, a pinch—well, eighth of a teaspoon—of kosher salt. And we’ll whisk that up just to get everything combined.||
1¼ Ounces Tapioca Flour
4 Ounces Sugar
1 tsp. Orange Zest
⅛ tsp. Kosher Salt
|Then, one tablespoon of freshly-squeezed orange juice, and all of the berries [whole and mashed]. I’m just going to scoot everything right out. I find that a plastic bowl scraper is the perfect tool for this.||
1 Tbs. Freshly Squeezed
There. Let this sit for 15 minutes so that the pectin and the starch can get to
know each other a little.
Meanwhile, line a nine-inch pie plate with aluminum foil. Then fill it with your blueberry mixture and stick it in the freezer for six to eight hours. When it is set up rock-hard, peel it out of the pie pan—the foil will make it easier—place it in a zip-top bag and store for another day.
Alright, kids, it’s pie time. Let’s review the workstation, shall we? Hardware: one metal ruler, one nine-inch pie pan, one basting brush, one fork, one pair of clean scissors or shears.
|Software includes one egg yolk beaten with about a teaspoon of water, some all-purpose flour standing by to prevent stickage, and 15 ounces of pie dough, divided into two, and rolled into 11.5-inch rounds. Yes, homemade dough would be best, but I’d rather you make your own pie with store-bought dough, than to not make your pie at all.||
1 Egg Yolk + 1 tsp. Water
Pie Dough For 2 (9 Inch)
Move one of the rounds to your pie pan, push down the corners, crimp the edges
nice and neat, and then dock with a standard kitchen fork.
In this case, the work “dock” comes from the same “dock” as in “dock your pay”,
meaning “to abbreviate”. Old word. In this case, it’ll let the steam out, which
is good. Now just drop in your frozen fruit disk, and turn your attention to the
next piece of dough.
You need to create strips, so use a ruler that’s an inch and an eighth wide, and just kind of crawl it across the dough, pushing down, to make these strips. We’re only going to use seven of these. Position four of them across the pie, leaving about an inch in between. There. Now fold back strips one and three and lay in your first horizontal strip. There. Now replace one and three and pull back two and four, add your second strip. Replace two and four and pull back one and three one last time and add a third strip. There, it’s pretty simple. Just seven pieces of dough. Now, crimp everything together, so that the pie doesn’t come apart, and trim the edges with a pair of scissors.
Next, the egg wash. Just on the doughy parts will contribute to browning.
|Place your pie on a sheet pan, just in case there are any boil-overs, and park on the bottom rack of a 325 degree oven for one and one-quarter hours. Now if after that time you think that your pie needs a little more browning, broil it for one to three minutes. But make sure that the top of the pie is no less than six inches from the bottom of the broiler.||
325° Degrees [sic]
[after baking, the pie is in a glass case.] Unh, unh, unh. This pie must cool for one and half to two hours before consumption. If, in an act of craven greed, you were to breach the crust, and accost the cooling mass below, you would be punished. Because if it shifts even a little while it’s hot, the filling will not gel and you will be left with blueberry soup. How do I know? Trust me, I know. [looks at his watch mournfully]
Tapioca flour is a starch made from the root of the
cassava or yuca [sic, the English spelling is 'yucca'] plant.
GUESTS: Customers #1, #2 and #3
[AB is behind the pharmacist counter dressed as one] Besides being low in calories, high in vitamin C and fiber, blueberries are in demand for their anthocyanins. Those are the pigments that give blues their hue. They also provide chart-topping antioxidants power. Antioxidants, of course, are the free radical chomping substances that play a major role in guarding the body against a host of degenerative diseases and disorders.
AB: Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #1: I think I’m worried about memory loss.
AB: Ahh, blueberries can help fight the oxidative stresses that lead to age-related brain disorders. [hands the customer a bottle of blueberries]
C #1: Oh, thank you. I think I’m worried about memory loss.
AB: Maybe you should take two. [to C #2] Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #2: Doc says I need to work on my heart.
AB: Mmm, reverse the cell damage with a daily dose of blueberries. Hah hah. [to C#3] Can I help you?
CUSTOMER #3: Yeah, you got anything to help me keep me looking young?
AB: Be wrinkle free with blueberries. Truth is, if everyone ate just a serving of blueberries a day, we might just put those greedy old drug companies right out of business.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, saving mankind has made me a little thirsty.
|A wise man once asked, “Where is the blue food?”* Well. I ask, “Where is the blue beverage?” Can’t think of one? Not to worry. Simply rinse and drain four cups of blueberries and place in a medium saucepan with two cups of water. And then bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When said boil has been attained, drop the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.||
20 Ounces Fresh Whole
2 Cups Water
When the simmering is done, kill the heat, and drain your berries into a cheesecloth-lined colander, sitting over a nice, deep bowl. Since manual manipulation will be required in the next step, you might want to let this cool down for 15 minutes before proceeding. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, gather up all the corners of the cheesecloth, and give it a good squeeze. You want to get out as much of the juice as possible. There we go. There, I think that’ll do it.
|Next, we return the juice to the saucepan. Add seven ounces of sugar, the juice of one lime—that’s about one fluid ounce. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.||
7 Ounces Sugar
Juice Of One Lime
After two minutes of boiling, your new syrup can be poured off into a heat-proof
vessel. Let this cool on the counter for at least an hour before lidding up and
moving to the refrigerator.
[at the refrigerator] Safely sealed in a glass jar, your syrup will keep in here somewhere between six months, until the next Ice Age.
[tasting the buckle, pie and raw blueberries] Mmmm. To enjoy, simply combine one quarter cup of your blueberry syrup with eight ounces of carbonated water or seltzer. It’s refreshing, delicious, and nutritious.
Be it winter, spring, summer, or fall, there is no reason you can’t enjoy fresh, or nearly fresh, blueberries all year long. And honestly, I could eat these things every gosh darn day, and given their ranking in the health food community, I probably should. See you next time, on Good Eats. [drinks his blueberry spritzer, with great enthusiasm]
GUESTS: Young AB
YOUNG AB: [finishing his blueberry spritzer, the camera pans out to show that AB is now a little boy] Now THAT’S what I call a time machine.
*Possibly from a George Carlin standup routine: http://snltranscripts.jt.org/75/75acarlin2.phtml
Transcribed by Michael Roberts
Proofread by Michael Menninger
Last Edited on 08/27/2010