Blue Bottle Love

Looks yummy, doesn’t it? I didn’t bake it, let me say that up front! You are looking right at a pumpkin buckle. What’s a buckle? Read over this glossary of cake toppings from the San Francisco Chronicle to catch up.

Crisp: One of the most common fruit desserts, the crisp boasts a topping made primarily from oats and nuts. Nearly any seasonal fruit works well. Though crisps and crumbles are often interchangeable, this dessert traditionally has more going on in the topping than the crumble does, and, as the name suggests, it gets a little crispier when baked.

Crumble: Not to be confused with a crisp (though they often are), this dessert has a simple streusel topping – essentially butter, flour, sugar and a little seasoning – that is sprinkled over the fruit of choice. When baked, the crumbled topping hardens and browns while simultaneously melting into the fruit underneath.

Cobbler: A baked deep-dish dessert with the dough on top rather than the bottom. The topping is normally a sweet cream or buttermilk biscuit, while the fruit usually is berries or stone fruit – even savory fillings like winter squash can work (see recipe). In some versions, the biscuit dough is rolled and cut into circles to place on the fruit, allowing some of the filling to peek through; in others, the dough is spread across the surface, hiding the fruit beneath.

Grunt or slump: Essentially a steamed cobbler, this fruit-and-dough combination is cooked on the stove as opposed to being baked. The dough – which resembles a dumpling batter – is dropped in spoonfuls over simmering fruit. As for the name? It can be either a grunt or slump, depending on where you live; the origins are said to trace back to different parts of New England. Some say the dish makes a grunting sound on the stove as it steams and bubbles; others claim that the dessert has a slumped appearance when spooned onto a plate.

Pandowdy: Said to be named for its homely appearance, this deep-dish dessert starts with a base of almost any fruit. Toppings can range from rolled-out pie or pastry dough to biscuit, but the catch is that about halfway through baking, the topping is broken up into pieces and pushed down into the cooked fruit, allowing some of the juices to bubble up and over the dough.

Buckle: Baked as a one-layer cake, this dessert is normally made by floating berries into batter, then sprinkling streusel crumbles on top. When it comes out of the oven, the cake has a buckled look – hence the name. With a loose, almost pudding-like batter, this has a very moist crumb, and works just as well for brunch as for dessert.

Brown Betty: This layered dessert is all about crumbs – breadcrumbs, that is. The fruit of choice – most often apples or pears – is placed in alternating layers with buttered, toasted crumbs, which either soften along with the fruit or harden up on top of the dessert. Leftover cake or pastry crumbs would work, too.

– Amanda Gold

Read more:


Got that? Yeah, neither do I, but at least we have a nice reference for future recipes.

Last night, I ate the buckle created from a recipe by Caitlin Freeman, author of Modern Art Desserts and wife to James Freeman, the founder of Blue Bottle Coffee.

Caitlin creates desserts for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, which are inspired by old French masterpieces. Just kidding. She is inspired by modern art and creates dishes to compliment exhibits at the museum. A slice of the Mondrian inspired cake you see above will set you back $8 at the SFMOMA, but it’s more of an experience than eating a slice of pound cake at Starbucks, right?

By the way, if you haven’t heard of Blue Bottle, take my word and order yourself a bag!

So yeah, upon visiting the Blue Bottle website you might ask why you should even consider spending $17 for a bag of coffee? How about this for proof, It has been called, “The best coffee you may ever drink.” And no, not by me. By CNN! They are serious people around CNN, right? Why would they lie?

James Freeman brewing it up. Slow style.

Wait, I almost forgot about the buckle. The recipe for this dessert works with most seasonal fruit. You can find this recipe at Epicurious, only as the  strawberry version, with lemon-pistachio streusel.  You’ll find the instructions for the pumpkin swap at the bottom of the article. This dessert is not overly sweet, which is a nice change of pace. It also tastes like actual pumpkin, not pumpkin pie or pumpkin spiced everything else. I think it would make a great addition to a Thanksgiving dinner for those who can’t decide between cake or pie.

Ok, so back to the coffee. You all know  how I feel about coffee.

I visited a local bookstore last night to enjoy a dinner of coffee-braised pork with white beans and roasted root vegetables. What? Your bookstore doesn’t offer dinner? That’s because you haven’t visited Rakestraw Books. If you are a local, please patronize this store!

The evening was a dinner, complete with wine and coffee to hear a bit from James Freeman about his book, The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes. As far as author events go, this wasn’t exactly my favorite. However, I did enjoy tasting some Blue Bottle brewed up by James Freeman himself. This is the type of coffee you drink black, it’s that good.

I thought I was being served a second cup of coffee and quickly smelled otherwise! Blue Bottle Coffee also has a distilled liqueur, called Firelit.


I will give full photo credits to my husband’s iphone. Blech. Even the photo looks drunk!

I’ve just read this post and I’m actually a little bored by it. I should have just summed it up in two sentences. Go make the pumpkin buckle. Buy some Blue Bottle Coffee. Ah, shorter and sweeter. Now, it’s time for some schmaltzy family photos. I promise the next post will be a bit livelier!

 My little Mario.

 My sweet Thor.

 My seriously dramatic and temperamental five-year old.

 He calls me his, “Brave Little Lion.” Because that is what I call him.

 Grandpa helping out at the Kinder pumpkin patch field trip. He can’t figure out how to pose for a picture. All the other photos I took are too unflattering for the permanent record of the internet.

 While we are battling weekly tantrums, Dallas finds ways to sneak in cute moments like this.

 Grandpa again.

 The kid version of the fried turkey leg. Cotton candy.

 My cricut has been coming in handy lately. It made another debut at our school’s fall carnival. Thanks again Auntie Debi, for my paper cutting wizard.

And last, but not least. Honestly, shoulda been first.


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