Welcome to week 23 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday Wednesday. This week we welcome the state of Maine, who joined the union on March 15, 1820.
First, I know it is Wednesday. It is also what I (and many others) affectionately call “Hell week”. You see, my son Josh is a drama kid and this week his high school will be performing “The Music Man” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. In preparation for this, we have dress rehearsals; lots of dress rehearsals. And me being the kind of mom that likes to help out, I have been up at school along with many others parents helping out wherever we can. This year I joined the team that feeds the kids when they have a few minutes to grab something. And my contribution included making massive amounts of macaroni and cheese. I am not exaggerating here. I had all 6 burners of my stove going, plus my oven! Trays and trays of the cheesy stuff. I can’t even imagine eating a bite of pasta any time in the near future.
But the good news is that we have a rest day today (Thank you!) and so I get to drop back into my normal life for a moment and get back to our 50 states.
I was surprised that Maine was not part of the original 13 colonies. So much for my US history knowledge. It was actually a colony of Massachusetts (didn’t know we had ‘sub-colonies’) until it was admitted into the union as a full state to balance the admission of Missouri, which was a slave state and Maine was a free state. But even after becoming a state, its northern boundary with Canada was not established until the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which was essentially a compromise with Great Britain and finalized what we now define as the border between Maine and New Brunswick.
On to food. Maine is known for two things. Lobster and Blueberries. Since I usually do a savory dish, I had all plans to make a lobster dish, and what I was going to make was… lobster mac and cheese. Just the thought makes me shudder. No pasta for me. So that leads us to the beautiful blueberry. Maine is the third largest producer of blueberries in the United States, and is known specifically for the breed known as the wild or low bush berry. They are smaller and have a more intense color than other commercially cultivated blueberries from other states. I personally love wild blueberries from Maine, and also love the fact that a large percentage of them are still organic.
I decided on an old recipe for a cake called the Blueberry Buckle. It is called a buckle because it has a crumb topping that buckles as the cake cools. The batter to make this cake is very thick, dare I say almost paste like. But it is nicely sweet and lends well in bringing out the natural sweetness of the berry. The finished product reminds me of a really good muffin. Not to sweet, not too dense. It is really good warm, especially with a nice cup of coffee. I know what I am having for breakfast tomorrow.
This gets a solid A. Enjoy and see you next week in Missouri.
Recipe for Maine Wild Blueberry Buckle (adapted from several sources)
For the cake:
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
¾ cup milk
2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon to toss blueberries
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups wild Maine blueberries (fresh or frozen)
For the topping
¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
⅓ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease the inside of an 8-inch spring form pan. Set aside.
Whisk together the 2 cups of flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
Using a mixer beat together the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg.
Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk. Toss the berries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour (to separate and scatter evenly throughout the batter) and fold in. Pour batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.
Combine ingredients (butter, sugar, flour, cinnamon) for the topping with a fork or pastry cutter to make a crumbly mixture. Sprinkle this over the batter.
Bake for 50 minutes, and then test for doneness by gently inserting the edge of a knife. If it does not come out clean, give the cake another 5 to 10 minutes to bake.
When the cake has cooled, run a knife around the edges and lift the cake out of the pan.