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Last year, I missed huckleberry season.  So I’d be damned if I missed it again this year.

I had been driving by my favorite farm stand daily, stalking the arrival of huckleberries.  But when the “Huckleberries are in!” sign finally appeared, it was the day I lifted off for a week-long conference in Mexico.

$&@%.

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When I finally returned to Boise on Thursday, I hurried over the farm stand, knowing it was a long shot that they’d still have some of these precious purple berries.  But much to my glee, a few bags remained, for a mere $11/lb.  After shelling out the cash for a 1-lb. bag, I headed home, my head swirling with ideas of how to use my tart little huckleberries.

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I eventually decided on a huckleberry crisp, despite initially snubbing the idea.  But I incorporated my favorite South Asian ingredients to update this granny classic — cardamom adds a camphor-y, floral aroma; whipped buttermilk cuts through with a hint of salt; and ginger ties everything together.  In the crisp, I’ve used barley flour for a deeper, nuttier flavor, though you can certainly substitute a.p. flour.  And in the filling, I’ve included apple for a plushness that won’t reduce the flavor of the huckleberries.

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Huckleberry Ginger Crisp with Whipped Buttermilk

Yield:  3-4 servings | Adapted from Open Range by Bentley & Dillon

For the Crisp

  • 1/4 C hazelnuts
  • 3/4 C rolled oats
  • 1 C barley flour
  • 1/2 C packed brown sugar
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 T ground cardamom
  • 1/2 C + 1 T butter, at room temperature

For the Filling

  • 3 C huckleberries
  • 3 C shredded apples
  • 1 T grated ginger
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar

For the Whipped Buttermilk

  • 3/4 C cream
  • 1/2 C buttermilk
  • small handful granulated sugar
  1. Coarsely crush the hazelnuts (a zip-top bag and rolling pin work well), then toast in a dry skillet.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. For the crisp, combine toasted hazelnuts, oats, flour, both types of sugar, and cardamom in mixing bowl.  Stir to combine, then cut the 1/2 C butter into mixture, using paddle attachment on electric mixer to beat until the crisp sticks together, about 5 minutes.  Refrigerate while preparing filling.
  3. For the filling, combine huckleberries, apples, ginger, and sugar in mixing bowl.  Stir until well incorporated.
  4. Spoon filling into ramekins, top with crisp.  Bake for 40 mins; after about 30 mins, add a dollop of the extra 1 T butter to the top of each crisp.
  5. During baking, prepare whipped buttermilk by combining cream, buttermilk, and sugar in mixing bowl.  Whip until mixture thickens and forms soft peaks, about 10 minutes in electric mixer.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  6. Let crisps cool 5-10 minutes after they exit the oven, then spoon whipped buttermilk atop each crisp.

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