Huckleberry season in Montana is a beautiful thing. Every summer, usually in August, huckleberries can be found in roadside stands, often alongside fresh-picked cherries, or at farmer's markets. They are a precious and pricey treat, for those who gather them must do so in the wild among the animals that want their fair share. Some pickers will hold secret their favorite "hunting" grounds. We like to buy a gallon at a time and then freeze them. The season is short, so freezing is the only way to enjoy them year round.
Did You Know? Almost all huckleberries are grown in the wild. They do not like to be tamed, and wild huckleberries are not the same as garden huckleberry varieties. There is also a difference between the varieties that grow in the eastern United States and those in the western part of the country. Wild huckleberries don't transplant well in part because they lack a centralized root system.
Did You Know? Huckleberries are full of antioxidants, high in iron, and a good source of vitamin C and potassium.
Did You Know? Huckleberries and blueberries are often mixed together in Huckleberry dishes to save money. They are similar in taste, but huckleberries are less sweet and have a distinct flavor all their own. It's worth investing in huckleberries, even if trying them only once.
Tea and treats make for a relaxing afternoon.
These lovely teacups are Kent Pottery, and were picked up at Home Goods. I'm fond of Royal Albert and Spode, but since I like a wide variety I like to find pretty tea sets at nice prices. It helps that my mother is especially fond of shopping, and always find charming pieces. It's also fun to find antique sets tucked away in a consignment shop or online at a place like Replacements.com.
Fresh fruit is always a nice accompaniment to tea.
I've made this recipe with a variety of coconut, but this was the first time I tried Bob's Red Mill coconut flakes, and I will say they are my favorite thus far. They hold their crunch and flavor better, in my opinion.
The napkins are Potterton Hill.
This cake is a real treat for tea, breakfast, or as dessert. It's light enough to leave you satisfied, yet not too full.
Another darling tea cup, also Kent Pottery, and picked up at Home Goods.
A quiet porch is a perfect place to enjoy afternoon tea. If you have a garden, treat yourself by setting up a chair and table, and relax with a cup of tea and a good book.
Every bite is bursting with huckleberry flavor and a touch of cinnamon and spice. It's really quite delicate and airy.
Before we get to the recipe, here are a few tips regarding room temperature ingredients.
When it comes to butter, “room temperature” refers to the semi-solid stage where butter is extremely spreadable but still holds its shape. (Bon Appetit)
Room temperature ingredients bond easily to create evenly textured batters. Your cakes and breads will rise better and have a lighter texture, cookies will hold their shape, and frostings will be creamy and delicious. Butter that is too warm can topple all of your hard work. If a recipe does not call for melted butter, do not melt it!
It is always best to bake with room temperature ingredients. There are tricks to speeding up the process, but if you're not in a hurry, I recommend letting ingredients come to room temperature naturally.
Set out butter 1-2 hours prior to baking. I keep a pretty cool house, so it takes longer than an hour in my kitchen. If you keep a warm house, 30 minutes might suffice. If you press your finger into the butter and it leaves an indent, but is still cool to the touch and not greasy or slippery, then you're good.
Cream cheese should get to room temperature between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how cool you keep your kitchen. You can speed up the process for both cream cheese and butter by cutting them into smaller pieces.
Eggs can be set in warm (not hot) water for 5-10 minutes to bring them quickly to room temperature. I usually set eggs out with the butter, but the warm water trick works well. The exception to the warm water trick is if you need separated eggs. Eggs are easier to separate when they are cold, so do that first. Separated eggs should reach room temp (without help) in 15-20 minutes.
Measure and set out milk, buttermilk, and sour cream 10 minutes prior to baking. While you can microwave dairy at lower power, it's not something I ever recommend because a few seconds too many can ruin it.
1) Measure out all your ingredients to make sure you're ready to go. 2) Prepare the topping. 3) Make your delicious and smooth batter. 4) Gently fold in the huckleberries (or blueberries). 5) gently spread in the prepared baking pan. 5) Sprinkle with topping to cover the batter from edge to edge. 6) Bake, cool, and enjoy.
Scroll down for the printable recipe.
Baking is a science, and if you really want to make a long-term goal of becoming a fantastic baker, it's good to learn tricks of the trade. If you're an occasional baker, the internet is a wealth of information for quick tips. The best advice I can ever give a person is to always read a recipe from start to finish before starting. Make sure you have all the ingredients, kitchen tools, and the time required for each step.
Enjoy, and thank you for visiting!
Especially for you!
This recipe and parts of the post were also shared on Images also shared on mkmcclintock.com/blog.