sunny sunday shortcake
Holy Moly! It was a 70° sunny Sunday in Seattle yesterday! I even got a bit of a sunburn on my pasty white flesh! This is quite atypical around these parts, but, hey, we’ll take it. To take full advantage of Sunday’s splendidly sunny afternoon, I went to the first neighborhood farmers market of the season to stock up on goodies to cook at the first splendidly sunny Sunday barbecue of the season. And low and behold, new this year to my neighborhood farmers market is this:
Honest Biscuits. I was curious—and hungry—so I bought two.
As you may know, I love a good biscuit, and these were good, but they weren’t the flakey, buttery biscuits I am most fond of. The Honest Biscuits I tried were more of the doughy and bready biscuit variety, almost like a dinner roll. To describe them in three words: large, dense, and intense. Not bad, but not the smartest way to start my Sunday morning either. My experience left me with a bit of a tummy-ache but also with the urge to go home and make a lighter biscuit. And of course, true to form, when I got home I decided that a light biscuit was not really what I wanted. What I wanted was a light and sweet shortcake to douse in juicy berries and rich whipped cream. Sweet teeth trump tummy-aches.
Read more to see how to make your own!
Sunny Sunday Shortcake!
makes about 8-10 small-ish servings or 5-6 big, gluttonous ones
So I know that strawberries are not really in season quite yet (at least not in the Pacific Northwest… thanks for sharing California!) but how on Earth can anyone possibly resist any kind of strawberry shortcake-like dessert when the temperature gets about 70° and there are barbecues-a-blazin’ ?! Regardless of the season, I think that where there is a barbecue, there should always be some fruit, whipped cream, and shortcake nearby.
I N G R E D I E N T S
for the fruit:
2 1/2 pounds washed and prepped fruit (I used fresh [California] and frozen [Washington] strawberries, but any other berries, peaches, or cherries would be delicious in this recipe)
1/2 cup sugar
the juice of one lemon
for the shortcake:
2 cups all-purpose flour (10 ounces)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
the zest of one lemon
4 ounces butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) whole milk
for the cream:
1 cup (8 fluid ounces) heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds removed (watch this if you don’t know how), or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
D I R E C T I O N S
First, you need to macerate the fruit. Macerate is just a fancy word for getting all of those tasty juices flowing. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of sugar and the lemon juice over the fruit and toss it gently to coat. Set it aside at room temperature while you make everything else. The fruit can hang out at room temperature up to four hours or you can combine it the day before and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
While the fruit is macerating, make the shortcakes. Preheat your oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet by lining it with a piece of parchment paper or a silpat. Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.
Add the chilled pieces of butter and using your fingers, incorporate it into the dry ingredients, breaking up any large chunks of butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Add the lemon zest and toss to incorporate.
Beat the whole egg and the milk lightly together. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and, still using your hands (yeah, you’re hands!), gently mix it all together.
When the dough is still clumpy and rough looking, turn it on to a very lightly floured surface and gently work it into a small rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick.
Using a lightly floured biscuit cutter—small or large, depending on how many shortcakes you want—gently cut the biscuits out of the dough and place them on the baking sheet. Form any dough scraps into additional biscuits by gently pressing them into the biscuit cutter.
Sprinkle the biscuits with additional sugar and place in the oven to bake until light golden brown, about 13-15 minutes.
Place baked shortcakes on a wire rack to cool until it is time to serve them.
Right before you are ready to serve your sunny Sunday shortcakes, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds or vanilla extract in a large, cold bowl and whisk vigorously until soft peaks form.
Split the shortcakes in half lengthwise and sandwich some strawberry goodness and rich whipped cream between the two halves. Do I really need to tell you how to make this? I didn’t think so…