I’m pretty sure that after graduating as a young cook from the recipe on the side of the yellow bag for chocolate chip cookies, my next adventure in baking was making shortcakes.
Since I grew up in New England and blueberry picking was the highlight of the season, it was probably summer time and a surplus of berries was in the kitchen. Most of the berries we took home were grabbed by the handful and eaten on the spot, some were saved for tossing over breakfast cereal and any that happened to survive beyond that were either frozen or made into an easy dessert – shortcakes.
It’s a great way to introduce kids to baking because the dough is fun to play with; you get to pat it out and cut it into chunky circles. And because they bake in about 10 minutes and should be served warm from the oven –with sweet berries and freshly whipped cream! – we’re talking immediate gratification at its finest.
Makes 12 biscuits, serves 6
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher or coarse sea salt
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
¾ cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon melted butter
For the toppings:
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
2 cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries
½ cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
Put the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl and whisk together.
Using a large fork or pastry blender, drop the butter into the flour and blend until the butter is in pea-sized pieces. Pour the buttermilk over the flour and stir until most of the flour is incorporated. Gather the dough into a ball and dump onto a floured work surface, turning it to lightly coat with flour. Pat or lightly roll out the dough so that it’s about ½-inch thick. Cut out circles with a 2-inch round biscuit cutter or the rim of a glass – you should get about 12. Transfer the circles to a parchment lined baking sheet; brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
Bake 10 minutes, or until the shortcakes are golden brown on top.
While the shortcakes are baking, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Add the blueberries and cook for a few minutes, just until the berries release some juice but still hold their shape.
Whip the cream with the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.
For each serving, put a shortcake on a plate with some berries and cream and top with a second shortcake.
baking, blueberry, dessert, fruit, shortcake, summer
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