Friday, September 24, 2010

Bye Bye Berry

I know, I know... my last blog post was all about the shift from summer to fall and the abundance of the current harvest, and as figilisious as it is, I simply had to have one last fling with my favorite summer indulgence- berries. When walking past the table of fresh berries at Central Market, the smell alone is enough to get me salivating. Colorful, vibrant, and juicy (similar to myself), these treasures are about to once again be buried below the seasonal radar. Not that berries can not be found year round these days at supermarkets, but there is something seemingly dishonest, and equally disappointing, in purchasing something so out of place... the flavor and texture seem forced and unnatural. So this is it, my farewell tribute. What could be more befitting than to pair the fruits with shortcake? Now, if you are not a fan of shortcake, I simply consider you someone who has not been fortunate enough to experience this recipe, which produces something so addictive it could be more aptly named shortcrack. Somewhere between the best white cake you've ever eaten and the most delicate of biscuits, they are soft, sweet, and substantial on the tongue. While I paired them with berries and whipped cream for the dessert, they made a luscious treat at breakfast the next morning with yogurt and honey. Give them a try before it is too late!

Berry Shortcake

3 cups cake flour, plus more as needed1/4 cup plus 1 TBS sugar, 2 tsp sugar (for the berries), plus more for sprinkling
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
6 TBS very cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 egg beaten with 1 TBS water
2 cups or so strawberries/raspberries/blackberries/blueberries
1 TBS raspberry jam
little squeeze of fresh lemon juice

-preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment (or spray with vegetable oil cooking spray)
-sift together the flour, 1/4 cup plus 1 TBS sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl, then place mixture in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade
-add the butter and pulse several times until the dough resembles a coarse meal
-add the cream and blend until the dough come together (a few seconds), it will be slightly crumbly... don't overwork or the cakes will be tough!
-transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and roll out with a well floured rolling pin into a 12 inch long rectangle (if the dough it too sticky simply pat with a little more flour
-fold the left end to the middle, and the fold the right end up over the left to form 3 layers (like a business letter)
-roll the dough into a 3/4 inch thickness and cut with 3 inch heart or circle (or really any shape) cutter
-brush with the egg mixture and sprinkle with sugar (coarse turbinado sugar looks nice), bake until golden for 15 to 20 minutes

-meanwhile prepare the fruit by mixing together the berries, jam, sugar, and lemon juice
-take half of the mixture and mash together with a potato masher or pastry blender and then combine back together

-to assemble, cut the shortcakes in half and fill with berries
-either place the whipped cream inside, sandwich style, or dollop on top (just remember, if the shortcakes are still warm the cream will melt, so either cool completely or place the whipped cream on the side)

Whipped Cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp of brandy (optional)
1/4 tsp vanilla

(if you would like to give your whipped cream a little something extra, you could add a big TBS of sour cream into the mixer as well if you have some on hand)

-whip all of the ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium high speed until thickened, then bump it up to high speed until soft peaks form

No comments:

Post a Comment