Prompted by a sweet looking fresh strawberries, raspberries and other fruits I picked up at the Farmer’s Market, I’ve been eating shortcakes with various fruits. Yesterday I made my favorite shortcake recipe (Nigella Lawson’s), and had two biscuits worth of mixed berries and whipped cream. I garnished with some fresh mint and that added a delightful touch. Today I had biscuits left, but no more fresh fruits so I took some frozen blueberries (I always keep a big bag in the freezer reserved for smoothies), thawed them and tossed them with a bit of sugar. What do you know?! Blueberry shortcake is pretty delicious as well.
Yesterday I was going to use some frozen apricots, but alas, they didn’t have much flavor, even after maceration with sugar and fresh mint leaves for an hour. So my third batch of shortcakes was a failure — soft and mushy, the apricots were flavourless — reminding me once again why I should only buy fruits in season.
I guess I may be on the verge of a shortcake addiction after trying different recipes. It’s very easy to make, so good, and pretty tasty (not to mention healthy, right? I mean, with all that fruit, and the calcium from the cream? 😉 ). I now want it for dessert every night but it’s not good for my waistline so I better quit. 🙂
For the Shortcakes
- 325 grams plain flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 5 tablespoons caster sugar
- 125 grams unsalted butter (frozen)
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 125 millilitres single cream
- 1 large egg white (lightly beaten)
For the Filling
- approx. 300 grams strawberries
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 3 drops balsamic vinegar (optional)
- 250 millilitres double cream (or creme fraiche)
- Preheat the oven to 220ºC/gas mark 7/425ºF.
- Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream to make the dough come together, so go cautiously.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm / ¾ inch. Dip a 6½ cm / 2½ inch round cutter in flour and cut out as many rounds as you can. Work the scraps back into a dough, re-roll and finish cutting out you should get 8 in all. Place the shortcakes about 2½ cm / 1 inch apart on a greased or lined baking sheet, brush the tops with the egg white, and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. If it helps with the rest of your cooking, or life in general, you can cover and refrigerate them now for up to 2 hours.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden-brown, and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack. Meanwhile, crush half the strawberries with the spoonful of sugar and the few drops of balsamic vinegar if using, and halve or quarter the remaining strawberries, depending on their size. Whip the double cream, if you’re using.
- The shortcakes should be eaten while still warm, so split each one across the middle and cover with a spoonful of the crushed strawberry mixture, a few halved or quartered strawberries, then dollop some whipped cream or creme fraiche on top, and set the top back on.
Note: To make whipped cream, use a hand mixer to beat the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes.
Recipe adapted from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS by Nigella Lawson