Mixed Berry Shortcakes

By on 6 May, 2011 in Cooking, Davena McRae, Food with 5 Comments

Fresh berries definitely signal a change in season. As the weather warms up, arms are exposed and toes start peeking through sandals. Dessert has a tendency to become a little less structured as well. I am not a huge fan of chocolate-based sweets, but have been known to lose my mind over a perfectly executed berry shortcake.

Layers of flaky biscuit, smothered with sweet, tangy berries and crowned with hand beaten cream are just, well, sublime. We are a bit early for the full variety of berries, but still have some beauties to choose from. Yet another advantage that the South has over my hometown in the Pacific Northwest: Berry season gets here sooner! If you decide to make this recipe, do not overthink it. If you don’t have time to make biscuits from scratch, don’t. The fresh, ripe berries will more than make up for this small shortcut. Don’t worry about having equal amounts of each berry — it’s okay for one to be the star. You should, however, enjoy your shortcake in good company, preferably in a hammock in your backyard wearing flip flops.

There are several places in the River Region where you can pick your own berries. The link below will help you find them.

http://www.pickyourown.org/ALmontg.htm

Mixed Berry Shortcake

For biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For filling

  • 5 cups of the freshest, ripest berries you can find
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Juice from 1 lime

For cream

  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Blend in butter with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir just until a soft, sticky dough forms.

Drop dough in 6 mounds about 2 inches apart on an ungreased large baking sheet and bake until golden, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer biscuits to a rack and cool to warm, about 10 minutes.

While biscuits bake, gently mash half of berries with 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl, then stir in remaining berries.

Beat cream together with sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until it soft peaks form.

Carefully cut biscuits in half horizontally and arrange 1 bottom half, split side up, on each of 6 plates. Top each with berries, whipped cream, and other half of biscuit.

Davena McRae is a chef and cooking class instructor living in Montgomery, Alabama. She is the mother of  three dogs and the wife of one man.

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Sarah says:

    Sounds and looks fantastic! Great article, Davena!

  2. Jay Croft says:

    For the whipped cream, do not use plastic bowls. And have bowl, beaters, etc at refrigerator temperature. In other words, chill them for a couple of hours before making the whipped cream!

    There’s a gadget available for cutting butter or Crisco into flour. I’m not sure what it’s called, but I’ve had the same one since Hector was a pup. Much better and quicker than rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingertips.

  3. I cheat and use Bisquick’s recipe for shortcake. Much easier and delicious!

  4. Chris Carter says:

    Chef Davena,

    I suppose I should give your recipes a try way up here in the NW. I hope you are well!

    • davena mcrae says:

      Chris,

      So nice to hear from you! Don’t forget, blackberry season isn’t until August in Seattle. 🙂

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