Archive for June 28th, 2010

summer berry shortcakes

This week we are on the road, exploring the coasts of southern Oregon and northern California.  I’ll post some pictures when I have some.

In the meantime, here’s this post about the most delicious little berry shortcakes I made last week after finding incredible boxes of raspberries and blackberries at Zupan’s.

A quick search through my baking cookbooks led me to this lovely book, Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert, and a recipe for Buckwheat Shortcakes.  I couldn’t resist (and just happened to have some organic buckwheat flour in the pantry).  The cakes turned out perfectly — light and not the least bit chewy — and were the perfect complement for the tart berries.

Here’s the recipe.

buckwheat berry shortcakes
(adapted from Alice Medrich’s book Pure Dessert)

prepare the shortcakes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (5 oz) all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (1.7 oz) buckwheat flour
¼ cup sugar
1 ¾ teaspoons baking powder (sift it if it is lumpy)
3/8 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 cup heavy cream
a little extra cream (the dregs from the bottom of the measuring cup are fine)
2 tablespoons coarse granulated sugar (or turbinado sugar)

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with two layers of parchment paper (to protect the bottoms of the shortcakes from browning too fast).

In a large bowl thoroughly whisk the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in the cream (reserve the measuring cup).  Use a rubber spatula to gently mix the dry ingredients into the cream, mixing just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the dough looks rough and shaggy.  Gather the dough into a ball and knead it gently against the sides of the bowl five or so times until it just holds together and the bowl is fairly clean.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and pat it into a 6 inch square about ¾ of an inch thick.  Trim the edges, using a sharp knife and quick stokes so as not to compress the dough, for the best rise.  Cut the dough into nine squares.  Place biscuits at least one inch apart on the baking sheet.  Brush tops with the cream remaining in the measuring cup and sprinkle with the coarse granulated sugar.

Bake until the biscuit tops are golden brown, 12 – 15 minutes.  Cool on a rack.

prepare the filling
1 cup heavy whipping cream
sugar to taste
2 -2 ½ pints fresh ripe berries

Whip the cream in a chilled bowl, sweetening lightly to taste.

Sweeten berries with sugar to taste (if using strawberries, slice them first).

assemble the shortcakes
Slice each cake horizontally in half.  Place the bottom halves on serving plates and top each with  scoop of berries and a dollop of whipped cream.  Cover with the cake tops.  Serve!


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