Monday, June 7, 2010

Mixed Berry Shortcakes

I've eaten strawberry shortcake many times in my life, but it never occurred to me I wasn't eating traditional strawberry shortcake.   I thought what I was eating was true strawberry shortcake, but now I know I was wrong.  Strawberries with angel food cake and whipped cream do not make strawberry shortcake.  I’m sure some of you are shaking your head at me and my deluded strawberry shortcake past, like my dad’s wife Lynn did on Sunday.  I made these mixed berry shortcakes for dessert on Sunday, and I admitted to Lynn that I'd never had strawberry shortcake with, well um, shortcake before.  Lynn looked at my like I had a third eye, and told me then that I never had strawberry shortcake.  To her angel food cake with strawberries is a delicious dessert, but it's not strawberry shortcake.

I’m glad if I had to wait to try real strawberry shortcake, I waited for this recipe. These shortcakes are delicious.  The biscuits are light and fluffy and slightly sweet.  The berries are delicious, of course, and the sour cream enriched whipped cream tasted almost like cheesecake topping.  I have to admit, I am not a big fan of angel food cake “strawberry shortcake.”  The cake always seemed too sweet to me, but when pushed, my dad admitted though he liked these Mixed Berry Shortcakes, he still prefers angel food cake with his strawberries.  Do you like your strawberry shortcake with angel food cake or shortcakes?  I know I will be making these Mixed Berry Shortcakes from now on.
Mixed Berry Shortcakes
Adapted from Cooks Illustrated Summer Entertaining
Printable Recipe

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces and chilled, plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

6 cups mixed berries (I used hulled, quartered strawberries and whole blueberries)
2-3 tablespoons light brown sugar

Whipped Topping

1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup sour cream
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar

Place an oven rack in the upper middle of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375°F (I preheat my convection oven to 350°).  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. 

Add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into the bowl of a food processor and pulse 5 or 6 times, or until no lumps of sugar remain.  Add the chilled butter and pulse 6 to 7 times or until the mixture looks like course meal, and transfer the mixture to a large bowl. 

Whisk the egg and sour cream together in a small bowl.  Stir the egg mixture into the large bowl with the flour mixture.  Stir together with a spatula until large clumps form, and then mix with your hands until the mixture form comes together and no dry flour remains. 

Using a ice cream scoop,  scoop 6 dough balls onto the baking sheet (I used a smaller ice scoop to get 12 biscuit out of the mixture.   Brush the dough balls with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar. 

Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes (15 to 20 minutes for smaller biscuits).

Mix the fruit with the 2-3 tablespoons of light brown sugar, and refrigerate until ready to use, or at least 30 minutes.

Whipped Topping
In a medium bowl, beat the cream, sour cream and brown sugar until stiff peaks form. 
Prepare Short Cakes

Split the biscuits with a serrated knife, and place fruit mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit.  Add the whipped topping and the top of the biscuit.  Serves 6.


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