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Baking

Summertime Shortcakes
August 26, 2010 • Posted by Olga Massov

Shortcake is typically thought of as something that’s accompanied by strawberries, right? But, why limit yourself, and only allow for the possibility of shortcake in the spring, when strawberries are in season? Why not continue the celebration year-round? Right now, while we are enjoying the peak of the summer and stone fruit truly shines, peaches make a wonderful accompaniment to the buttery biscuit. Heaped high atop your shortcake, and combined with freshly whipped cream, this summer dessert is not to be missed.

To bring out the natural sweetness in peaches even more, allow them to marinate with sugar and vanilla for about half an hour. In the pastry world, this is called macerating. Depending on how you like your shortcake, these can be made with either all purpose flour, or whole wheat flour. Using the latter gives you a heartier, chewier biscuit that’s a little bit more rustic. For a more traditional, crumbly biscuit, all-purpose flour should serve you well.

My favorite way to eat shortcake is right out of the oven, while the biscuit is warm and crumbly. How about yours?

Olga Massov authors the popular food blog, Sassy Radish.

For the Dough
2 1/2 cups whole wheat or all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter
3 tablespoon maple syrup
1/4 cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
1 large egg at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk (use 2 teaspoons less if using all purpose flour)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Whipped Cream
1 pint heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar

For the Filling
2-3 ripe peaches
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a large bowl and a whisk in the freezer.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut your butter into large chunks and dump in the food processor. Empty the flour mixture on top of the butter, cover the food processor, and pulse the processor, cutting the butter into flour mixture, until the mixture is crumbly. You can also use a pastry cutter to do the same.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the egg, sugar, maple syrup, buttermilk, cream, and vanilla, and whisk everything together until uniform. Add all of the liquid to the flour mixture, and pulse a few more times until just incorporated, being careful not to overwork the dough. If doing by hand, mix using a fork.
  4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Gently knead a few times until smooth.
  5. Pat the dough out into a 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick 12 inch circle. Using a 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut the dough into biscuits, you should get about 16 biscuits. Transfer the biscuits onto the prepared baking sheet. Do not re-roll the dough - you’ll get dough that’s tough and not as crumbly. Sprinkle the tops of the biscuits with sanding sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before serving or cool completely on a rack.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a pot to a boil filled with enough water to cover the peaches. Cut an “X” on the bottom side of each peach. Add to the boiling water and blanch for 30-60 seconds. Remove from water with a slotted spoon. Let stand until cool enough to handle, then remove the skin - it should come right off. Slice the peaches in half, remove the pits. Slice thinly, add to a medium bowl with vanilla and sugar, tossing to coat. Let sit to macerate.
  7. While your biscuits are cooling, whip the heavy cream and sugar together, until stiff peaks form.
  8. To serve, take one biscuit and cut it in half using a serrated knife. Spoon some whipped cream onto the bottom half. Place a generous heap of sliced peaches, and top with more whipped cream. Finish with the biscuit top. Serve immediately.

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