I made these shortcakes over a month ago for the Fourth of July. They’re pretty patriotic-looking, aren’t they? They just scream “USA!” to me, which I suppose is perfect since we’re all watching the Olympics right now. Everyone loves strawberry shortcakes, so I figured, why not do the same thing with blueberries, which, in my opinion, are a superior fruit (sorry strawberries). Blueberries are wonderful in New York in the summer, and I love walking to work in the mornings, passing through the Union Square Greenmarket, and smelling all of the berries being warmed by the sun. I know that is literally the most twee sentence I could possibly write, but it’s true. The hot, humid, muggy summer air in NYC lends itself to only one good thing, and that’s trapping the scent of ripening summer berries. It really saves my soul after I get out of the awful, crowded subway.
I still have a few random photos from our California trip last month.
These shortcakes were, for lack of a better term, the shit. They were awesome. This is everything I want in a dessert: something flaky and buttery, something light and airy to cut through the richness of the aforementioned buttery thing, and fruit (lots of fruit). This was like the best deconstructed pie you could possibly imagine. I love peeled layers of these biscuits apart and topping each bit with a little whipped cream and a couple of juicy berries, enjoying each bite slowly because I know I probably shouldn’t go back for seconds (though I just might do that, anyway). I brought these to a barbecue to share with friends and they were all super into building their own shortcakes to eat. I used my favorite biscuit recipe this time around, but I do certainly hold a special place in my heart for those sweet, spongy packages shortcakes that you can buy at the store. My mom always bought them in the summer, and as kids, we’d fill them with sliced strawberries and Cool Whip. It was one of the best things ever, and I always waited just a little bit so the cakes would get a tiny bit soggy from the fruit before digging in. I recommend doing the same with these.
Eating oysters in Sonoma.
Kramer doing what Kramers do best.
Okay: shortcake time. I added raspberries to mine because I had them. You do you!
Add your compote ingredients together and heat until boiling.
Add your cornstarch and cinnamon, simmer until thickened, then let cool slightly.
I made my favorite biscuits for this. You can do the same, or use canned biscuits or buy some shortcakes at the store. Whatever floats your boat.
Now just whip your cream and put it all together!
This is the good stuff, I promise you that.
My friends went nuts for these and yours will, too. It’s good warm, room temp, or straight out of the fridge.
I couldn’t pick a photo for this recipe–they were all too delicious looking, if I don’t say so myself.
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3 cups blueberries
- 1 cup raspberries (optional, but I had 'em, so why not)
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch or tapioca flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- First, make your biscuits (you can, of course, use store-bought biscuits. No shame in that!). Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add in your cubed butter and cut it into your flour mixture until coarse crumbs form, using either your hands or a pastry cutter (I find that hands work best).
- Add in your milk and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms (do not over mix). Lightly flour a work surface and turn the dough out, knead gently a few times to bring the dough together, then form into two balls. Set one ball aside while you roll out the first.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle, a little smaller than your baking sheet, then fold that rectangle into thirds, like how you'd fold a piece of paper to fit into an envelope. Fold the dough again into thirds, this time in the opposite direction.
- Press the dough with your hands into a rectangle about 1½-inches thick. Use circle cutters to cut the biscuits out, being careful not to twist the cutter as you pull each biscuit out and place on your baking sheet (twisting the biscuits ruins your nice layers). Repeat with your other ball of dough.
- Bake the biscuits for 15-17 minutes, until just barely golden (start watching them at around 12 minutes, as every oven is different). When you roll up scraps to cut out, be careful to handle them as little as possible (the more you handle the dough, the less flaky the biscuits will be). Allow to cool slightly.
- This is the easy part. Combine everything in a medium-sized pot except for the water, cornstarch and cinnamon (if you have tapioca flour, it just thickens a lot nicer than cornstarch, according to Serious Eats AKA my cooking bible). Bring everything to a boil. Once boiling, whisk together the water and cornstarch and add it to the fruit, along with the cinnamon. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes or so, until thickened, stirring every so often. Remove from the heat, taste, add more sugar, cinnamon, or lemon, if you like, and then let cool to room temperature.
- Add the heavy cream to a cold mixing bowl with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium-high until soft peaks form, about 2-3 minutes, then stop the mixer and add in the sugar and vanilla. Bring the mixer up to medium-high and whisk until combined and sturdy, but still soft-looking, about 1 minute. Chill until ready to use (you can make the whipped cream a day ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge).