I love interesting and unique types of cookbooks. I received my copy of Ripe last week and thus far have cooked 4 dishes from this beautifully, color co-ordinated book. Whenever I get a new cookbook I always flip through the pages and jot down the page number of the recipe I want to try. Thirty-six noted pages later, I am salivating and wondering which recipe to try first! Whole Foods just received a shipment of delicious-looking blackberries…need I say more?
Shortcake originated in Europe around the late 1590’s. Shakespeare mentions it in his play, The Merry Wives of Windsor. Shortcake gets it’s name from the adding of shortening or butter to a dough which makes it tender. Strawberry shortcake, which I grew up with, has been around since the 1850’s. Harpers Magazine in 1893 said, “They give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake- Ohh My!” Strawberry shortcake for me has always been synonymous with Summer, when life is a bit laid-back and fun in the sun is the order of the day.
adapted from Ripe: A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables
125g (1 cup) flour
40g (1/2 cup) medium-grind cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen hard
120ml (1/2 cup) cold heavy cream (plus 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons Demerara sugar (for sprinkling)
440g (4 cups) fresh blackberries
65g (1/4 cup) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
237ml (1 cup) cold, heavy cream (whipping cream)
lime zest, for garnish
Preheat oven to 190c (375f). Line a baking sheet with parchment. To make the shortcakes: In a large bowl, whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, sugar, and zest. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter over the dry ingredients. Fluff gently with a fork. Drizzle with 1/2 cup of the cream. Stir with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients come together and there are no visible floury bits remaining.
Transfer the dough to a floured board and form into a 4 1/2-inch (11.5cm) diameter, 1-inch (2.5cm) high disc. Cut into quarters and transfer to the baking sheet. Brush with the remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with Demerara sugar. Bake until golden, risen, and firm to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cut in half horizontally.
To make the filling: Toss the blackberries with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lime juice. Transfer half of this mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Take a potato masher to the remaining blackberry mixture and mash until pulpy. In a large bowl, whip the cream to soft peaks with the remaining 1 teaspoon of sugar.
To assemble: Lay 1 shortcake bottom on a plate. Dollop with some whipped cream, top with a few whole berries, followed by the shortcake top, and spoon some the mashed berry pulp on top. Garnish with lime zest. Repeat with the remaining shortcakes, berries, cream and zest. Serve immediately.
The Culinary Chase’s Note: Repeat after me: delectable! I’m a huge fan of strawberry shortcake but these might just topple the strawberry crown for me…they were that good! According to the author, Cheryl Sternman Rule, grating frozen butter into the dry ingredients yields flaky shortcakes with the need for a pastry blender. She was right! Enjoy!