For this weeks BWD: Baking with Dorie Challenge, it was my turn again and I chose Tender Shortcakes on Page 423 and 424 in Dorie Greenspan's book
Choosing a recipe from this amazing cook book is a much harder task than one might think. For one, it has a lot of recipes and for two, every single one of them looks and sounds like it would be amazing. So in order to come up with some kind of selection process, I try to at least go with something seasonal, which eliminates about half of the recipes. This is how I decided on the shortcakes. I figured everyone in our blogroll would be able to find some kind of fresh fruit that would complete these little biscuits.
The dough is quickly made in one bowl without dirtying a lot of dishes. You have to be careful not to overwork the shortcakes, but again Dorie's instructions are always wonderful and easy to follow. Baking time is a short 15 - 18 minutes, and after briefly cooling the shortcakes you are ready to use the filling. I wasn't sure which route I was going to go since all the berries in the store looked delicious, but ultimately decided to make the recipe a little different from the traditional strawberry and used raspberries instead. To further enhance the raspberry flavor, I macerated them not only in sugar, but also in a tablespoon of Chambord which really heightened their flavor. Since the berries turned out quite sweet, I didn't think the cream needed further sugar, so I just whipped it to soft peaks and left it "au naturale".
The recipe makes about 10 shortcakes, but I went ahead and halved it with fantastic results. My alterations netted me 6 shortcakes which was perfect for my family.
These were probably the best shortcakes I have ever had and everyone in my house was in agreement. The cake part was unbelievably tender and tasty, with the raspberries and cream being a wonderful accompaniment. Dorie Greenspan definitely hit a home run with this recipe and it will go into my permanent recipe file and will be the only shortcake recipe I will use from now on.
Please go and check out the other Baking With Dorie participants blogs (which you can find on the bottom of the BWD page) and find out what they decided to do with this weeks recipe.
For our next BWD in two weeks (the 7th of June) it is Grapefruits turn with Lemon Cup Custard on Page 387.
If any of this has peeked your interest and you want to join the fun with us next time, then shoot me or Grapefruit an email and we'd be more than happy to have you.
~makes about 10 Shortcakes~
For the Biscuits:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
For the Filling:
Berries (about 1/2 cup per shortcake), hulled and slice if using strawberries (I used raspberries)
Lightly sweetened softly whipped cream
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone mat.
To make the biscuits: Whisk the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Drop in the butter and, using your fingers, toss to coat the pieces of butter with flour. Quickly, working with your fingertips (my favorite method) or a pastry blender, cut and rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is pebbly. You'll have pea-size pieces, pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pieces in between - and that's just right.
Pour the cream over the dry ingredients and toss and gently turn the ingredients with a fork until you've got a very soft dough. When the dough comes together, you'll probably still have dry ingredients at the bottom of the bowl - just use a spatula or your hands to mix and knead the dough until it's evenly blended. Don't overdo it; it's better to have a few dry spots than an overworked dough. Even with all the flour mixed in, the dough will be soft and sticky.
Spoon out about 1/3 cup of dough for each shortcake onto the baking sheet, leaving about 3 inches of space between the mounts of dough. Pat each mound down until is is between 3/4 and 1 inch high. (The shortcakes can be made to this point and frozen on the baking sheet, then wrapped airtight and kept in the freezer for up to 2 months. Bake with out defrosting - just add at least 5 more minutes to the oven time.)
If you have more dough, repeat, cooling the baking sheet first.
Bake for 15 - 18 minutes, rotating the sheet from front to back at the midway point, until the shortcakes are puffed and give just a bit when prodded. Pull the sheet from the oven and transfer the shortcakes to a cooling rack.
To make the filling: Put the berries in a bowl, sprinkle with sugar to taste and add Chambord if desired. Let them sit for about 10 minutes , until they are juicy.
The cakes are tender and really pretty fragile, so go easy with them. Use a serrated knife and not much pressure to cut each cake in half horizontally. (Alternatively, you can use the tines of a fork to prick a ring around the middle of the shortcake, then use your fingers to gently pry the halves apart.) Put the bottom halves on plates, top with the berries - make sure to include some of the sweet juices - and spoon over some whipped cream. Put the tops on the shortcakes or lean them against the cream, my preference. If you decide to go for the open-faced shortcakes, you'll get two textures - moist and moister.
Adapted from: Baking: From my home to yours