There’s still time to get some shortcakes in before the end of summer – they are a necessary August dessert, preferably eaten on the back deck -or better, in the grass- in shorts and flip-flops. Strawberry shortcake is classic, but blueberries, peaches, nectarines, raspberries – all make a stunning summer dessert loaded on soft shortcakes and dolloped with whipped cream. In this version, simmering the berries first allows them to release their juices, which are then sopped up by the shortcakes and whirled into the cream.
Swap the cream for plain or vanilla yogurt, and you have an indulgent breakfast.
It doesn’t hurt that blueberries are fantastic for you – they ranked among the highest in antioxidant activity in comparisons with over 100 other foods. They’re high in fiber and low in calories (until you add the shortcakes and cream, that is…!) and are easy to freeze (directly in a freezer bag, no prep necessary) for a taste of summer in the middle of winter.
Blueberries & Cream Shortcakes
5 cups fresh blueberries, divided
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, chilled, cut into pieces
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 3/4 cup heavy cream, divided
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
In a small saucepan combine 3 cups blueberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries pop and release their juices, 3 to 5 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water; stir into the simmering blueberry mixture. Simmer and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Add remaining blueberries. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use, up to two days.
Preheat oven to 425 °F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, combine the flour, 1/3 cup sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Pulse in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl combine the egg, buttermilk, and 1/4 cup cream; pulse into the dry ingredients to form a moist dough; add additional cream if needed. On a lightly floured surface, gently knead several times. Roll the dough out approximately 3/4-inch thick and cut into 8 to 10 rounds, each 2 1/2 inches in diameter.
Place the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 15 minutes. In a chilled bowl, with a chilled whip, beat 1 1/2 cups cream until lightly thickened. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and beat until medium soft peaks form. Chill until ready to use. To serve: With a serrated knife, split the warm shortcakes. Set the bottoms on individual serving plates.
Divide the blueberry compote among the shortcakes, allowing some to run off each shortcake onto the plate. Top the compote with a generous dollop of whipped cream. Cap with the top half of the shortcake. Sprinkle the plate and the top of the shortcake with powdered sugar and serve.
Recipe and photo courtesy of the BC Blueberry Council
It’s easy being blue! Find even more tasty blueberry recipes here