Monday, June 14, 2010

Scrumptious Shortcakes


There's a comfort to the simplicity and yet versatility of shortcakes. The simplicity comes from the fact that they are a simple sweetened biscuit. But they are so versatile because they can be used with any fruit. Don't limit yourself to strawberries. You can use whatever fruit is in season or you have on hand. I'll even just eat them plain, like a scone (its very close sibling) with lemon curd.

Finding the perfect recipe for anything you really love can be hard. You try ones from magazines, cookbooks, and websites. Luckily I've found a great one in Dorie Greenspan's From My Home to Yours. Due do copyrights, I can't give it to you here. I can only tell you that this cookbook has plenty of A1 recipes and this is one.

An interesting difference in this recipe is that it doesn't call for putting or rolling the dough into an inch thick slab and then cookie cutting out the round biscuits. This recipe has the dough more clumpy and just dropping clumps like cookie dough onto the baking sheet. This creates a bumpy, lumpy biscuit that will crumble more easily because it's a bit more delicate than other recipes. So don't expect to split the shortcakes in half to fill them with cream and fruit.

I get my love of true whipped cream from my British dad. For these I decided to make a lemon curd whipped cream. This means folding in a bit of lemon curd into the whipped cream so that it has a light lemon flavor.

But if you use real whipped cream you have to worry about it weeping as it sits. It will fall apart over time. How do you stabilize it so it will keep for hours or even days? I use the gelatin method. So below in the recipe I'll describe my steps for making a lemon curd whipped cream that will hold up. Here is the link to my microwave lemon curd.

Lemon curd whipped cream

1 c heavy whipping cream
2 T sugar
1/4 lemon curd
3 T hot water
2 t powdered gelatin

In a small bowl, place the hot water and powdered gelatin. Stir it well and then set it aside to cool for about five minutes.

In a medium bowl whip the heavy cream with an electric beater at high speed. Gradually add the 1-2 tablespoons of sugar. Remember that you will get a lot of sweetness later from the lemon curd, so you may decide to go on the low side. Whip the cream to soft peaks. Gradually add in the liquid gelatin as you continue to beat to stiff peaks.

Gently fold in the lemon curd until fully incorporated.
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