I can almost guarantee that all of you, if not most of you, have at one point in your lives enjoyed the (seemingly summer-only) treat of a strangely sponge-like yellow cup with Reddi Whip and some strawberries in it. My fiancé happens to love that, but how could I – wearer of a cupcake-based tattoo – allow such injustice to occur in the kitchen?
My greatest weakness as a baker is that sometimes when it comes to garnishes and fillings, I just eyeball it. In cases such as this, when a perfectly stable meringue heated to precisely 100°F is not the end game, my recipe will have rough approximations – it’s all good though, that allows for customization!
Summer Berry Shortcakes
- 4 – 8 tablespoons sugar (once again, this is an eyeball. I suggest starting with 4 tablespoons and then adjusting based on your tastes, and “unfortunately” that will require sampling the berries as they macerate. Darn.)
- Handful (probably 1 cup-ish) each of strawberries (rinsed and sliced, I prefer into quarters), blueberries and blackberries. This can be literally any kind of berry you want!
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, leveled (do not use cake flour as it’s too fine [or foyyyyne])
- 1.5 teaspoons baking powder, leveled
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup cold whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whipped Cream (if you’ve never made your own whipped cream before, first of all I’m really sorry but second of all it’s easy!) If you’re making your own, you’ll need 1 pint heavy whipping cream, a tablespoon or two of granulated sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Using beaters, a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, or a handheld whisk if you’re particularly intense, beat everything together in a cold bowl until it reached the desired consistency, usually about 2-4 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°F – if your oven runs hot or cold, be sure to adjust the ° accordingly
In a medium bowl, stir together the berries and sugar. Set the berries aside to macerate while you work on the ‘cakes, but be sure to give them a stir every once in a while, testing as you go to see if you need more sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sugar. Using a pastry blender (one of these bad boys) or your fingertips, and working fast so the butter stays cold, cut or rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add vanilla and milk together with your flour mixture and stir until just combined – take care not to over mix as it will mess up the end product.
With a big spoon, drop your mixture into four equal piles on an ungreased baking sheet. I lined mine with parchment paper, but this is not necessary. For aesthetic’s sake, you may wish to form them into roughly uniform shapes with your hands but I’m all about that rustic look. Bake 12 – 15 minutes at 425°F degrees. Remove the ‘cakes to a rack and let them cool for 5 minutes. To serve, split a warm shortcake in two, spoon berry juice over the bottom half, spoon a whopping scoop of the berries over that, top with whipped cream and the other half of the biscuit.
And now, enjoy! Simple.