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TIP OF THE DAY: Easy Shortcake

peach-shortcake-kraft-230

Easy peach shortcake: Slice fruit, top a
biscuit half, add whipped cream. Photo
courtesy Kraft.

 

Sweet summer berries and stone fruits beg to be turned into shortcake. It requires only three ingredients: the fruit of choice, whipped cream and the biscuit or other base.

In the good old days in the U.S., strawberry shortcake parties were held as celebrations of the summer fruit harvest. This tradition is still observed in some parts of the country on June 14th, which is Strawberry Shortcake Day.

The original shortcake concept, from the U.K., uses a slightly sweetened baking soda or baking powder biscuit or scone. Split in half, the base is piled with fruit and whipped cream, then topped with the other half, often with more fruit and whipped cream on top.

And just to confirm: Shortcake isn’t cake. It’s a dry biscuit in the American sense: a crumbly bread that has been leavened with baking powder or baking soda.

As the concept evolved, the biscuit was replace by everything from sponge cakes to corn muffins. Modern cookies are also switching out the whipped cream.

 
If you don’t have to bake the biscuits, this is a pretty easy recipe to assemble. There’s a shortcake biscuit recipe below, but other choices include:
 
For The Biscuit

  • Angel food cake
  • Brioche, lightly toasted (orange brioche is even better)
  • Buttermilk refrigerator biscuits (sprinkle with sugar before baking)
  • Muffin or un-iced cupcake
  • Pound cake
  • Sponge cake (some stores carry individual sponge cakes, four-inch circles with a well for the fruit)
  • Sweet rolls, lightly toasted with a sprinkle of sugar (look for King’s Hawaiian)
  • Yellow cake
  •  

    For The Whipped Cream

  • Crème fraîche (buy it or make it with this recipe)
  • Flavored whipped cream—lavender or spice, for example (recipes)
  • Ice cream/frozen yogurt
  • Mascarpone (you can make your own with this recipe)
  •  
    We intentionally omitted Cool Whip imitation whipped cream. Many people love it, but we can’t get past the ingredients, which include hydrogenated vegetable oil and high fructose corn syrup.

     

    SHORTCAKE BISCUITS

    Shortcake biscuits add a bit of sugar to a conventional biscuit recipe.

    Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  •  
    Preparation

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 450°F. Grease a cookie sheet.

    2. SIFT the dry ingredients together. Beat 2 eggs with milk and set aside.

    3. MIX 3/4 cup shortening with the dry ingredients. Add the milk and eggs and knead on a board for a few minutes.

     

    Mango-Shortcake-mangoboard-230

    Think outside the biscuit: Make mango shortcake. Here, mango ice cream replaces the traditional whipped cream. Photo courtesy The Mango Board.

     

    4. ROLL the dough out 3/4 inch thick. Cut with a round cookie cutter and bake 10 to 15 minutes on greased cookie sheet. Cool on a rack.

    5. ASSEMBLE: Cut biscuits in half. Spoon some of the fruit and any juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with whipped cream and add the shortcake top (you can serve the shortcake open face if you prefer). Spoon more fruit over the top and serve.
     
    SHORTCAKE HISTORY

    Though today’s shortcakes are usually of the biscuit or sponge cake variety, earlier American recipes called for pie crust in rounds or broken-up pieces—a recipe that can still be found in the South.

    The first strawberry shortcake recipe appeared in an English cookbook in 1588. By 1850, strawberry shortcake was being dessert served hot, with butter and sweetened cream. Around 1910, French pastry chefs replaced that topping with heavy whipped cream. [Source: Wikipedia]
     
    MORE SHORTCAKE RECIPES

  • Cupcake Strawberry Shortcake Recipe
  • Red, White & Blue Shortcake Recipe
  •   




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