James Beard is a food god. I rarely make recipes of food gods, but since it was baking, I figured, well, it is likely this could be a success for me…and it was! Plus, I challenged myself to pull a Cindy and make it my own – technically making a peach-berry shortcake with white and yellow peaches, blueberries and strawberries.The recipe is a bit surprising – the “secret” to this shortcakes being delicious is using the yolks of hard boiled eggs. If you don’t know how to make them, don’t worry, I can teach ya – just read this post.
The recipe definitely needs some time, but you can make it in three nights like I did. I made the hard boiled eggs one night, whipped up the short cakes and refrigerated them overnight on day two and then prepped the fruit and whip while the shortcakes baked and cooled on day three. Prepping for this recipe was ridiculously easy – never even had to bring out my Kitchen-Aid.
The shortcakes took much longer to bake than the recommended 12-15 minutes, but I’m not sure if it is simply due to the fact I refrigerated my shortcakes for 24 hours vs the hour the recipe called for. This isn’t a big deal, just means you have to watch them.
One other note – the picture of the freshly cut, uncooked shortcakes is not representative of the directions. The picture has the short cakes looking thin and eight are shown in the image…but the single recipe only makes six, inch thick cakes. The recipe directions say this, but when you see your stuff not looking quite like what is in the image, it gives you pause.
Despite the work involved and some of my mild annoyances, this recipe is really amazing. I had given these six shortcakes to four different people to test and they were all raving about not only the taste but how beautiful and summery this dessert looked. They also suggested that the mixture of different fruits also added a lovely flavour dimension.
There were no “Genius Tips” included with this recipe but I have a few:
- don’t feel you have to stick to strawberries. Mix up the fruit with seasonal summer favourites
- if you need to whipped cream to last awhile, mix in a tablespoon of powdered milk into the whipped cream to stabilize it and prevent it from separating
- also, make extra whipped cream. Everyone always wants lots of whipped cream.
Overall, this recipe is worth the effort because it is a dream to look at and to eat and it screams summer. When broken up over a few nights, it doesn’t feel like a lot of work and the steps are all really simple. Much like the waffle recipe, it is easily scaled up or down thanks to the weights and metric measures being included. My issues with the recipe were “me” issues, not recipe issues.
Recipe Rating: 5 knives out of 5
Om, nom, nom,
Strawberry (or Peach-berry for my version) Shortcakes
- 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup (50g) plus 1 tablespoon (15g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 6 tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small cubes
- 2 hard-boiled egg yolks, pushed through a small mesh sieve
- 3/4 cup (180ml) heavy cream, chilled
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 3 pints (1kg) fresh strawberries, washed, hulled, and halved or quartered, depending on size
- Note – I used about 330g each of strawberries, blueberries and peaches
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 cup (240ml) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Sift together the flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and the baking powder into a bowl. Add 6 tablespoons of the chilled butter pieces and, using your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mix until it has the consistency of coarse crumbs. Add the sieved hard-boiled egg yolks and the cream; gently mix until it the dough just comes together.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and gently knead to make a smooth dough (about two or three turns). Pat down the dough to make a 1-inch-thick round. Using a lightly floured 2 1/2-inch-round cookie cutter, cut out 6 shortcakes. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sugar. Place the shortcakes on a plate lined with waxed paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
- Heat the oven to 350ºF. Transfer the chilled shortcakes to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden and firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
- While the shortcakes cool, prepare the fruit filling and whipped cream: place the strawberries in a glass bowl and add the sugar. Gently stir and let sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Whip the cream and sugar together in a medium bowl until the cream just begins to thicken.
- Using a fork or serrated knife, cut the shortcakes in half lengthwise. Place the bottom halves on 6 plates and generously spoon the macerated fruit and juices over them. Top with a heaping dollop of lightly whipped sweetened cream. Top with the top halves of the shortcakes.