I love when I’m wrong about dessert– sometimes I need to be put in my place. I wasn’t particularly stoked for this recipe, especially since we just made another berry recipe for Baked Sunday Mornings two weeks ago, but I was very, very wrong in my ambivalence. This is the time of the season that I get a little complacent and nonchalant about summer fruit– oh yeah, we’ve had amazing berries since early May– no big deal… *yawn*. But no, one mustn’t take such delicacies for granted. We are so lucky in California to have the unabashed bounty of fruit that we have, and I should celebrate berries all summer long! And with that, I’m happy to present these Brown Sugar Shortcakes with Mixed Berries & Whipped Cream from Baked Occasions. This recipe is in honor of Flag Day on June 14, which commemorates the adoption of the American flag in 1777 on that day.
This dish is comprised of three elements: brown sugar shortcakes, brown sugar whipped cream, and macerated berries in a brown sugar syrup. I didn’t make the macerated fruit and berry syrup, as I don’t like soft, syrupy fruit. I used fresh fruit instead and didn’t feel that anything was lacking. The recipe calls for strawberries and blueberries because it’s meant to be red, white, and blue (‘Murica and all), but of course you can use whatever berries you want.
I actually prepared the brown sugar whipped cream first, several hours ahead of time. As I always do now (ever since making Rainbow Icebox Cake last year), I whipped the cream and drained it for several hours in the fridge in a sieve set over a bowl. This allows you to make it in advance without the cream weeping, and it leaves you with a fluffier and dare I say, extra flavorful cream. (I feel like it tastes better, but when does brown sugar whipped cream not taste amazing?!)
The dough was very easy to pull together, as biscuit-type dough is wont to be. You make it by rubbing cold butter and shortening by hand into a mixture of all-purpose flour, cake flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, then adding a mixture of heavy cream, egg yolk, and vanilla, which you’ll cut in with a fork. I considered using the food processor to cut in the butter and shortening, but I went ahead and did it by hand, which was perfectly easy. Perhaps I’ll try a pastry cutter next time, though the point is not to overwork the dough, since “hockey puck” is not the texture we’re going for.
You’ll knead this into a cohesive ball of dough and roll it out to about 1″ thick, from whence you’ll cut 2″ rounds. I ended up with 8 shortcakes, I think because I rolled the dough out a little too flat. The dough was unbelievably delicious– the vanilla stands out more than anything else, which is fine by me; I couldn’t help but eat all the scraps! (I used vanilla bean paste in both the shortcakes and whipped cream for its more intense flavor, and I miiiight have been a little heavy-handed.)
The dough rounds go in the freezer to chill for 15-30 minutes, and then you brush them with a heavy cream/egg white wash and sprinkle raw sugar on top; I used Demerara. Your kitchen will smell like brown-sugary heaven shortly and all with be well with the world. 🙂
Use can serve the shortcakes warm or at room temperature; I did the latter (though I meant to toast them… but forgot). Normally you’d slice them in half horizontally, but mine didn’t rise much, so instead of splitting the cakes, I used two. Don’t worry, it was really okay. I was not shy with that delicious whipped cream, and my assembled shortcake was a glorious mess of buttery crumbs, sweet fruit, and fluffy cream!
I thought the cakes would be more biscuit-like (flakier maybe?), but they were perfectly tender and a little crumbly, and I loved the crunch and sweetness from the raw sugar on top. And then I wondered, have I ever even had a proper shortcake? What kind of American am I?? Fortunately it was a brief identity crisis that melted away quickly with each bite.
It doesn’t get much more all-American than these Brown Sugar Shortcakes with Mixed Berries and Whipped Cream— visit Baked Sunday Mornings for the recipe and take a lil’ peek at my fellow bakers’ treats. The shortcakes would be just as great for July 4 as for Flag Day, or really any summer barbecue or picnic. Enjoy the berries while they last! 🙂
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2016.