This is a Guest Post by my wonderful and very culinarily talented sister Martha Biddle. Martha is a knitter, baker, juice enthusiast, summer camp counselor, and aspiring psychologist.
My favorite summer dessert is strawberry shortcake. While my girlfriend’s family make theirs as one, giant, dramatic dessert to be shared, I prefer to make individual ones. I get stressed out when it’s time to cut and serve a dessert, so individual cakes, soufflees, and shortcakes are a lifesaver. Additionally, aren’t miniature things always cuter? For these shortcakes, I eschewed strawberries and instead used raspberries my girlfriend and I picked outside of her house in the country. The wild raspberries we found are technically considered wine raspberries. Wineberries are a great berry to forage for, because in North America they are both invasive and easy to spot (with no poisonous look-a-likes). They taste sweet and tart, and are perfect for any dessert involving raw fruit. I also bought some blackberries, for some much needed color and flavor. If possible, include some mint in the berries while they chill in the refrigerator, as well as for plating. Sadly, my families mint plants, once weed-like, have gone to the birds, deer, or whatever it is that eats plants in the suburbs.
These shortcakes are a great choice for dinner parties, birthday parties, or, if you’re like me, just dinner with your family.
Raspberry and Blackberry Buttermilk Shortcakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
3/4 cup cold butter, cubed
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
4 tsp baking powder
1 tbs sugar in the raw (or however much desired)
2 tbs heavy cream
1 cup buttermilk
1 quart raspberries (wild or store bought)
1 quart blackberries
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbs confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
- First, wash the berries and pat dry. Place into a medium bowl and sprinkle with sugar and lemon juice. Without mixing (that will break down the berries), cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. To make the biscuits, combine the flours, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut the butter in, either with a pastry blender or using hands (if using hands, chill hands first in very cold water- melted butter will result in tough biscuits). The mixture in the bowl should resemble sand. Slowly add the buttermilk, blending in with a large wooden spoon, being sure to scrape the sides regularly. When just combined, roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface until half an inch thick. Be careful not to over handle the dough- the flakiest, lightest biscuits are those that are handled the least. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter; mine were 3 inches across, making 12 biscuits. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Prior to baking, brush biscuits with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar in the raw. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until nicely browned and puffed up.
- Just before serving, make the whipped cream. Pour the cream into a chilled bowl and, using a hand-held mixer, mix on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until soft peaks form. Then add both sugar and vanilla, blending until combined and cream in the consistency you desire. Be sure not to over-whip cream, or it will turn into butter!
- To serve, split biscuits into halves. On the bottom half, spoon a half cup of berries, making sure to incorporate some of the juice from the bottom of the bowl. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top. Then lean the top half of the biscuit behind the first, as pictured. Garnish with mint leaves or juice from the berries if desired.