There are shortcakes, and then there are shortcakes, and this one is the latter – an absolute show stopper of a summer dessert. Wait, this is more than a dessert, this is an extravaganza. Best of all, it is a nod to the Red, White, and Blue, making it a perfect dessert for any Holiday or birthday that falls during the summer months. If you wish to be the subject of gossip, serve this dessert – people will talk and talk.
Absolutely delectable, and very do-able, each piece of this dessert shines. There are four components:
- Shortcake: although these look a bit like a bisquick drop biscuit, these are really like a cross between a cream biscuit (num) and a scone – a gorgeous cream & sugar topping gives a bit of crispness to the top and these are moist and tender throughout – they can be made a day or two ahead but will soften just a bit.
- Berry Sauce: very similar to a berry syrup, a good store-bought one can be substituted, perhaps cut with just a bit of a liquor, as this sauce is flavored with Grand Marnier or a touch of Rum. Home-made really is the way to go, here, though – made with a good blueberry or blackberry, it is simply outstanding. (I often make a larger batch and can this.) The sauce can be made up to a week ahead.
- Whipping Cream: Nothing can beat real whipping cream in this recipe, and this whipping cream is very lightly flavored with a touch of Grand Marnier, Rum or vanilla and a bit of powdered sugar.
- Berries: Although one type of berry can be used, a mix of berries is truly outstanding. Again, the faintest touch of Grand Marnier or Rum adds an unidentifiable something…make these the same day, but early in the day so they have a chance to gently macerate. The tiniest bit of sugar and a small scraping of fresh nutmeg helps the process along.
Although this dish is certainly an extravaganza, part of that is it’s unabashed display. Compared to many special occasion desserts of this caliber, it is actually quite low in sugar, with the exception of the berry sauce. Most of the flavor comes from the berries and is boosted by the touch of alcohol. Fat content? A bit of another story…The recipe makes six servings, but the shortcakes are easily divided into 8ths and there are enough berries, sauce and whipping cream so that no one should feel deprived if served a smaller portion.
The recipe for the actual shortcakes is on a separate post: See Recipe.
Three Berry Shortcakes, serves 6
To assemble: Place sauce on a plate, split shortcake in half horizontally. Put the bottom on top of the sauce, then add whipped cream on top of the bottom half. Layer on some berries, then place the shortcake top over them. Add some whipping cream to the top, garnish with more berries and drizzle more sauce over all. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.
Mixed Berries, about 3 cups
- 3 cups of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries mix and/or match)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon rum (I like Cap’t Morgans) or Grand Marnier
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
Slice strawberries, and mix all berries very gently with sugar, rum and nutmeg. Taste – you may want a touch more sugar if the berries aren’t sweet. Chill for up to two hours, and at least one.
Whipping Cream, about 2 cups
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or taste
- Vanilla, rum or Grand Marnier, about a teaspoon or so.
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Add rest of ingredients and whip until stiff peaks form. This needs to be a substantial stiffness or it will not support the top of the dessert and berries.
if you don’t care to use the sauce, just use the juices from the berries, or a blueberry syrup cut with Grand Marnier and a bit of water, if needed.
- 3 cups of berries (use a single type, one of the ones used for the shortcake – blueberry or blackberry looks particularly stunning in the final dish.)
- 3 tablespoons rum or Grand Marnier
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons water
Add all ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil. Blend in blender or food processor. Strain and chill.
Money and Time Saving Strategies:
I’m abandoning my usual rhetoric here in favor for a quick comment or two:
Shop during the Holiday sales for the berries or check Aldis. Whipping Cream is usually on sale every Holiday, and generally butter is too. Stock up – freeze the butter. Whipping cream keeps for several weeks in the fridge, unopened, so if this is an item you may wish to use in the following weeks, buy it during the Holiday week when it is normally on a deep sale.
If you don’t like to use alcohol, use vanilla. If you’d like to use the orange flavor instead of the rum, and don’t want to put out for Grand Marnier, use a little orange schnapps or a few drops of an orange extract. (Be careful if you use the extract – it’s often strong.)
Hope you had a great Memorial Day – think of this dessert over Father’s Day, the Fourth and Labor Day.