There are shortcakes, and then there are shortcakes, and these Three Berry Shortcakes are the latter – an absolute show stopper of a summer dessert. Wait, this is more than a dessert, this is an extravaganza. Let me put it another way, these Three Berry Shortcakes are going to be the stuff of legend. They’re the recipe that you’re going to make and everyone is going to go on and on about, and then ask for them when the next summer rolls around.
Just so you’re prepared, and all! Make Three Berry Shortcakes and it’s probably pretty likely they’ll become your signature dessert for family dinners, parties, holiday gatherings all summer long. And hey, it doesn’t hurt that they’re patriotic and all decked out in a red white and blue theme with the mix of berries and the whipped cream!
About Three Berry Shortcakes:
I’ve been making this dessert for so many years (actually, I think I’m up to so many decades now) that I don’t even remember where I got it. Probably Bon Appetit. Maybe Gourmet. It is a stunning showstopper of a dessert and my pics don’t even begin do it justice. In “person” they’re nothing short of stunning! I need to make this again and get better pics, I think! I’m rewrting this in 2019 and have been momentarily distracted by my Sheetpan Strawberry Shortcake. And it’s pretty darned good, not as good as this, although sheet pan shortcake does have an advantage of being no fuss and perfect for a crowd!
As for these shortcakes: First of all, there’s the Best Shortcake…I know it looks like a Bisquick thing, and it’s all rough and rustic. Don’t let that fool you…it’s a cream biscuit and if you could imagine the most delicious, tender, rich scone ever, that’s what the shortcake is. It would look more refined perhaps if it were patted out and rolled, but what you’d lose is the drama, the height, and some of the tenderness, not to mention the bumpy nubbly top to catch and hang onto to the luscious whipped cream and the berries and sauce. Oh my.
That whipped cream layer IS luscious and it’s not just plain old whipped cream. Oh no, that’s not going to do for this dessert! If memory serves, the original recipe flavored with the faintest touch of Spiced Rum, which is delish, but I like to put in just a touch of Grand Marnier. I don’t often buy it an when I do, I make it last, but a small sacrifice for this dessert is worth it!
But regardless of how good the whipped cream is, how delectable the scone-like biscuit, it’s the berries and the sauce that steals the show, here. Again, in the berries, just a whisper of a little sumpin’ sumpin, the spiced rum or the Grand Marnier and the faintest scraping of nutmeg intensify the flavor. And just because the juices from the berries aren’t enough on their own, there’s a flirty sauce. I usually make it blueberry, as the recipe calls for. But sometimes I make the same sauce with strawberries. Either way is absolutely delicious.
Making Three Berry Shortcakes:
If you’ve been reading, you’ve gathered that three are four absolutely delectable components to Three Berry Shortcakes and it’s all very doable with a little foresight and planning and each component is easy enough.
- The shortcakes have a gorgeous little crispy crust from a brushing of cream and a sprinkle of sugar before they are baked; it won’t stay so for very long. If serving the next day, they could be made the evening ahead, but I wouldn’t recommend making them much earlier than that. If time allows do the same day. Make sure to allow time to cool.
- Whipping cream just doesn’t hold very long, but it’s probably going to be fine for an hour or two. Knock it out sometime before dinner and refrigerate. It can be easily rewhipped if needed.
- The berries may all be cut early in the day to get them out of the way; take them out of the fridge about an hour or two ahead and add the sugar and alcohol, then just let them sit and soak up all those flavors while dinner is being served. It’s a judgment call as to how long to macerate in that sugar. They’re prettier with less time because they break down and soften but they’re more flavorful if they sit longer.
- The sauce, which is wonderful as is, can easily be made several days ahead. If time is short, try substituting a berry syrup. Hey, we might be heroes when we serve this dessert, but we don’t have to be martyrs!
Although this dish is certainly an extravaganza, part of that is its unabashed display. The berry sauce goes down on the plate first, then the bottom layer of the shortcake. That’s topped with whipped cream, then berries. Then the top of the shortcake perches atop. Usually, you’re done here – but wait, there’s more! Another dollop of whipped cream and then and more berries!!
And why not another drizzle of that syrup, cascading down the mountain. I’ll leave that up to you, and there’s nothing wrong with a sprinkle of powdered sugar! Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t…as you can see by pics from different years!
Saving Money on Three Berry Shortcakes:
It’s gotten to the point where I never buy eggs, butter or cream at the grocery store any longer unless it’s on a deep sale, usually around holidays. Aldi always has a great price on a pint package of cream and Costco has cream by the quart with a pretty good price. In my area, it’s not quite as good as the Aldi price. Butter at either Aldi or the Buyer’s Club is usually about the same as a great grocery store sale price.
In my area, the sales price of strawberries is usually half the regular price, so my use of them revolves around the sales. Again, Aldi has great prices on strawberries. Strawberries will never ripen more once they’re picked. What you see is what you get. Make sure to turn the package upside down and look at the bottom to make sure there are no strawberries crushed or molding. As a matter of fact, when I get home, I store my packages upside-down in the fridge.
The other berries may be more of a challenge to find on sale, especially the raspberries. (Blueberries have become so common they’re often at a good price, especially at the buyer’s clubs like Costco and at Aldi.) You may wish to choose the berries depending on what IS on sale, although it can be unlikely to find a mix of berries all on sale at one time. Be mindful that many softer berries like raspberries or blackberries may only last a day or two once you get them home, depending on how they were treated and stored.
I always check my grocery store ads, especially around holiday weeks, just in case they have some fantastic loss-leader prices- a great sales price will sometimes trump the prices at Aldi, and almost always trump prices at your buyer’s club. Don’t forget to cherry-pick the holiday sales all summer long for items like berries and whipping cream and other baked goods.
Check out my photos above for easy hacks to prepare the strawberries. I love to wash the whole strawberries before I hull them and drop them in a diffuser (even a Mason jar of water) It’s amazing how much flavor they have. Check out my post on Spa Water on a Budget to see the deets & other ideas.Print
Three Berry Shortcakes
These Three Berry Shortcakes are gorgeous – an unabashed display of an extravaganza of a dessert!
- Yield: 6 1x
For the Mixed Berries:
- 3 cups of berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, mix and/or match)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon Spiced Rum or Grand Marnier
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
For the Berry Sauce:
- 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
For the Whipped Cream:
- 1 cup whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar, or taste
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla, Spiced Rum or Grand Marnier, or a little more, to taste
Here is the recipe for the Best Shortcakes. They’ll need to be made ahead long enough to cool, and may be made the night before. They have a slightly sugary topping which will soften if made too far ahead, and like most biscuits are best made the same day.
For the Mixed Berries:
An hour or two before serving, make the mixed berries. (Berries may be washed and cut earlier in the day.) 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.
For the Berry Sauce:
Add all ingredients to saucepan, bring to a boil. Blend in blender or food processor. Strain and chill. May be made ahead 3 to 4 days and kept refrigerated until needed. Note: An easy substitute is a Berry Syrup from the breakfast aisle.
For the Whipped Cream, about 2 cups:
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. May be made ahead an hour or two and kept refrigerated. If the whipped cream has fallen, quickly rewhip before using.
The original recipe suggests 6 servings, which is a bit much. If desired, divide into 8 servings instead. There is enough of the berries, sauce and whipped cream to stretch.
Keywords: Shortcake, Strawberry Shortcake, Berries, Strawberries, Cream, Blackberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Fruit Desserts
I’ll be sharing Three Berry Shortcakes at Fiesta Friday #290 this week. I’m “hosting” this week, along with Angie of Fiesta Friday, so be sure to stop by and check out all the posts from all the bloggers! I’m seeing great things so far!
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