Soooooo, at long last, the test is behind me and the lazy days of summer are in front. Also, hot. The days are very hot. I’ve got lots to post – the completed Power Cooking stuff, an update on relishrelish.com and their menu planning service, as well as other recipes and Table-related goodies…but first, BERRIES.
I do love a good berry shortcake. Or just angel food cake topped with berries and cream. But, like most desserts that depend on just a few choice ingredients, you really want all the individual components to be delectable. (Yes, I’m referring to avoiding those preservative-laden, cup-shaped sponge cakes they always have next to the strawberries in the store!)
So here’s a little twist on the traditional shortcake…brown sugar biscuits. (And since I was serving to a crowd, I made it into a trifle so it would go farther…but you could do it just as easily in individual servings.)
My husband decided that the biscuits were yummy enough to stand on their own, for sure…and I didn’t have to think too hard to imagine them with a standard breakfast of eggs and bacon…a nice, sweet complement.
Mixed Berry Trifle with Brown Sugar Biscuits
First, the biscuits:
Brown Sugar Shortcakes (adapted from Cook’s Country 2006)
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 TB packed light brown sugar
1 TB baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 TB (1 stick) unsalted butter – cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
2 TB unsalted butter – melted (for brushing)
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
2 TB granulated sugar (or more brown sugar)
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper (although I bake my biscuits on stoneware, which I prefer.) Pulse flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until all lumps of sugar are gone. Scatter pieces of chilled butter on top and pulse until mixture resembles course meal (7-10 times.) Transfer to large bowl.
Whisk egg and sour cream together and then stir into flour mixture – I used a large rubber spatula until large clumps form. Knead the dough – lightly – until it comes together and no more dry flecks of flour remain. Using a large ice cream scoop (size #10) scoop 6 dough rounds onto baking sheet. Brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle with granulated sugar (I used more brown sugar here for color and flavor.) Bake until golden brown 25-30 minutes.
I used blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries for the filling. After rinsing the berries, I took about half of them and smashed them a little to release some of the juice. Then I mixed them all back together with a sprinkle of sugar and a few shakes of balsamic vinegar. I let that sit in the refrigerator for several hours.
The topping was cream cheese (softened and whipped) folded into heavy whipping cream that had been whipped. I added a tiny bit of lemon zest in the last few folds.
Then the biscuits got broken up and layered into the trifle bowl, berries, cream, biscuits, berries, cream…you know how a trifle works!
Look how those biscuits just soak those berries right up – but trust me, they are hearty enough to take it without getting soggy.
This would easily feed a dozen or more and was convenient because the components could each be done ahead of time and assembled at the last minute. And how great would these be as individual shortcake servings? You would just need as many biscuits as you have people – and since these biscuits were huge, you could easily use the recipe for six to stretch to 8 or probably even 10. Overall, it was a big hit – and I predict these biscuits will be making a solo appearance again soon.
How could they not? Yum.