Blackberry shortcakes on a misty blue evening

July 7, 2011 § 2 Comments

With the summer scorchers we’ve been having lately, I wanted to make something bright, fresh, light. Today the plan was for blackberry shortcakes and by the time I settled into making them, the skies had clouded.

Does this seem to be happening often on my baking days? Yet I don’t really mind. It’s certainly better than rain falling on my work-outside days. And it makes everything cool down.

But before the rain came, when the clouds were just hovering and the thunder hadn’t yet rumbled, Miss T. and I went to our favorite spot while the berries macerated and the biscuits chilled in the refrigerator. I had to catch that misty blue.

Then home we went to put biscuits in the oven. Baking, they smelled wonderful and warm, and that is always good against the sound of falling rain. I left the door open for the cool air to come through.

And, you know? While strawberry shortcakes are so very much for hot summer days, even mid-days, blackberry shortcakes have a deeper, more mildly sweet flavor that works also for days like today.

Especially with a cup of tea, steeped long enough to get just a bit of a bitter edge. I want that sometimes.

So when all was done we sat outside, watching the water hit the sidewalk, breathing the fresh damp air. Tasting the sweet and bitter, the heavy and light.

Glad for contrasts, for complementing opposites.

RECIPE

I won’t steal copyrighted info! So I can’t give you the exact recipe I used. But I can tell you the recipe for the biscuits is in Earth to Table, under “Shortcakes with Chantilly Cream and Macerated Strawberries.” You can use another biscuit recipe that you have on hand, but you’ll likely want to add sugar – and brush it on top with cream before baking.

For the berries, just mash the berries so you have some that are whole and some that are crushed, then mix in some sugar (1/4 to 1/2 cup), and vanilla if you want. Let sit until you are ready to use. You may want to cover and refrigerate if you plan on waiting awhile before you use them.

For the cream: making Chantilly cream simply involves adding a little vanilla and a little powdered sugar to heavy whipping cream. So, whip the cream first, then add the sugar and vanilla to taste as the cream seems to be near ready (thickened and forming peaks). Fold them in gently and don’t whip for too long!

Common sense, of course, suggests that you’ll want to wait a bit for the biscuits to cool before piling everything together. Otherwise your cream will melt down and you won’t have as pretty a result.

I recommend serving with a cup of black tea . . . on a rainy day!

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