Not just for strawberries, this blueberry version takes the cake!
Strawberry shortcake is an American classic, whether it is made with biscuits or as a layer cake. If you are Team Biscuit and a blueberry lover, you'll be head-over-heels for this recipe. A tender and tasty pillow of a biscuit adapted from Sally's Baking Addiciton's master scone recipe is packed with frozen wild blueberries and lots of fresh lemon zest. The key to these beautiful biscuits is the technique of grating frozen butter to form the dough, which helps to perfect the texture of the finished product. Topped with turbinado sugar and baked to a golden hue, the biscuits are then sliced in half, layered with Chantilly cream and fresh blueberries. Who says only strawberries get the glory?
Equipment: cutting board; chef's and paring knives; large mixing bowls; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; box grater; fork or pastry cutter (optional); standing or hand mixer, or whisk; rubber spatula; rimmed sheet pan; parchment paper; 2½-inch biscuit cutter (optional); pastry brush; offset spatula; cooling rack
2 pints blueberries, hulled
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
juice of half a lemon fresh mint leaves for garnish
Chantilly Cream Ingredients 4 cups cold heavy cream (one quart)
2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen
½ cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream, divided
1 large egg
zest of one lemon
1½ cups frozen wild blueberries
3-4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
1. First prepare the blueberries. Combine the blueberries and sugar well to combine, and add the lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until it is time to assemble the shortcakes.
ILOC tip: first zest the lemon before juicing it, even though you need the zest procedurally after you need the juice. It's all about technique, not torture!
2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and set aside. In a small bowl gently whisk the heavy cream, egg, and lemon zest and set aside.
4. Grate the frozen butter using the large teeth of a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, fork, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs (but work quickly if the latter so that you do not warm the butter with your fingers). Stir in the heavy cream mixture with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Stir in the frozen blueberries.
"Wild frozen blueberries are small in size but intense in flavor, far superior to fresh berries for baking, bursting with flavor and color."
5. Place the dough onto a clean work surface and form the dough into a rectangle if cutting the biscuits with a knife, or into a circle if using a round biscuit cutter, ½-inch thick. It will be crumbly at first but as you form the shape it will form a more cohesive dough. Cut the biscuits using a knife or biscuit cutter, making clean, decisive cuts (do not twist the biscuit cutter, for example, to make the cut so that the biscuits rise well). Place each biscuit on the lined sheet pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the sheet pan from the refrigerator and brush the biscuits with the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Sprinkle the biscuits with the turbinado sugar. Bake the biscuits for approximately 20 minutes, or until risen with golden brown tops.
"If you want to hit the blueberry biscuits with a little extra sweetness and citrus flavor, combine the juice of the remaining lemon half with 1 cup of confectioner's sugar to form a glaze. Drizzle over the biscuits once cool."
7. Prepare the Chantilly cream while the biscuits bake: in the bowl of a standing mixer or in a large bowl (if using a hand mixer or whisk), whip the cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Then beat for a minute longer until stiffer peaks form. Refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the shortcakes.
8. Remove from the biscuits from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes before placing on a cooling rack to cool thoroughly before shortcake assembly.
9. To assemble the shortcakes, slice each biscuit crosswise right before service. Place a spoonful of the macerated blueberries on the bottom biscuit half. Top with a generous dollop of Chantilly cream. Add another spoonful of blueberries and top with the biscuit top. Add a generous dollop of cream, a few blueberries, and a sprig of mint. Repeat with all the biscuits and serve immediately.
ILOC tip: if you want a patriotic presentation, consider making the blueberry biscuits but adding macerated strawberries atop the Chantilly cream for a red-white-and-blue showstopper!