Cook on a Whim: Blueberry & Cherry Rosé Shortcakes

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Blueberry and cherry rosé shortcakes. Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim. cookonawhim.com

These are strawberry shortcake’s grown-up, sophisticated, oh-so-elegant cousin. Everyone has had strawberry shortcake; it’s a classic that we all love. But I wanted to mix things up using blueberries and cherries and make something worthy of a spring/almost-summertime backyard soirée.

Just because we are all stuck at home doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the time to enjoy a few simple pleasures and treat ourselves to a little elegance.

Adding rosé wine to the fruit gives a hint of acidity and amplifies its fruity sweetness. You won’t get a wine taste, just a slightly floral, extra fruity undertone. Then, by adding a touch of sour cream (or feel free to use crème fraiche), the whipped cream is given a welcome tanginess to offset the sweet fruit.

Save some fresh fruit for garnish, scatter some wild flowers all over the table and you have the perfect, most beautiful seasonal sweet treat.

These would also be a wonderful Mother’s Day dessert.

Blueberry & Cherry Rosé Shortcakes

Ingredients

For shortcakes:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 to 1/2 cup whole milk (you probably won’t need all of it — save the leftovers for brushing the shortcakes)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 stick butter (8 tablespoons), diced and very cold

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

For blueberry sauce:

2 cups fresh blueberries (plus a few for garnish)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ cup rosé wine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

For cherry sauce:

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted (plus a few for garnish)

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

¼ cup rosé wine

1 tablespoon cornstarch

For whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

¼ cup full-fat sour cream or crème fraiche

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Photo by Anita Parris Soule. Courtesy Cook on a Whim.

Instructions

Combine milk and vanilla in a glass measuring cup or bowl. Set aside. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl. Whisk or stir to combine. Add diced butter and — with your fingers, a fork or a pastry cutter — cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients until you have a crumbly mixture with very small pieces of butter throughout.

Slowly pour in the milk-and-vanilla mixture as you toss the dry mixture with a fork. You may not need the full ½ cup of milk. Reserve a tiny bit of the milk-and-vanilla mixture to brush on the top of the shortcakes. You are looking for a mostly damp mixture with just a little bit of dry flour in the bottom of your bowl. You do not want a very wet dough.

Next, dump the dough onto a very lightly floured surface and squeeze together, incorporating any dry bits. Press into a roughly 8-by-8-inch square — it doesn’t have to be perfect.

Now, my trick for super-flaky biscuits and scones. Take a sharp knife or a bench scraper and cut the dough in half. Stack one half on top of the other, cut this in half, then stack again. You will have a layer of 4 squarish dough pieces. Squash this down again into an 8-by-8-inch square, keeping the edges as even as possible.

With the same knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into thirds each way, so you end up with 9 evenly sized shortcakes. You can use a biscuit cutter, but I prefer slicing so that I don’t have any wasted dough. Plus, they end up looking so natural and rustic.

Place shortcakes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with leftover milk-and-vanilla mixture, sprinkle with sugar and place in freezer for 30 minutes while you clean up, prepare sauces and whip the cream. The freezing step ensures a good rise; it’s a trick I learned from a few of my very wise biscuit- and scone-making friends.

To make the sauces, place all ingredients for the cherry mixture in one saucepan and all ingredients for the blueberry mixture in another. Stir each to combine and cook on medium heat until the fruit releases some liquid and each sauce thickens just a bit. This takes about 5 minutes. Note: You can make them separately, as I have done, or toss all the ingredients for both sauces in a big saucepan and cook as instructed above.

Allow the sauces to cool to room temperature.

To make the whipped cream, combine cream, sour cream, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl. Either with a whisk or a hand mixer, whisk until you have soft peaks. Don’t overmix — you want it soft and billowy. Stash this in the refrigerator until you’re ready to assemble.

After shortcakes have been in freezer for 30 minutes, bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown and cooked throughout. I find that once they are nice and golden on top, they are done, but don’t be afraid to peek inside one to be extra sure. No one will know, I promise.

Remove shortcakes from oven and let cool to room temp before assembling.

To assemble, split shortcakes in half (I use a fork for this to get some nice nooks and crannies). Add to the bottom half of each shortcake a generous spoonful of whipped cream, a few spoons of each fruit sauce and another spoonful of cream, then top with the other half. Garnish with fresh blueberries and cherries if desired.

This makes a great do-it-yourself dessert, too. Just set all ingredients out and let guests or family members build their own shortcakes.

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