Shortcakes! They are (from what I understand) kind of a big deal in the States. People argue about what makes a real shortcake, and is it a cake, or is it a biscuit (which Aussies would call scones), or is it somewhere in between.
I, as an Australian gal living on the opposite side of this beautiful planet, choose not to enter the debate. Because at the end of the day, and I think I’ve well and truly proven this by now, I just care about what tastes good. Give me all the good tasting things, and save your arguments, world!
These biscuits, scones, shortcakes, WHATEVER you want to call ’em? They taste great. They’re buttery, crumbly, flaky, sweet, and completely irresistible when warm.
On top of them, a billowing cloud of whipped yoghurt rests, just waiting to mix and mingle with a puddle of soused, macerated berries.
As far as I’m concerned, where there are strawberries, there should be rosewater. Not too much! Never too much. An overabundance of rosewater is the surest way to ruin a dessert, nobody wants to feel like they’re eating deodorant.
But a hint, a whisper, just brings out the sweet, floral notes of the berries, and leaves the tiniest whiff of faraway lands. Isn’t food magical when it does that?
Now, some of you smart people might have detected that this is a pretty summery recipe, which is odd, since it’s winter where I live. What’s cool about Queensland is that since our winters are so ridiculously sunny and mild, strawberries are actually in season here – and they’re really good too.
Pomegranates are a winter crop, so they’re around, and frankly, it’s never cold enough here to make a fruity, light dessert seem anything but desirable.
I’ve got a few of these babies left and may I say, they make a pretty incredible breakfast if you split one and pop it in the toaster for a few minutes. The edges get all crispy and brown, perfect with a slick of butter and a shmear of marmalade.
So that’s about the size of my weekend! What are you up to? May I suggest a shortcake?
- 2 cups (300g) plain four
- ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- pinch of salt
- 1 stick (115g) butter, cold
- ½ cup (125ml) buttermilk
- ½ cup (125ml) heavy cream
- 1 egg
- demerara sugar
- For the yoghurt:
- ½ cup (125ml) thick greek yoghurt
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
- sugar, to taste
- 1 punnet (250g) strawberries
- 1 punnet (125g) blueberries
- 1 pomegranate
- ½ tsp rosewater
- sugar, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 180C, and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
- Place the dry ingredients for the shortcakes in a bowl, and stir to combine. Cut the cold butter into cubes, and rub into the dry ingredients with your fingers, until it looks mostly like breadcrumbs, with a few large flakes and chunks of butter still visible.
- Add the buttermilk and cream all at once, and stir together with a butter knife until the mixture looks shaggy. Dump it out onto your bench, and knead and press it together with your hands, just until it forms a rough disk, about 1¼ inches (3cm) thick. Don't overwork it - it shouldn't be perfectly smooth, JUST holding together.
- Using a 3 inch (7cm) cutter, stamp out as many biscuits as you can, gently pressing the scraps back together as you go. You should get 6 biscuits. Place them on the baking sheet.
- Beat the egg with a little water and brush the tops of the biscuits, then sprinkle over a little demerara sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until golden brown on the top and cooked through. Set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
- To make the whipped yoghurt, place the yoghurt and cream into a bowl, along with a little sugar (I use 1 tbsp - add more if you want it), and whip just until soft peaks form.
- For the berries, wash and hull the strawberries and slice in half. Place in a bowl with the blueberries. Cut the pomegranate in half, and bash out the seeds with a wooden spoon, straight into the bowl.
- Add the rosewater, along with a little sugar (I used just 1 tsp, my berries were sweet) and toss to combine.
- To serve, split a shortcake in half (if they're still just-warm, that's perfect), pile on whipped yoghurt, and soused berries, top with the other shortcake half, and eat!