By Lee & Lou Havlicek.
Lee & Lou Cook.
We don’t know if you’ve also noticed, but there are still a lot of berries going around—really, really delicious berries. We’ve made good use of them all summer, making berry pies and maple-berry waffle sauces, berry ice cream sundaes and berry crumbles, and just plain eating them by the palmful, gleefully, right out of the carton (or yellow colander, as the case may be).
But we realized we hadn’t made a single shortcake. Unacceptable. Few things say American summer the way a shortcake does.
While iconic in name, the thing about shortcakes is that they always sound incredible, but they don’t always taste as good. And there’s just no good reason for this. There are a lot of heavy/tasteless/boring shortcakes out there. We’re talking about something that’s basically made of butter, flour, sugar, and for us, buttermilk. Something that you make with whatever especially delicious fruits you can get your hands on at the moment… and that you top off with a generous dollop of (homemade) whipped cream.
This shouldn’t be difficult to make delicious.
Our perfect shortcake criteria are:
* Fluffy inside, golden brown outside
But often, when you eat a shortcake, it seems like someone’s forgotten that while, yes, the shortcake is itself a vehicle for the things you put inside, it still makes up a lot of the dessert as a whole. That means it shouldn’t just be a tasteless canvas. (Literally, we’ve had some that have pretty much tasted like canvas.) It should have some personality, some crunch, some tenderness, and definitely some flavor. Ours is faintly vanilla-flavored, lightly sweet, a little tangy, and has a seriously gorgeous texture. You don’t want to eat a shortcake and justremember the fillings, right? The two should work in concert to create one unforgettable knock-out of a dessert.
There’s definitely more than one way to make a great shortcake, but we wanted to share ours. We love using buttermilk any way we can for the tanginess it lends to recipes and the way it encourages delicate texture in baked goods, so we weren’t going to make a shortcake without it. Since there aren’t many ingredients in shortcakes, the quality of each is really important. This means using really good butter, buttermilk, cream, and real vanilla extract is crucial, as is using the best fruit you can find.
And, it’s true, you could stop here. And you would have a fantastic shortcake.
But if you’re going to make our shortcakes, you’re going to need one of the most perfect foods ever invented: lemon curd. (If you know the Inventor of Lemon Curd, please let us know ASAP. We’d like to send him several thank you notes.) The only thing better than the intensity of exactly ripe summer berries is topping those berries with homemade lemon curd…
For the rest of the post, the recipe, and oh so much more Lee & Lou click here.