From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This is another of the desserts we'll be taking with us for this weekend's barbecue. Logistics demand I bake and freeze the shortcakes well before they are needed on the table. Because I like short pastry with a bit of a bite, I'll rewarm them so they can crisp up before serving. The cornmeal adds substance to the shortcakes and their rustic appearance makes them a perfect way to end a meat-heavy barbecue. I use mixed berries at this time of year to maximize flavor. Blackberries and raspberries are especially good right now, so while they'll represent the bulk of the berries I use to fill the shortcakes, I always throw in a few strawberries to please traditionalists who can't imagine shortcake without them. I'm a whipped cream kind of gal, but those who don't share my "in for a penny, in for a pound" attitude should feel free to use whipped topping if that is your preference. Here is how the cornmeal shortcakes are made.
Mixed Berry Cornmeal Shortcakes...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
1 quart mixed berries
1 tablespoon kirsch
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil (or lightly grease a baking sheet). Set aside. Sweeten berries to taste with superfine sugar and allow to macerate in kirsch.
2) Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cream, stirring with a fork just until moistened. (If necessary, stir in additional cream, 1 tablespoon at a time, to moisten.)
3) Pat dough until it is uniformly one-half inch thick or just slightly thicker. Cut into six four-inch rounds. You can re-form scraps and cut those. Place dough rounds on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with the 2 tablespoons melted butter. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden. Brush with any remaining melted butter. Cool shortcakes on a wire rack.
4) Whip cream with one tablespoon of confectioners' sugar.
5) To serve, split each shortcake in half horizontally with a sharp knife. Spread bottom halves with some whipped cream, top with berries, then spread undersides of top halves with remainder of cream, and cover berries with tops of cakes. Dust tops with sifted confectioners' sugar before serving. Yield: 6 servings.
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