Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Sambuca Berry Shortcakes

Can you believe the Fourth of July is already upon us?  I know I sure can't.  How has school already been our for a month?  Whoa.

Despite the super hot temps, which I do not love, July is actually one of my favorite months.  To start, July 4th is my favorite holiday.  Add in the fact that I get to spend the first week of the month with my college girlfriends in my most favorite place on the planet without having to worry about work piling up on me, and July is a clear frontrunner for best month of the year.  And that's before we even talk about food.  Glorious summer produce like berries.  Can anyone ever get enough?  I know I can't.

To highlight summer's perfect berries, I love to use them in dishes that let their flavors shine.  This Sambuca berry shortcake recipe is a simple twist on the classic strawberry shortcake we all know and love.  I used a mix of strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries because they looked the best, I thought they'd be a great base for Sambuca's anise flavor, and I wanted the finished product to be decidedly patriotic.  If those berries aren't your favorite, choose what you'd like.  I think peaches and raspberries would also be great for times when you're not trying to stick to a certain color scheme.

If you're a black licorice lover like my mom and I, I guarantee you'll love this dessert.  The Sambuca adds just a touch of herbal sweetness while still letting the berries hold their own in the flavor department.  If you don't like black licorice, Cointreau would be great.  If prefer not to use alcohol, just omit it from the fruit and use vanilla or almond extract as a substitute in the biscuits.  No matter what you choose, I know these shortcakes will be a clear winner for you, much like July is for me.

Sambuca Berry Shortcakes
shortcakes adapted from King Arthur Flour

For the fruit:
1 1/2 c. chopped strawberries
1 c. blueberries
3/4 c. blackberries
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 TBSP Sambuca liqueur

For the shortcakes:
2 c. self-rising flour, plus more for sprinkling
2 TBSP granulated sugar
2 TBSP Sambuca liqueur
1 c. heavy cream
2 TBSP melted butter, for brushing on top
coarse sugar, for sprinkling on top

For whipped cream:
1 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
up to 1/2 c. powdered sugar

1.  To prepare berries, lightly stir all ingredients together to combine.  Cover and refrigerate at least two hours before serving.

2.  For the biscuits, move rack tot the top third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.

3.  In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar.  In a separate medium bowl, whisk Sambuca into the cream.

4.  Make a well in the flour mixture and, stirring continually, pour cream mixture into the middle until dough comes together.  If necessary, stir in additional cream, 1 tsp. at a time, until all the flour is moistened.

5.  Turn the dough out onto a well-floured work surface.  Sprinkle more flour on top and knead dough several times until consistent in texture.  Pat the dough into a circle about 7 inches in diameter and 1/2 inch thick.  

6.  Using a standard 2 1/4 in. biscuit cutter or drinking glass dipped in flour, cut out rounds (you'll get 8-10, depending on size of cutter) and place them on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.  Brush tops of biscuits with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar, if desired.

7.  Bake biscuits 12-16 minutes until golden brown, then remove from the oven and cool on the pan five minutes.  After five minutes, move biscuits to a cooling rack until brought down to room temperature.  (Once cool, biscuits can be individually wrapped and frozen up to two months.)

8.  Just before serving, whip cream and vanilla together in a large glass bowl.  Add confectioners' sugar, a small amount at a time, until desired sweetness and consistency are reached.

9.  Assemble shortcakes, split biscuits, spoon desired amounts of fruit and whipped cream on top, then place biscuit top on whipped cream.


Mr. & Mrs. P said...

What a lovely summer dessert.. Love all the berries