2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/3 cup (65 grams) granulated white sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (76 grams) cold unsalted butter
2/3 - 3/4 cup (160 - 180 ml) milk or cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons cream
1 1/2 pounds (680 grams) fresh berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and/or strawberries, cut into bite-size pieces)
2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) granulated white sugar, or to taste
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon (14 grams) granulated white
Berry Shortcake: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray with a non-stick vegetable spray, an 8-inch (20 cm) round cake pan.
In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives (the mixture should look like coarse crumbs). Add the milk and vanilla extract and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to the prepared cake pan and gently pat until it is even. Brush the top of the dough with a little cream.
Bake for about 18 - 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the scone comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Filling: In a large bowl, gently stir together the berries and sugar. (The amount of sugar used will depend on how sweet the berries are.) Although not absolutely necessary, try to set the berries aside to macerate (soak) at room temperature for about 30 to 60 minutes.
Whipped cream: In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. Cover and chill the bowl and beaters in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. The whipped cream will hold for several hours in the refrigerator.
To serve: Cut the scone in half horizontally and place the bottom half of the scone (soft side up) on a large dessert plate. Top with the cream and the berries. Place the top half of the scone on top of the berries. Dust the top of the scone with confectioners sugar (powdered or icing sugar) and can garnish with a few berries. Serve immediately. If there are any leftovers, cover and store in the refrigerator.
Serves about 6 - 8 people.
Berry Shortcake is similar to Strawberry Shortcake, only raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries are used along with the strawberries. There are three parts to this Berry Shortcake; a scone (or biscuit), lightly sweetened berries, and softly whipped cream. Although each component can be made beforehand, it is best to assemble this dessert just before serving.
The first thing we need to do is to make the scone. For this recipe we are making one large cream scone that is baked in a cake pan. When making this scone be sure to have the butter cold, to add the liquid to the dry ingredients all at once, and then to mix everything together quickly and lightly. Following these simple instructions will result in a buttery scone with a tender and flaky crumb that absorbs all the sweet juices released by the berries.
Next, the berries, which need to be in season for maximum flavor. Look for strawberries that are bright red, plump, and firm, with no white or green "shoulders" at the stem end. The green leaf-like cap or hull should still be attached and it should not be brown or wilted. Raspberries should be a deep red color, and plump and juicy without their cores attached. If the cores are still attached the raspberries were picked too early and will be sour. Blackberries should be black, firm, plump, without their stems attached. If the stems are still attached the blackberries will be sour. Blueberries should be firm, plump, fragrant, and dark blue with a dusty white bloom. The white bloom is the blueberry's natural protection against the sun and is a sign of freshness. No matter what the berry, there should be no soft spots, bruising or mildew. Always check the underside of the containers to make sure there are no squashed berries or juice (sign of overripe berries). If not using immediately store in a single layer on a paper towel-lined tray in the refrigerator for a couple of days. About an hour before assembling the shortcake; lightly wash the berries, removing the stems from the strawberries. Then cut or slice the strawberries into bite size pieces. Place in a large bowl, add the remaining berries and stir in the sugar. Set aside to macerate at room temperature for about 30 to 60 minutes as this will soften the berries and allow their juices to be released.
And finally, the Cream. Cream is the fat that rises to the top of whole milk. It has a smooth, satiny texture and is labeled according to its butterfat content (heavy to light). The best cream to use for this Berry Shortcake is Heavy Cream or Heavy "Whipping" Cream which means it has a 36 - 40% butterfat that will double in volume when whipped and hold its form. Because of its superior flavor, I recommend using an organic brand of heavy whipping cream. The recipe given here will let you make the whipped cream several hours in advance of serving.