Easy-to-make shortcake plays a meal’s best-supporting role.
By Mary Brown Malouf, Photos by Adam Finkle
Whether it’s topped with savory or sweet, shortcake soaks up juices and amplifies flavors.
Easy-as-Pie Shortcake Recipe
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. butter, cut in chunks
2 Tbsp. shortening, chilled
3/4 cup half and half
Place flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse a few seconds until mixed. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture looks like cornmeal. Dump it in a mixing bowl and stir in the cream until a ball forms. Pat dough out 1/2” thick and cut with large biscuit cutter, or drop by large spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet, and then pat into shape. Bake about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Now, scroll down to add some flavor to your shortcake.
Classic Strawberry Shortcake
Slice strawberries and sprinkle with sugar. Let sit several hours. Add a touch of balsamic vinegar to enrich the flavor of early-season berries, spoon between shortbread layers and then on top. Finish with whipped cream.
Sauté roughly chopped red and yellow peppers, sliced zucchini and yellow squash, tomatoes and choice of herbs until vegetables are tender. Serve over shortcake and sprinkle with shredded parmesan or not.
Sauté pineapple chunks in butter with brown sugar until fruit is tender. Add a shot of dark rum if you like, and a dash of vanilla. Serve on shortcake and garnish with toasted coconut.
Cook chopped onions slowly in butter and olive oil until caramelized. Add quartered mushrooms and cook until tender. Deglaze with a little balsamic vinegar and season with crushed rosemary. Serve on shortcake.
- Never overwork the dough. Don’t knead it, pat it. Best to drop it on the baking sheet by spoonfuls, and then coax it gently into shape.
- Wait until shortcake is cool before splitting it. Otherwise, it’s apt to crumble.
- Use two forks to split a shortbread, instead of a knife.
- Let your imagination run wild with toppings—the only requirement is that your topping has enough juice for the shortbread to soak up.
- Serve immediately after topping.
What do you mean, “short?”
Shortcake’s “short” dough is one that’s crumbly or mealy, the opposite of a “long” dough, meaning flaky, like pie crust. Both depend on solid fat—shortening or butter. For a short dough, cut the fat into the flour until it has a cornmeal-like texture. For a long dough, leave the butter lumps as large as peas.