Glad you've all been enjoying the rose-apron peanut galley pictures! The demo was extremely fun to do, even out there in the heat, baking biscuits on the sidewalk and having to yell across the plaza, where what audience I had was ensconced 15 feet away, under the sole cluster of shady trees. But I think I convinced the 7-year-olds that if I could make jam and biscuits in a tent, they could make them for their moms and dads in the kitchen. So here's the recipe, and you can do it too. It's a three-step process: biscuits, jam, whipped cream, and then lots of extra berries.
Make it a Fourth of July shortcake by adding raspberries or sliced strawberries to the fresh fruit on top. Serve in shallow bowls so you don't have to chase your berries all over the plate.
Blueberry Shortcake with Quick Blueberry Spread and Honey Cream
Light, fluffy biscuits get layered with a fresh blueberry filling, drenched with honey-sweetened whipped cream, and topped with more fresh berries.
Cornmeal adds a pleasant crunch to these delicate, cake-like biscuits. The same recipe also makes tasty hot biscuits for breakfast, especially when slathered with butter and drizzled with honey or sorghum.
2 cups all-purpose white flour, preferably unbleached
1/2 cup yellow or white cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
8 TB (1 stick or 1/2 cup) butter or shortening, chilled
1/2 cup milk plus 1 TB (you may need slightly more or less)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a round cake pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter or shortening into small chunks and scatter over the dry ingredients. Using your fingertips, a pastry blender, or two butter knives, cut butter or shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal with a few larger pea-sized bits. (This can also be done in a trice in a food processor. Once you get used to the fingertip method, though, it's really fast, and there's no bulky appliance to clean!)
Measure the milk in a glass measuring cup, then break in the egg and beat together. Drizzle over flour mixture and mix gently into a soft dough.
Turn out onto a floured countertop or cutting board. Pat into an even 1-inch-thick round. Using a floured biscuit cutter or the rim of a small drinking glass, cut out 6 biscuits (number may vary depending on the size of your cutter). Fit biscuits into cake pan, sides touching.
Bake 15-20 minutes until tops are pale gold. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on a rack.
Makes 6 biscuits.
Quick Blueberry Filling
This easy blueberry spread tastes just like a slice of blueberry pie fresh from the oven. If you have extra, scoop into a clean jar and store in the fridge to use like jam. (Because of the tapioca in the filling, this shouldn't be canned for storage; it's best if eaten with a week or so.)
2 TB water
1 TB tapioca (the tiny-pearl kind, such as Minute brand in the little red box)
juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups blueberries
In a small, heavy-bottomed pot, mix water, tapioca, lemon juice, sugar, and berries together. Over medium-low heat, bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring frequently, until berries have collapsed and mixture is deep purple and jammy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Let cool (it will thicken as it cools) and refrigerate until needed. If you want, stir in a little cassis or Chambord liqueur before using.
Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Each type of flower produces a different flavor of honey; try an assortment of raw local honeys to find your favorite.
1/2 pint heavy (whipping) cream
1 TB honey, or to taste
1/2 tsp vanilla extract, a few drops of orange extract or a little bit of grated orange rind
Whip cream with a whisk or hand-held electric mixer until beater begins to leave traces on the surface of the cream. Add honey and vanilla. Continue beating until cream is thick enough to mound up on a spoon.
2-3 cups fresh blueberries
Using a small sharp knife, split biscuit. Put bottom half on biscuit on a plate. Spread with a generous spoonful of blueberry preserves. Top with some fresh berries and a spoonful of cream. Top with top half of biscuit, more cream and fresh berries. Repeat with remaining biscuits.