Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Nanny's Berry Shortcake

My grandma came to visit a few days ago for a brief visit full of brisk walks and good food. She was barely out of the driveway before I started preparing my next dessert. I searched various cookbooks for a blackberry recipe to use up a box of juicy berries sitting on the counter. I didn't want anything fussy, like my pastry cream tart, I wanted something simple and homey. I found just what I wanted in my dad's recipe box. It was a recipe from my grandma, called Blueberry Shortbread. Reading her words was as if she was in the kitchen with me, even though she was driving back to Vermont.

Nanny's Blackberry (or Blueberry) Shortcake
When you think shortcake, you think biscuits with raw fruit, but this is more like a cross between a cobbler and a cake. It's warm and sweet, perfect with whipped cream and tea.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
4 T sugar
3/8 c cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 T milk
1 t lemon extract, optional
2 c blackberries (or blueberries or whatever else)
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 400.
Butter an 8 inch pie plate.
Combine flour, baking powder, a pinch of salt, and 2 T sugar in a bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or fingers. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, and the lemon extract, if using it.
Pour the egg mixture into the dry ingredients and mix.
Spread half of the dough into the prepared pan.
Sprinkle blackberries over the dough. Dot the remaining dough over the berries, then sprinkle with the remaining 2 T of sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes.
Serve warm with whipped cream.

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