some don’t like it hot – pistachio shortcakes w ginger-cherry compote

by hungryrabbit on July 20, 2012

Pistachio Shortcakes w Ginger-Cherry Compote

Clop plop clop plop–that’s the sound of summer in the city, flip flops slapping the sidewalks.

As if the hustle of New York City weren’t enough, there’s this summer’s relentless humidity that makes it feel that you don’t walk down steamy streets as much as wade through the block. Unless I’m at the beach, staying inside my nicely air-conditioned apartment is the way to go. Secretly, I pray for summer to end so I can once again feel the Fall breeze and inhale the refreshing cool air–instead of the super-heated aromas emanating from the city sewers.

I had an epiphany when Abby announced July’s #baketogether: shortcakes. I know it’s counterintuitive to turn on the oven in hot weather, but this summer calls for a soul-soothing dessert. Shortcakes with seasonal fruit are worth heating up kitchen—besides, I’d only need 15 minutes of bake time.

With lots of cherries, a sizzle from ginger, and a splash of booze to heighten the flavor, this compote gives a slight nod to the things to come in the Fall. These shortcakes are best served warm to bring out the gingery essence. The combination of shortcake, compote and a dollop of silky whipped cream definitely chase away the sticky airlessness of summer.

Cherry-Ginger Shortcakes

yield: Eight 2-1/2-inch shortcakes

Pistachio Biscuits

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated


2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup buttermilk, cold
1 large egg, room temperature
3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter , melted and cooled slightly

1 tablespoon demerara sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon


1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, pistachios, baking powder, sugar, salt, ground ginger and cinnamon in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, egg and fresh ginger in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.

2. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with rubber spatula until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Fill greased 1/3-cup dry measure with dough, level off with spatula and drop onto parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1-1/2 inches apart. In a small bowl, combine demerara sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle evenly over top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool 15 minutes before assembling.

Ginger-Cherry Compote


2 pound sweet cherries, washed and pitted
1/2 cup crystalized ginger, chopped
1 cup water
1/2 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 cup (5-1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons triple-sec


1. In a medium saucepan, combine the cherries, ginger, water, lime juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and triple-sec, add to the cherry mixture and stir to combine; return to a boil, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stir occasionally, until thickened, about 3 minutes.

Whipped Sour Cream


1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon triple-sec (optional)


1. Using hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed to soft peaks, about 1 minute. Add sour cream and triple-sec (if use), increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume, 30 to 45 seconds longer.


1. Split each biscuit in half and place bottoms on individual serving plates. Spoon portion of cherry compote over each bottom, top with whipped cream, cap with biscuit top. Serve immediately with remaining whipped cream.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Meeta July 20, 2012 at 8:04 am

Ooh this is truly a divine way to start off the day. We’re still waiting for summer to come around here – so no cries for Fall on this side! It’s been a rather wet summer for us and I cannot wait to really get into those flip flops!!

Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction July 20, 2012 at 8:30 am

These shortcakes sound fabulous… Love the pistachio biscuits! I’m not a big fan of summer, and I, too, am patiently waiting for the cool fall air to return.

Brian @ A Thought For Food July 20, 2012 at 8:47 am

Oh gosh… I had the worst shortcakes last night. Something about them was so weird… oddly bitter. Anyway, the fact is that I can just tell that these would be 100x times better than those shortcakes. Plus, I’m a little pistachio obsessed, so I’m all for these babies!

Barbara | Creative Culinary July 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

These are so unique and sound divine Ken; the inclusion of pistachios just takes them over the top. Speak of the devil (and baking) I should go get mine done right now. We’ve had the hottest summer on record and my normal environment without air conditioning has been strained to the maximum; scheduling baking early is the ONLY way the oven gets turned on!

Just gorgeous!

Wendy Read July 20, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I haven’t done mine yet, hopefully Sunday :) I love the addition of the pistachios too and cherries are so perfect as they are at the height of season right now. I have some Cherry Pinot Grigio Jam that might be pefect to pair with this, you have given me an idea Ken! Gorgeous photos too.

Katie July 20, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I’ve never thought about spicing the biscuit itself up when making shortcakes. I’ve always just considered changing the topping. What a missed opportunity! I will definitely be making those pistachio shortcakes.

Nancie McDermott July 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Marvelous idea, beautifully shared. I love coming here. So agree with you about the oven; turning it on for a little baking session or two is worth it. Thinking about trying this with peaches, maybe cooking for a shorter time…

Gina July 25, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I never did or ate pistachio cookies. I think it should be even more delicious with gingercherry compote. Your photos are amazing

Winnie July 26, 2012 at 7:23 am

These are really beautiful Ken! Can’t wait too see you this weekend, my friend!

abby dodge August 1, 2012 at 10:48 am

I don’t know which I love more.. the boozy, ginger-cherry compote or the spiced & pistachio-studded biscuits. Gorg

MikeVFMK August 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm

What kind of friend have I been. Life has been busy but should have dropped in more. This is a special dessert, Ken. Really stunning photos. Lovely. And something I would be happy to have in a restaurant.

Russell van Kraayenburg August 9, 2012 at 10:54 am

Yumm. I am loving everything about this, especially those pistachio biscuits. Ok and the compote.

Jeanne @ CookSister! August 28, 2012 at 7:51 am

beautiful – like English scones with jam and cream! That compote sounds fabulous and the colour is so vibrant…

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