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.
yield: Eight 2-1/2-inch shortcakes
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.
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.