When the summer months come, I find it almost impossibly hard to resist buying fresh blueberries by the double basketful. Thank goodness they’re such good brain food! (These days my brain needs all the help it can get.) My twelve year old nephew is in town which is perfect excuse to make shortcake of any variety. Unlike with strawberries, where all you have to do is cut them and sprinkle them with sugar, to get the blueberries juicy enough for shortcake it works well to cook them, just a little, with sugar. This way more juices are released. This recipe makes a lot of blueberry topping. If you find you have leftover, it’s great over ice cream, or better yet, pancakes.
- 5 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 pinch cinnamon
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- Pinch cinnamon
- Pinch ground nutmeg
- 2 Tbsp white granulated sugar
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 7/8 cup (1 cup minus 2 Tbsp) heavy whipping cream
- 1 large egg*
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Heavy cream for whipping
*The egg is optional. Including the egg will result in a less crumbly shortcake biscuit, but either way, with or without egg, is good.
1 Place blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and cinnamon into a medium saucepan. Heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture is just barely coming to a simmer. Use a potato masher to mash up the berries a bit, to release the juices. Remove from heat and let come to room temp.
2 Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large bowl stir together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the small cubes of butter, and use your fingers to rub the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse meal, with pea-sized pieces of butter still intact.
3 In a small bowl mix the egg, whipping cream, and vanilla extract. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it. Stir with a fork just until the dough barely comes together. Do not over mix or your biscuits will be tough.
4 Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a large pancake shape, about 3/4 to 1-inch thick. Using a pastry round (or the lightly floured ridges of drinking glasses) cut into biscuit forms and place 1 1/2-inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat. You can also cut the biscuits into squares if that's easier. The the dough is too soft to work with, put it in the refrigerator to chill for about 15 minutes first.
5 Put the biscuits in the oven for 12-15 minutes, or until they have risen and are lightly browned. Remove from the oven and let cool on a baking rack.
Serve the berries spooned over biscuits that have been broken open, and top with whipped cream.