Who loves fresh peaches on hot summer days? Who loves strawberry shortcake? How about if we blend the two – here is my take on Pretty as Peach Shortcake, THE dessert of the summer!
Welcome to another edition of Progressive Eats, our virtual version of a progressive dinner party where each course is held at a different home. With Progressive Eats, a theme is chosen each month, members share recipes suitable for a delicious meal or party, and you can hop from blog to blog to check them out. This month we’re featuring Summer Bounty hosted by Laura Kumin of Mother Would Know. We are featuring fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits associated with summer in a menu we know you will love!
When I heard the theme for this month’s #ProgressiveEats, I immediately thought of something savory because there are so many beautiful vegetables at the market right now. But that is what I normally do so I thought it would be fun to create and share a new sweet treat. And there is nothing I love more that the stone fruits of summer!
You could make this shortcake with any of the stone fruits – nectarines, apricots, plums, pluots, cherries, etc. Or any combination. And if you are looking for a fun dessert for the 4th of July next week (can you believe it ???) why not use blueberries and raspberries for a delightful red, white, and blue dessert! Or heck, keep the peaches and just add blueberries and raspberries on top. Anything goes with this dessert!
These shortcakes are probably not what you grew up with. These are not the cakey circles you find at the super market. They are a cross between a scone and a cream biscuit, two of my favorites. You’ll notice that mine are really dark. I love a crunchy texture as a counterpoint to the soft fruit and luscious cream. This time I got them thinner and darker than I was shooting for, but boy oh boy were they good! They held their crunch the entire time, even with extra juice from the fruit poured over the top!
For the whipped cream, please make your own from scratch. One taste you won’t go back no matter how convenient pre-made is. By using your mixer you completely control the ingredients, quality, and flavors of your whipped cream. It is so satisfying, you will wind up using less, saving you calories!
To add interest to the overall appearance, I used a combination of white and yellow peaches, cubing cubed some and cut slices of the other. You don’t need to worry about this, but it does make a pretty picture doesn’t it. 😉
This group of incredibly talented bloggers has come up with nine more spectacular recipes utilizing the bounty of the farmers’ markets. Be sure you check out all the recipes below – you won’t want to miss any of them!
And keep an eye out for our Progressive Eats next month too – I am hosting and we will be featuring foods prepared on the grill. Summer eating at its finest! Mark your calendars, it’s going to be epic!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
One of my secret weapons in the kitchen is vanilla sugar. That is sugar that has ground up vanilla beans and pods in it. It is a delightful way to add layers of flavor throughout your baked goods. In this recipe I used in both the peaches and the shortcakes.
When I tell you to pat the dough into a square, listen to what I say, don’t do what I did. This batch was more challenging because it was over 100-degrees where I was baking. The dough got very soft and difficult to work with. It wound up spreading much thinner than normal and was very sticky. If this happens to you, put the dough onto the floured baking sheet, and chill before cutting and moving the dough around.
Use a gluten-free flour blend for best results, but you could also use a single GF flour such as rice, sorghum, or millet. You could also use almond flour for 1/2 of the total flour. It would add beautiful texture and flavor.
Kitchen Skill: How to Peel a Peach
Depending on how ripe your peaches are, there are few different easy ways to peel them. If they are not ripe yet, cut an “X” on the bottom of each peach. Place in boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. Use a slotted spoon to scoop peaches into a bowl of ice water. When cool enough to handle, use a paring knife to peel off the skin in sections.
With ripe peaches you can use the same technique but you can probably just pinch the skin and pull it away from the flesh. If you want to avoid the boiling water and the peaches are very ripe, cut lines in the skin, moving from the top to the bottom, dividing the skin into quarters. Pull each section away from the flesh and trim off any skin that won’t release easily.
- 6 ripe peaches
- 2 to 4 tbsp granulated sugar or vanilla sugar (LINK)
- 1 tbsp rum, optional
- 1-1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 12 tbsp (1-1/2 sticks) cold butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1/4 cup melted butter, for brushing on the tops of the shortcakes
- Coarse sugar, such as turbinado or raw sugar crystals
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar, or to taste
- Pinch kosher or fine sea salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or pure extract
- Fresh mint sprigs
- For the Peaches: Peel the peaches and cut away from the pit. Cut 4 peaches into medium cubes and the remaining 2 peaches into slices. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the sugar. Add the rum if using. Toss until evenly coated, cover, and place in the refrigerator to macerate.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
- For the Shortcakes: Place the dry ingredients in the bowl of your food processor. Pulse a few times to blend. Add half the butter and pulse to cut it into the dry ingredients. It will look crumbly. Add remaining butter and pulse 3 to 6 times. You want to see some fairly big pieces in the mixture.
- In your standing mixer or a deep mixing bowl (if using a hand mixer), using the whisk attachment if available, whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the egg and lemon zest and beat until evenly mixed and no streaks remain and the cream is thicker again, about 1 minute. Scoop the cream into the mixture in the food processor and process just until the dough comes together and starts to form a ball or clings to the sides of the bowl.
- Transfer to a floured board (use lots of flour if you're making these with gluten-free flour) and gently press together, then pat into a 16-inch square. (See Note) Cut into 6 (4-inch) squares. You can also use a round biscuit cutter if you want round shortcakes. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet leaving plenty of room between them to allow for spreading.
- Brush each with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake for about 20 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack to cool.
- For the Topping: Whip the cream until slightly thickened. Add the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Continue whipping until medium peaks form. When you remove the beater, the cream should lift into a peak and the top will bend over. If the cream is too soft, beat a little longer and test again. Keep cool if made ahead.
- To Serve: Split the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place bottom halves on serving plates. Cover with some of the chopped peaches and their juice. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, add a few sliced peaches, then set the top of the biscuit at an angle. Add a sprig of mint and serve.
- Yield: about 6 servings
- Note: If the dough is very soft, chill for a few minutes before transferring it to a floured surface, patting it into a square, and cutting. Once firmed up they will be easier to transfer to the baking sheet.
This recipe is part of our monthly progressive dinner party, Progressive Eats. See the links below for more inspiration and great recipes!
Dill Caprese Bruschetta from Jenni Field’s Pastry Chef Online
Mediterranean Salsa Brushetta from Foodhunter’s Guide
Middle Eastern Zucchini Tahini Eggplant Dip from Mother Would Know
Bruschetta Pizza from The Redheaded Baker
Zucchini, Summer Squash, and Tomato Tart from The Wimpy Vegetarian
Blueberry White Chocolate Tart from Stetted
Mile High Strawberry Pie from That Skinny Chick Can Bake
Pretty as a Peach Shortbread (gluten-free) from The Heritage Cook
Blueberry Lavender Shrub Syrup from All Roads Lead to the Kitchen
Lavender Lemonade Martini from Creative Culinary
To see our upcoming themes and how you can participate, please check out the schedule at Creative Culinary or contact Barb for more information. We have a core group of 12 bloggers, but we always need substitutes and if there is enough interest, we may consider adding additional groups.
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