Strawberry Peach Chocolate Shortcake

Strawberry Peach Chocolate Shortcake

2013-06-26 18a

When strawberries come into season, there isn’t anything I don’t want to do with them.  I just can NOT get enough of that sweet, lemony burst of warm juice that each bite brings.  Thank goodness we have several huge strawberry patches to make this addiction possible (and affordable!).

There are two ways I like to make shortcake – butter on the warm biscuits or not.

Strawberry, Peach Chocolate Shortcake

Fruit:
1 quart strawberries, washed and hulled
1 peach, peeled and sliced thinly
3/4 cup sugar

Chocolate Shortcake:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dutch process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup buttermilk

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:
Combine all fruit ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Shortcake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.   Into a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, baking soda and dark brown sugar.  Cut in the butter with a pastry knife until the butter is the size of peas or smaller.  Add the milk reserving a little until you know you need to use it.  You might need a tiny bit more if the dough doesn’t quite come together at first.  Only mix until the ingredients are combined.  I use my hands to do the mixing so that I can feel exactly how much moisture the dough has.

Transfer the dough to a floured counter and press out to 1-inch thick.  Use a biscuit cutter and cut 6 to 8 shortcakes.  Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes.

Whipping Cream:
Whisk all ingredients until the peaks are soft and fluffy, but not hard and standing up straight.

To assemble:
Break the shortcake in half and place the bottoms on plates or in bowls.  Top with fruit, whipped cream and then the other half of the shortcake.  Tuck a mint leaf into the cream and serve.

Alternate:
I also like to make the shortcake as one large disc.  When the shortcake is baked but still warm, split the shortcake in half horizontally into two layers.  Butter the top and bottom with salted  butter and then build the layers.  Place the bottom layer onto a serving platter and top with the fruit and then the whipped cream.  The final layer is the second half of the biscuit.  To serve, cut into the cake with a large spoon.