Everything’s coming up red, white, and berries.
What is not to love about a shortcake? They are much easier to make than a full pie, but deliver the same homey, buttery, fruit-filled satisfaction. (I say this as an avowed pie lover.) This recipe for mixed berry shortcakes are a truly perfect summer dessert.
Strawberry shortcakes are the best-known type of shortcakes. But I find that when strawberries combine forces with other sweet summer berries like blackberries and blueberries, the result tastes even better and looks particularly seasonal. Especially when you top the mixed berry shortcake with fresh vanilla whipped cream.
You’ll also like: Mile-High Buttermilk Biscuits and Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote
Start With Good Biscuits
A great, flaky biscuit is essential to building a great shortcake. This recipe is sweeter than a standard buttermilk biscuit, but not too sweet. This light sweetness helps make it uniquely dessert ready, while letting the berries remain the highlight.
The first rule of making a tender biscuit is to not overmix the dough. The second rule is to not overmix the dough. The third rule is to use cold butter and cream. The biscuit dough should not be worked into a cohesive ball. Rather, it should remain shaggy and in big clumps. For a full lesson on mixing biscuits, read this step-by-step recipe for buttermilk biscuits.
Be sure to use freshly-baked biscuits. The longer they sit, the tougher they will get. If you’d like to make the dough in advance, make the dough, roll it out, cut it into circles, and freeze raw. You can bake the biscuits from frozen; they will just take a few more minutes to bake.
Prepare the Mixed Berries and Assemble
This is the easy part. Just toss berries in a little sugar with a bit of fresh lemon juice. Fresh lemon juice brightens the flavor of fruit without being detectable. Note: This is a general truth for baking with fruit in general. Let the fruit marinate in the sugar for at least 30 minutes, up to two hours.
To assemble the shortcakes, gently split the biscuits and spoon berries over the bottom half. It is ok if they spill out. Add a dollop of whipped cream if desired, then top with the other biscuit half and more whipped cream. Eat. Repeat.
Mixed Berry Shortcakes With Vanilla Whipped Cream
For the Shortcake Biscuits
- 2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 cup cold heavy cream
- 1 egg, whisked (for egg wash)
For the Berries
- 1 quart fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 3 to 4 cups)
- 1/2 pint blackberries (1 cup)
- 1/2 pint blueberries (1 cup)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup sugar, maybe less depending on the sweetness of the berries
For the Whipped Cream
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 1 rounded tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Shortcakes
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
- Add the butter pieces and, using your hands, work the butter through the dry ingredients until it resembles coarse meal with small peas. Do not overmix.
- Add the cream and use your fingers to "stir" it in to the butter-flour mixture, maybe kneading once or twice, just until the dough has formed a shaggy mass.
- Turn the biscuit dough onto a lightly-floured surface and pat into a flat round. Dust the top of the biscuit dough with flour, and use a rolling pin or the flat of your hand into a 6" circle. The dough will be about 1" thick.
- Use a 2" to 2 1/2" round biscuit cutter to cut out the biscuits. Place them on a baking sheet, leaving at least an inch of space between each. Lightly brush the tops with egg.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown, rotating halfway. Let cool slightly before serving.
For the Berries
- Combine the hulled, quartered strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and lemon juice. Toss and let sit for at least 30 minutes, or up to two hours.
For the Whipped Cream
- Whip the cold, heavy cream to soft peaks. (Pro tip: Heavy cream will not whip up unless it is very cold.)
- Add the sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip until medium-stiff peaks form. Do not over-whip the cream or it will look grainy. Refrigerate until use.
To Assemble and Serve
- Split the biscuits in half and place the bottom half on the dish. Spoon a generous amount of berries (with some juice) onto the biscuits. Top with the other biscuit half and a dollop of whipped cream. Serve immediately.