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Chef Stacy believes that cooking from scratch and using the best ingredients are the secrets to preparing delicious and memorable meals. She has created dozens of classes for the home chef and teaches students how to master culinary techniques and recipes in just one session. Read on to see what she's dishing up for The Oakland Press today....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Summer Berry Whole Wheat Shortcakes

Strawberry Shortcake is the quintessential summer dessert. Last night in our Regional American Bbq class, we enjoyed a delicate mixed berry shortcake with vanilla bean ice cream. What made this dessert unique was not the blend of blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries and mint. It wasn’t even the orange zest and Cointreau we used to flavor the berries and the shortcakes. What made this summertime treat unique was that we used whole wheat pastry flour and raw sugar in the biscuit dough.

If you’ve been following this blog, you know that my latest project is to recreate some of our favorite recipes using whole grains and less refined sugar. This recipe was a delicious surprise to many who thought whole wheat and raw sugar couldn’t be combined to make a flakey, melt-in-your-mouth biscuit with a delicate crumb.

When making shortcakes or biscuits, it is important to keep a few things in mind. Keep all of your ingredients ICE COLD. If you allow the ingredients to get too warm, you will compromise the outcome of the recipe. Also, when making these types of delicate baked goods, be sure not to over-work the dough when cutting in the butter. This causes too the butter to soften too much, which will make the dough too wet. It will also make the final product too heavy.

When cutting butter into flour, be sure to work quickly and leave the butter in small chunks. You want some of the butter to be visible. After the butter has been cut into the flour, you can then add the liquid. In this case, we used heavy cream. When I make biscuits, I use buttermilk.

I hope you will enjoy this recipe throughout the summer and start experimenting with whole grains and natural sugars too in your own kitchen.

Berry Shortcakes
For the Biscuits:
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
5 tablespoons raw sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated orange zest

For the Filling:
3 pints strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced
2 pint blueberries, washed
1 pint raspberries, washed
1 pint blackberries, washed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 oz. Grand Marnier

Heat oven to 375°. Line baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Blend the flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt together in a medium sized bowl. Cut in the butter and rub mixture together until mixture is crumbly and small pieces of butter are visible. Add the heavy cream and zest. Mix with your hands just until mixture comes together.

On a clean, lightly floured work surface, gather dough into ball. Gently knead 5 times. Roll out dough to 1-inch-thickness. Using 3-inch round cutter, cut out six biscuits, re-rolling the dough as needed. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, brush with egg wash . sprinkle with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake biscuits until light golden brown, about 18-20 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool.

Place the strawberries, 1/2 cup sugar, mint, liqueur, and zest in medium bowl and stir to combine. Macerate at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
To serve, cut biscuits in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Fill with berries and sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, drizzling with remaining juice.

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