I’d like to think all the warm weather months are shortcake season. Sure, the classic strawberry shortcake is a perfect dessert, but fluffy, buttery biscuits and fresh whipped cream go with pretty much any spring, summer, or even early fall fruit. So why not switch it up? This recipe uses sweet black cherries because that’s what was at the farmers market but feel free to use sour cherries (or a mix of both!) and maybe add a little more sugar when you’re macerating to balance out the tartness. As for the actual shortcake, I’m a biscuit over sponge cake woman through and through. This biscuit recipe uses yogurt and vanilla extract, which makes for a cloud-like biscuit that’s fluffy yet flaky and kind of tastes like a sugar cookie. If you have leftover biscuits, they work really well warmed up with some butter, jam, or honey. They also keep really well in the freezer! Enjoy with a glass of Kopke Fine Ruby Port.
For the cherries:
4 cups fresh cherries, pitted
Juice and zest of one lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
A teeny tiny pinch of kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for forming dough)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick of butter, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 eggs (plus 1 more, beaten for egg wash)
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raw sugar for sprinkling
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons cardamom powder
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine cherries, lemon juice and zest, sugar, and pinch of salt. Gently crush and mix with a wooden spoon and set aside to macerate.
For the biscuits, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and mix together (either in a food processor or with your hands) until pieces of butter are the size of peas.
In a smaller bowl, whisk sugar and eggs together. Pour wet ingredients into the dry mixture. Stir, add yogurt and vanilla and continue to stir until just combined.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll with your hands until it is firm but still sticky. Loosely form balls about the size of lemons and place a few inches apart on a generously greased baking sheet (dough makes 6 biscuits). Brush egg wash onto each biscuit and sprinkle generously with raw sugar.
Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, until biscuits are fragrant and golden in color. Set biscuits aside to cool, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl (preferable previously refrigerated so it is cold to the touch) whisk whipping cream for 2 minutes. Add cardamom, powdered sugar, and vanilla and continue to whisk just until the cream is velvety smooth and forms peaks.
To serve, slice biscuit open longways, spoon cherry mixture onto biscuit (make sure to include all that juice!), and finish with a large dollop of cream.
Lee Kalpakis is a recipe developer living in Brooklyn, New York. She grew up in her family’s restaurant in the Hudson Valley and has since worked as a cook, host, producer, and writer in the food media world. She loves natural wine, summer produce, and rock and roll music.