Monday, June 29, 2009

Peach Shortcakes

Overall this was a very simple recipe that turned out tasting great. My biscuits overcooked in the oven very quickly so be sure to watch them very closely. The peaches were nicely flavored without being overly sweet. I used fresh orange juice in place of the peach schnapps called for in the recipe. Honestly I could taste the orange juice but no one else could. I am guessing its because I knew there was orange juice in the dish. Next time I think I will go for the peach schnapps. You can bake the biscuits up to 24 hours in advance.

Foolproof Peach Shortcakes
from Cook's Illustrated July/August 2008 issue

2 pounds ripe but firm peaches (4 to 5 medium), peeled, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch thick wedges
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons orange juice

2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup cold buttermilk
1 large egg
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

Whipped Cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Fruit:
Gently toss three quarters of peaches with 4 tablespoons sugar in large bowl. Let stand 30 minutes. Toss remaining peaches with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and orange juice in medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high power until peaches are bubbling, about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Using potato masher, crush peaches into coarse pulp. Let stand 30 minutes.

For the Biscuits:
Adjust over rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Whisk flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon sugar, and salt in large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in medium bowl; add melted butter and stir until butter forms small clumps.
Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir with wooden spoon until dough comes together and no dry flour remains. Continue stirring vigorously for 30 seconds. Using greased 1/3 cup dry measure, scoop up mound of dough and drop onto parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing biscuits about 1 1/2 inches apart, to create 6 biscuits. Sprinkle remaining sugar evenly over the top of biscuits. Bake until tops are golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

For the whipped cream:
Using mixer beat cream, sugar, and vanilla on low speed until bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium; continue beating until beater leave trail, about 30 seconds longer. Increase speed to high; continue beating until nearly doubled in volume and whipped cream forms soft peaks, 30 to 45 seconds longer.

To assemble:
Split each biscuit in half and place bottom on individual serving plates. Spoon portion of crushed peach mixture over each bottom, followed by peach slices and any exuded juices. Top biscuits with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream, cap with biscuit top, and dollop each shortcake with some of the remaining whipped cream. Serve immediately.

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