Fresh Fruit with Sweet Biscuits and Cream

When I was developing the menu for the Vagabond Chef Launch Dinner, it was still early summer, and I knew I wanted a summery menu to anticipate what was coming. Winter is long at 7300 ft in the Rockies, and summer is always a time for celebration.
To me there is nothing that cries summer more than strawberries and cream, but I didn’t want to just buy some short cake and cool whip at the store. One of my favorite menu strategies is to think of something I love, maybe from my childhood, and then update it to my current skill level and give it a little spin.

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I decided to make a sweet biscuit, top it with fresh strawberries and blueberries, and drizzle some orange infused cream over it.

It was such a hit and I liked it so much that I’ve made it several times now this summer, with a few variations on the theme. The second time I blended handpicked huckleberries with the cream. The third time, pictured below, I blended the blueberries with the cream.

Originally, I had thought to modify my existing biscuit recipe to make it a little more sweet, however, after a cursory internet search I found this recipe on food.com. http://www.food.com/recipe/sweet-biscuits-for-breakfast-or-shortcake-109015

I’ve fiddled with it a little, but have basically stuck to their very solid recipe.

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Ingredients
Makes about nine biscuits.
  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 lb cold Unsalted Butter
  • 3/4 cup Half-and-Half
  • 1 quart Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Fresh Fruit

First, go ahead and move your lowest baking rack to it’s second lowest position and preheat your oven to 400°.

Cut the butter into small cubes and place in the freezer. Freezing the butter will prevent it from mixing completely with the other ingredients, then when it cooks it will yield a more flaky result. You would also use this technique in other baking, such as pie crusts.
Combine dry ingredients using 3/4 of your powdered sugar, then cut in the frozen cubes of butter. You can do this in a food processor or with an electric mixer. Alternatively you can do this in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender, two knives, or even your fingers. However you achieve it, you want to mix the butter in fairly quickly and end up with small flour coated BBs of butter.image

Then add the half-and-half, mixing as little as possible. The dough will be sticky. Throw down some flour, lightly knead your dough, and roll it out to a thickness of about half an inch.

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Then fold the dough over and cut out roughly two inch biscuits. You can use the top of a drink glass for this. Folding the dough before cutting will give you a natural seam in the finished product, so you can open the biscuits and serve “open faced” if you desire.
After you cut out one series of series of biscuits, you can re-roll the dough and repeat the process to get as many biscuits as possible.

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A few of these biscuits were a little thick, so I ended up with seven. Once they’re all cut out, place them on a cookie sheet evenly spaced. If you so desire you can brush the tops with a light egg wash, which will give you a more golden brown top when they come out (I did not do this in these pictures) Finally, bake in the oven for roughly ten to twelve minutes.

While the biscuits are baking, mix your cream with the remaining quarter cup of powdered sugar and whatever fruit you desire. Some example are the zest of three oranges or a cup of berries (blue-, huckle-, ras-).

Keep an eye on the biscuits. I usually start checking them around eight minutes. Use a butter knife or spatula to peak at the bottoms. When the bottoms are golden brown, the biscuits are done.

Take biscuits from oven, place one each in a bowl, scatter fresh fruit around, then drizzle cream over top.

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It’s delicious!