Thursday, August 19, 2010

Peach Shortcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream

I honestly couldn't have chosen a better recipe for my first post on the new Veggie by Season blog. These peach shortcakes are the epitome of summer! 
Let me start by saying that not only have I taken a week off of blogging to redesign, but also because I have been in Cincinnati for some very special events. First, my parents celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on August 10, so we had a big party for them and my younger sister's graduation from University of Maryland. Then I hosted a baby shower for my older sister, who is due with a baby boy on November 1. It was a wonderful trip home, full of family, friends and great food. 
I was actually lucky to have three very willing kitchen helpers, my tween cousins Jeanette, Marc and Edy. Jeanette and Edy were great sous chefs, we made an apple crumb pie (with apples picked from my dad's tree in the yard!), a mocha cheesecake, buttercream icing, chocolate and vanilla cupcakes and finally, these shortcakes. Marc was very helpful by going food shopping with me 3 times (my mom's baking pantry was not well stocked this time around!), and helping me come up with recipes. Honestly, cooking with kids is awesome! They're very happy to do the tasks that I sometimes dread (peeling a few pounds of apples, stirring food coloring into icing, cracking eggs, etc.) But the best part is we had so much fun creating amazing dishes together, and many memories to share! 

So what does any of that have to do with these peach shortcakes? As it goes with the majority of pregnancies, Kristine has had many cravings and aversions. I worked with her to create a shower menu that reflected almost everything she mentioned, except for the peaches. She picked up a peck of peaches at a roadside farm stand in Cleveland on her way down to Cincinnati, so ran through some peachy ideas. We decided that for breakfast, peach shortcakes sounded like a clear winner. I didn't plan to make the whipped cream, but when I mentioned I could if she wanted, I saw a twinkle in her eyes and knew it had to be done! I didn't follow any recipe for this dish, I just made a standard biscuit with a thickened peach filling and fresh whipped cream. These were slightly sweet, buttery, tender, fresh and so juicy! 

*VBS Trades and Tips:
-I invite you to try using organic whipping cream. In my opinion it tastes sweeter naturally! I prefer Organic Valley brands of dairy, available in most grocery stores.
-Try using fair trade pure vanilla extract. Worried about the price? Sam's Club sells it for only $8.99/8 oz. bottle. It's so flavorful, and supports farmers by paying them what they deserve.
-Peaches are on the dirty dozen, a list that compiles the produce you should try to buy organic because they're prone to heavy pesticide applications. When possible, buy organic peaches, or from a local farmer who can tell you what chemical(s) they use on their peaches.

*One of the new features of the blog will be VBS (Veggie by Season) Trades and Tips, a short note following each recipe or meal about some easy ways you can make your dishes organic, fair trade, local or seasonal and/or some information about products and ingredients. I invite you to share your personal Trades and Tips in the comment section! 

Peach Shortcakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream
by Ashlee, Veggies by Season

2 c. unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 tbsp. unbleached organic sugar 
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, diced in 1cm. chunks and frozen
1 egg 
scant 1/2 c. very chilled buttermilk
1 tbsp. Milk for brushing
1 tbsp. coarse sugar for topping

8 peaches, washed, pitted and sliced (skin removed, if desired)
1 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. light brown sugar
1 tbsp. water
1 tsp. cornstarch
Pinch of salt

Whipped Cream:
1 c. organic whipping cream
1 tsp. fair trade, pure vanilla extract
1 tbsp. powdered sugar

Fit a food processor with the blade attachment.
Add flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add diced butter, pulse mixture 5 times to coarsely grind butter.
Beat egg and buttermilk in a dish, stream into food processor and pulse to bring dough together.
When it just comes together, pour out onto a floured surface. 
Form into a disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 400*
Generously flour rolling surface, line a baking sheet with a silpat.
Roll biscuit dough out to 1/2" thick, cut with a 3" biscuit cutter (do not twist when you cut the biscuits).
Place on the cookie sheet about 1" apart. 
After all dough is cut out, brush tops with milk and sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Place in the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, until golden brown and puffed.
Yield about 8 biscuits.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Add butter, brown sugar and peaches.
Sauté for 5 minutes.
In a small dish, whisk together water and cornstarch, add slurry to peaches.
Add a pinch of salt, stir mixture well while it thickens.
Turn heat off and let peaches sit.

Pour cream into a metal mixing bowl, place in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Remove, beat on low speed for a minute, add vanilla and sugar, continue to beat.
Turn speed to medium and beat until peaks form, about 2 more minutes.
Refrigerate while assembling shortcakes.

Remove biscuits from oven, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Split biscuits, top with a scoop of peach mixture, place tops on.
Dollop with whipped cream.
Yield 8 shortcakes.


Lisa said...

Oh my goodness, YES!

Dawn said...


Anonymous said...

This recipe should be outlawed! This looks like one of those recipes that you just can't eat only one! Looks delicious!


Kelly said...

Great tips! I cannot wait to see what you're going to cook up. Winter will be especially creative Im sure although given you're in a warm winter climate, you have much better access to produce than I'm sure we do in the midwest that is seasonal.

Terese said...

i've been reading your blog for awhile, but am just now getting some time to cook more since my wedding in june. very much looking forward to trying a ton of your recipes!

p.s. - i'm a cincinnati native living in chicago!