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Cornmeal Shortcakes with Fresh Blueberries and Sweet Cream

Cornmeal Shortcakes with Fresh Blueberries and Sweet Cream
With the addition of yellow cornmeal, simple shortcakes gain hearty texture and a nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with blueberries. The berries' fruitiness is intensified by gently cooking a portion of them until juicy and then mixing in fresh berries for texture. Soft, fluffy, vanilla-scented whipped cream pulls all the elements together.

Ingredients:

  • 6 pints blueberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 10 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • Sweetened whipped cream for serving

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Pour 4 pints of the blueberries into a large bowl. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the remaining 2 pints blueberries, the sugar and lemon juice. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the berries have burst and are very juicy, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour the warm blueberry mixture over the fresh blueberries, stir gently to combine and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 cups flour, the cornmeal, baking powder and salt. Add the butter pieces to the bowl. Using your fingertips or a pastry blender, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the texture resembles coarse meal. Drizzle in the 1 cup cream and stir with a wooden spoon until evenly moistened. The dough should be moist and cohesive. If it looks and feels dry, stir in more cream, 1 Tbs. at a time, until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured work surface, pat the dough into a round about 1/2 inch thick. Using a 3-inch pastry cutter, cut out as many rounds as possible, then place on the prepared baking sheet. Bring the dough scraps together and repeat; you should have 8 rounds total. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and bake the shortcakes until golden brown, 16 to 18 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack and let the shortcakes cool completely.

Using a serrated knife, cut the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom halves, cut sides up, on dessert plates. Spoon about 3 Tbs. of the blueberry mixture on the bottom halves, then spoon dollops of whipped cream on top of the berries. Cover with the top halves of the shortcakes, cut sides down, and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma New Flavors for Desserts, by Raquel Pelzel (Oxmoor House, 2008).