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Rhubarb and Blood-Orange Shortcakes

Rhubarb and Blood-Orange Shortcakes
The blood oranges add a hint of berry flavor and a stunning color to the compote that dresses these buttery, tender cakes. The secret to the dough is to not overmix it and keep it slightly wet.

Ingredients:

For the shortcakes:

  • 2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom
  • Zest of 1 blood orange
  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter,
      cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk

For the rhubarb compote:

  • 1 lb. rhubarb, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (about
      3 1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • Segments from 1 blood orange

Directions:

To make the shortcakes, preheat an oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar and cardamom. Using a fine grater, grate the blood orange zest directly onto the flour mixture. Add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, combine the vanilla and buttermilk. Pour into the flour mixture with one hand while mixing with the other.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, gather into a ball and flatten into a disk 1 inch thick. Using a floured 3-inch cutter, cut out 6 disks. If necessary, reroll scraps of dough for the final disk.

Transfer the disks to the prepared baking sheet and bake until the shortcakes are puffed and browned, about 20 minutes.

To make the compote, in a saucepan, combine the rhubarb and sugar. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb is tender but not falling apart, about 10 minutes. Let cool. Cut away the membrane from the blood orange segments. Add the segments to the rhubarb.

Cut each shortcake in half and place the bottom halves on individual plates. Spoon a generous amount of the compote over each bottom half. Cover with the top half. Serves 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma TASTE (February 2001), "Sweet Tart," by Fran Gage.