Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dessert me!

One of my major flaws is a fanatical fondness for anything containing sugar (sweet tooth courtesy of my Gramps). While I am pretty good at avoiding processed sweet things (except frosted animal crackers), quality desserts are a staple dietary contribution at my house, right up there with water and cheese.

An over abundant recipe collection roams my counter tops, getting wet, crinkled and covered in food splatters. Lately I have been trying different seasonal desserts from various recipe sources and have yet to hit a dud. So here is my latest sweet concoction, from Martha Stewart's cute little food publication:

Peaches with cornmeal shortcakes
Cornmeal shortcakes
1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
1 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing

Homemade whipped cream - I had no idea how simple making my own whipped cream is, knowledge can be dangerous!
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

Fruity filling
1 1/2 pounds peaches, halved, pitted and cut into 1/4 inch slices (5 cups)
5 ounces blueberries (3/4 cups)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and granulated sugar. Using the large holes in a cheese grater, grate butter into flour mixture, mixing and breaking it into even smaller pieces with your fingers. With a fork, stir in buttermilk until dough just comes together. Lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface (I usually roll dough out between 2 sheets of wax paper, less of a mess) and roll out dough into a 3/4 inch thick rectangle. Cut into 6 squares (or rectangles).

Place dough squares 3 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until shortcakes are golden and puffed, 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Store shortcakes tightly wrapped in plastic, up to 2 days).

In a medium mixing bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners' sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Divide peaches among bottom halves, top with whipped cream and blueberries and sandwich with top half.

Then put on a pretty plate, take a picture for your blog and chow down!

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