After a long winter, Gourmandistan will bear rhubarb, and delight in strawberries, as spring weather begins to literally bear fruit. (Fine, strawberries are “literally” not fruits, but pseudocarp. Satisfied, pedants?) But when blueberries arrive, we know the peaches, plums, blackberries and other delightful summer treats will soon appear at local farmers’ markets, to be enjoyed until apple season signals the end of another (hopefully) bountiful year.
We buy many, many blueberries at the markets, because Steve enjoys eating them as snacks. But Michelle recently wrested some away from him and cobbled together this beautiful dessert. Velvety biscuits topped with a chunky compote with slightly firm blueberries and a smooth, lemon curd-enhanced cream make a marvelous way to greet the first fruits of summer. We almost can’t wait to see what the rest of the season will bring.
BLUEBERRY LEMON SHORTCAKE
- 2 c. blueberries
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 TB lemon juice
- zest of one lemon
Place about 2/3 of the berries in a small saucepan along with sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Bring to a simmer, stirring. Cook for about 5 minutes, smashing a bit with a potato masher. Add remaining 1/3 of berries and, after about 30 seconds, remove from heat. Add a bit of water if mixture seems too thick.
Lemon cream filling:
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/4 c. lemon juice
- 1 egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 2-1/2 TB sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3 TB butter
- 1 c. heavy cream
Combine half the lemon zest, the lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, sugar, salt and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a small saucepan.
Place a fine sieve over a bowl and keep near the stove.
Cook lemon mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes, until thickened. The mixture may curdle a bit. Near end of cooking time, add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.
Strain through the sieve into the bowl. Stir in remaining lemon zest. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
When lemon mixture is cold, whip cream. Fold in lemon curd mixture. Cover and refrigerate.
- 2 c. all-purpose flour, preferably a soft wheat variety such as White Lily
- 1 TB baking powder
- 1 TB sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 TB cold butter, cut into small dice
- 1-1/3 c. heavy cream
- Additional cream and sugar for topping
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Toss with a fork. Add butter and mix in with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Pour in cream. Combine with a wooden spoon. If too dry, add a bit more cream.
Turn the mixture out onto a floured piece of waxed paper. Knead just a few times. Pat into a circle about 1″ high.
Cut biscuits out with a round cutter and place on the prepared baking sheet. Gather up and pat out again if desired and cut more biscuits. A 2″ cutter will make about 8 biscuits on the first cutting, about 3 more if patted out a second time.
Brush tops of biscuits with additional cream. Sprinkle with sugar.
Bake for about 15 minutes, rotating the pan in the middle of cooking and watching carefully so the sugar on top doesn’t burn.
For each serving, halve a biscuit. Place the bottom on serving plate or bowl. Spoon some blueberry mixture over. Top with a heaping tablespoon or more of the lemon whipped cream. Top with the biscuit top.