It took me about 5 years of owning Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert before I got around to making these buckwheat shortcakes. I somehow convinced myself that I didn't really like shortcakes of any varitey, but I think it's more that I didn't like the memory of spongy and dry store-bought "shortcakes" topped with bland berries and cream. I probably don't have to tell you that these are anything but bland and boring.
I've been itching to share this recipe for weeks now, but due to a few photographic mishaps I've had to be patient. I first made these shortcakes months ago for a photo shoot, but only took a couple of photos with black and white film (which simply wouldn't do), then I made them again when I had some lovely ladies over for lunch, but my camera was being fussy and it turns out I lost a whole roll of photos because of it. After that lunch, I received the generous gift of rhubarb (Camille, this is still yours!) and I decided to bake these shortcakes again and roast up my last few stalks of rosy-red rhubarb to tuck inside them.
These shortcakes would pair well with just about any spring or summer fruit you like. So far, I've tried them with strawberries and rhubarb (separately, of course) and it is safe to say that "piled on top of a buckwheat shortcake" has been added to my list of favorite ways to consume fruit as dessert. I am already dreaming of the peach shortcakes I plan to make in a few months.
yield 9 shortcakes
adapted from Alice Medrich's Pure Dessert
Not only are these litte shortcakes incredibly delicious but they are so, so easy to put together. They are a one-bowl affair that take all of 5 minutes to put together. You don't even have to bother with cutting in any butter, easy.
5 ounces all purpose flour
1 3/4 ounces buckwheat flour
1 3/4 ounces granulated sugar, plus a bit more for sprikling
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces heavy cream
Preheat oven to 425º and line a baking sheet with a slipat or 2 layers of parchment paper. The double layer of paper is to prevent the bottoms from scorching.
1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients except the heavy cream.
2. Make a well and pour in the heavy cream. Stir gently to combine, making sure to not overmix.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times to make sure the dough is well mixed. Pat the dough into a 6'' square about 3/4'' thick, then cut it into 9 equal squares.
4. Put the shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet about 1'' apart and brush the tops with the dregs of heavy cream left in the measuring cup. Sprinkle the tops with a bit of sugar and slide the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are golden and the shortcakes are baked through. Cool before filling.
This is more of a loose formula than a formal recipe, feel free to play with the flavors here.
1 lb rhubarb
2 ounces sugar (or more to taste)
2 strips of lemon zest
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
a tablespoon or so of water or orange juice
Preheat oven to 375º
Cut the rhubarb into 2'' lengths and in a glass baking dish, toss with the sugar, lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds and pod and the water or juice. Set it aside for about 5 minutes to macerate while the oven heats. Cover the dish with foil. Bake the rhubarb until it is soft and has begun to release its juices, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly and remove the vanilla bean pod and lemon zest before using.
To Assemble the Shortcakes
You'll need the shortcakes, roasted rhubarb, and a generous amount of whipped cream (creme fraiche would also be delicious here).
Slice the shortcakes in half, top with a generous spoonful of roasted rhubarb and top with whipped cream. Enjoy immediately.