summer fruit shortcakes

6 to 8    |   
Prep Time:
30 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
15 minutes

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My mom turned 80 (and looks darn good!) so I threw her a ladies’ lunch at my friend Lori’s beautiful home overlooking a garden full of fruit trees. That was my inspiration for the dessert: biscuit-like shortcakes filled with juicy summer fruit. Use whatever’s best in your garden or market in any combination—all of one kind, or mixed. The secret is the ginger in the shortcake dough…use chunky Australian crystallized ginger so widely available now.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1/4 cup chopped crystallized ginger
1 cup sour cream
1 egg

3 cups mixed summer fruit, such as blackberries, blueberries, sliced peaches or plums
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the shortcakes, preheat an oven to 425°F. In a food processor (or in a bowl with a fork), blend the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Scatter the butter and crystallized ginger over the flour mixture, then pulse (or cut in with a pastry blender) until the mixture is nubbly. Add the sour cream and egg and pulse (or stir) until dough comes together (do not over mix). If dough is in a processor, transfer it to a bowl.

Using a metal measuring cup, scoop heaping 1/4 cupfuls of the dough and drop onto a large baking sheet leaving about 2 inches of space between them (you should have 6 mounds—see note). Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on a rack. (You can make the shortcakes up to a day in advance; store in a sealed plastic bag at room temperature until ready to use.)

About 20 minutes before serving, make the filling by combining the fruit and sugar in a bowl and letting it stand until ready to use to draw out some juices. To serve, whip the cream with the vanilla. Cut each shortcake in half horizontally and spoon fruit and juices over bottom halves, dollop with whipped cream, place top halves askew over fruit and berries, and serve.

note: you can make 8 smaller shortcakes if you prefer; just scoop less dough for each one. There’s enough fruit and cream either way.