Post by Sarah Kieffer: “One day I would have all the books in the world, shelves and shelves of them. I would live my life in a tower of books. I would read all day long and eat peaches. And if any young knights in armor dared to come calling on their white chargers and plead with me to let down my hair, I would pelt them with peach pits until they went home.” – Jacqueline Kelly, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
“Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.”
-T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
Stone fruit season just might be my favorite. Peaches, plums, and cherries scream long days at the beach with sand in my hair and worn out coolers filled with finger-staining fruit. These shortcakes came about on a whim; I was making a big batch of the roasted fruit to add to granola and yogurt, when I decided it just might be good smashed in-between biscuits. I wasn’t wrong. The combination of rosemary, vanilla, olive oil, and stone fruit makes this a perfect summer dessert. I’m quite certain it’s the best shortcake I’ve ever had.
Shortcakes with Roasted Stone Fruit + Rosemary
inspired by Everyday Food Magazine
How much sugar you add depends on how sweet your fruit is. I added 4 tablespoons and thought it was perfect – not too sweet, and just a bit tart. My husband thought it was too tart, however, and wished for more sugar. You can omit the rosemary if you wish. I liked most my fruit cut in halves for larger bites, but you can quarter the plums and apricots if you wish.
3 apricots, halved and pits removed
3 plums, halved and pits removed
3 peaches, sliced into quarters and pits removed
20 cherries, halved and pits removed
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-6 tablespoons sugar (see note)
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
1 teaspoon lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 springs of rosemary
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 400. In a large baking dish, combine all the fruit, olive oil, sugar, vanilla bean seeds and pod, lemon juice, salt, and rosemary. Toss gently to combine. Sprinkle the butter over the top, and bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, stirring carefully once or twice, until the fruit is tender and has started to release some juice. Set aside.
adapted from America’s Test Kitchen
I’ve tweaked this recipe just a little bit, by adding some folds like in this scone recipe. I found it made the biscuits much more flaky and delicious.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cold, and cut into 8 pieces
2/3 cup half-and-half, plus more for brushing
1 large egg
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a food processor, pulse together the flour, 3 tablespoons of sugar, baking powder, salt, and butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Whisk together the half-and-half and the egg until combined and pour it over the flour mixture. Stir with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, and dust the top of the dough with flour. Knead the dough 4-5 times, until it comes together (add more flour if it is sticking too much).
Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12-inch square. Fold the dough in thirds (a business letter fold). Lift the short ends of the dough and fold into thirds again, making a 4-inch square. Transfer dough to a baking sheet or plate dusted with flour, and chill in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Bring the chilled dough back to your floured surface, and roll into a 12-inch square again. Fold the dough again, in thirds, and then a 4-inch square. Pat (or roll) the square gently into a 9 by 6-inch rectangle. Using a floured 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter, cut out 6 dough rounds. Arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush the tops with a little half and half and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Bake until the biscuits are golden brown, 12-14 minutes. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack and let cool, about 10 minutes. Split each biscuit in half and top the bottom half with the roasted fruit and it’s juice (making sure to remove the vanilla bean pod and rosemary stems) and whipped cream or creme fraiche, then cap with the biscuit top. Serve immediately.