Do you ever look in the mirror and think, “Hey, you’ve been pretty good at life lately, and congratulations on not screwing up this DIY bangs trim, but, one note for possible self-improvement. Does it seem like it’s been too long since you/we brought together goat cheese and summer berries in a dessert context?”
…Yeah, just me.
I can live with that, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want you aboard this goat-cheese-desserts train. Understandably enough, it’s not for everybody; goat cheese to begin with is not a universal crowd pleaser. That said, sweet fruit and tangy cheese would probably be my death row meal, so I think it’s my duty to pop in every couple of years and bug you about it.
I’ve seen shortcake desserts made with flaky biscuits, sponge cake, angel food, pound cake… Whatever route you fancy works. As for my own preference, I like my shortcakes… Short, meaning buttery and crumbly, which also translates in terms of stature. Read: wee little guys. These ones.
You might be wondering about the black pepper, too. If this is new to you and sounds weird, I promise it’s a good idea. Salt and pepper make food sing! Specifically: what salt is to sugar, black pepper is to fruit.
(Note for those of you studying for your SATs–salt:sugar::pepper:fruit.)
(Note for me–tattoo idea?)
Meanwhile, If I still haven’t sold you on the goat cheese… Cream cheese would work too. I GUESS. Either way, consider these a summertime classic with a cheesecake-y touch and an occasional spark (picture me doing jazz hands and grinning like a total cheeseball) of sharp, fresh pepper.
I hope your summer is off to an excellent start–so far I’ve eaten these AND remembered to put sunscreen on my ears before a long hike, so things are looking up around here. If you need to get in the spirit, you know what to do, friends. Shortcake it up.
(Disclaimer: I created this for #Driscollsberry Strawberry Shortcake Month and was generously provided Driscoll’s strawberries for this fun little project–as always, opinions are mine, etc.)
- 2 cups sliced strawberries
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup flour (I've used both all-purpose and cake flour before; cake flour used here)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
- 1/3 cup heavy cream (you can use buttermilk, too)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon heavy cream
- Coarse sugar, such as turbinado (optional, for sprinkling on top)
- 3 ounces goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Sprinkle sugar and a generous few turns' worth of freshly ground black pepper (about 8 here) over the sliced strawberries, gently stir and set aside for at least an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment.
- In a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Add butter cubes and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, then add heavy cream (or buttermilk) and pulse until it starts to come together.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and briefly knead just until it comes together (be sure to not overwork it). Roll it out until about 3/4-inch thick, and cut out three biscuits with a round cutter, dipping the cutter in flour in-between each cut. (Or, if you don't mind rustic-looking shortcakes and/or hate to waste dough, just cut it into three--or four--wedges.)
- For the egg wash, mix the egg yolk with the cream and brush the tops of the shortcakes. Sprinkle with coarse sugar, if using.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the shortcakes are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Using a hand mixer, beat goat cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth (a minute or so). With the mixer running, add cream in a steady stream and continue whipping until the mixture holds firm peaks.
- Split each shortcake and spoon 1/3 of the strawberry mixture on the bottom half. Pipe or dollop about 1/2 cup of the whipped goat cheese on top, followed by the top half of the shortcake.
- Note that this recipe is halved from the original and only yields 3 shortcakes, but is easily doubled!