Although shortcakes are normally served with juicy fresh fruit in the summer, a compote that takes advantage of premium canned, dried, and frozen fruit is the perfect shortcake filling for the winter months. With it’s kaleidoscope of shiny, jewel-like colors, serve Pumpkin Shortcakes for a a very sweet winter holiday brunch or dessert.
Makes 10 shortcakes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Baking Mix or King Arthur 1-for-1 GF Flour)
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup pumpkin purée, fresh or canned
3/4 cup buttermilk or organic heavy cream
Yellow cornmeal for sprinkling
Winter Fruit Compote, following
Sweetened whipped cream or cold crème fraîche for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 375º. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt. Cut the butter pieces into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal laced with small chunks of butter. Add the pumpkin purée and the milk, buttermilk, or cream to the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened, adding additional liquid 1 tablespoon at a time if the mixture seems too dry.
2. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and gently knead a few times just until the dough comes together. The dough will not be totally smooth. Roll out to a thickness of 1 inch and cut into 3-inch circles, squares, or hearts. Individual shortcakes can be made as small as 1 1/2 inches (the dough can also be formed into 1 large biscuit for a shortcake that can be filled and cut into wedges to serve). Place the individual shortcakes about 1 inch apart on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.
3. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until the tops are brown and firm to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool on racks. Serve warm or room temperature.
4. To serve, cut the biscuits in half horizontally with a serrated knife. Place the lower portion of each biscuit on an individual serving plate, and ladle with the Winter Fruit Compote and chilled sweetened whipped cream or crème fraîche. Cover with the biscuit tops. Serve immediately with more compote ladled from the traditional footed serving dish, called a compotier, on the side.
Winter Fruit Compote
Yield: About 4 cups
1/2 pound dried apricots
1 cup Prosecco sparkling wine
1/4 cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
1 cup pitted whole dried prunes
One 8-ounce can pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice, undrained, or 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple
One 16-ounce can sliced peaches, drained, or 2 cups unsweetened frozen peaches
One 11-ounce can mandarin oranges, undrained, or 2 fresh tangerines, seeded and sectioned
1 cup seedless green or red grapes
1 cup fresh or frozen whole unsweetened raspberries
1/3 cup slivered blanched almonds
2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger
Place the dried apricots, wine, sugar, and lemon juice and zest in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes, uncovered. Remove from the heat and add the prunes, pineapple, peaches, and oranges. Let cool until warm and add the grapes, raspberries, almonds, and candied ginger. Serve slightly warm.
Excerpted from The Best Quick Breads, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2000, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.
Recipe and text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015
Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.