Summer is officially here and I couldn't be happier. I love this time of year and all the great seasonal produce it brings. I'm giddy each week when I visit our local farmers' market, nearly sprinting from stand to stand. Corn on the cob, vine-ripened tomatoes, summer squash, fresh herbs... I simply can't get enough during these summer months.
I get particularly excited about seasonal fruit. So excited, in fact, that I will get up at 7 on a Saturday morning to stand in line at the market for fresh blueberries; now that's dedication! Last week, I bought watermelon, strawberries, blueberries and cherries. They were all so affordable and looked incredible. I contemplated purchasing some cantaloupe as well, but decided I probably would have trouble polishing off a whole watermelon, a quart of strawberries, a pint of blueberries and two pounds of cherries all by myself.
So what do you do when you have all of this fresh fruit in your house? You bake with it, of course. And make homemade ice cream!
Blueberries are my absolute favorite fruit. I've used them in this recipe in a simple Blueberry Shortcake to allow the berries' flavor to shine. Buttery shortcake biscuits are split open and topped with vanilla whipped cream and blueberry compote.
Blueberry ShortcakeMakes 6 servings
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 large eggs, divided use
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pint fresh blueberries
2 tablespoons fruit preserves (blueberry, blackberry, strawberry)
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Coat a large cookie sheet with cooking spray.
To make the shortcake, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt until well combined. Grate the butter; knead butter into flour mixture until well incorporated and mixture starts to clump together. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and 1 egg until well combined. Gradually drizzle cream mixture into flour mixture, tossing with a fork, until well combined and dough is moistened.
Gather dough into a ball, and flatten to a 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut six rounds out ofdough; transfer to cookie sheet. Whisk remaining 1 egg with a small splash of water until combined. Brush egg mixture over dough rounds. Sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon sugar over the tops. Bake 15 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer shortcakes to wire racks to cool.
To make the whipped cream, in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, beat cream, sugar and vanilla together until stiff peaks form.
To make the blueberries, stir together blueberries and preserves in a small saucepan over medium heat; cook for about 2 minutes, until blueberries start to release their juice. Mash them with a fork a bit to get some of the juices out.
To assemble, split shortcakes in half and top with whipped cream and blueberries.
Banana Split Ice CreamI recently rekindled my love for banana split sundaes. The banana split was the inspiration behind my Banana Split Ice Cream: rich vanilla custard with fresh strawberries, cherries, banana, toasted pecans and hot fudge. It's not summertime without homemade ice cream.
See recipe in sidebar above.
Bing Cherry Cheesecake BrowniesCherries are underappreciated as a fruit, I think. I adore them and I think people will adore them too, in these Bing Cherry Cheesecake Brownies. Everyone loves brownies and cheesecake, so you can't go wrong bringing these to a summer barbecue.
See recipe in sidebar above.
Emily Hobbs is the author behind the popular Sugar Plum Blog. Not only does the self-taught, fearless home cook create original recipes for her site, she is also active in the competitive food circuit, participating in everything from Food Network's Ultimate Recipe Showdown (twice!) and the Beringer's Great Steak Challenge. Emily aspires to attend pastry school in New York City one day and eventually work in the test kitchens of a food magazine or company, with recipe development and food styling. Writing a cookbook is also a goal for the future.