Ripe cherries, tender pastry and pillowy clouds of whipped cream — this shortcake recipe has it all! I’m swapping out strawberries for tart, macerated cherries and adding Greek yogurt to the whipped cream for a little tang. I like to use finely ground 00 flour because I find it gives the biscuits the lightest, flakiest texture but you can absolutely use all-purpose if that’s what you have on hand. Laminating and chilling the dough before baking also helps guarantee those extra flaky layers we all know and love.
This recipe requires 30 minutes chill time.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Set aside.
Using a box grater, coarsely grate the frozen butter directly into the dry ingredients. Use your hands to evenly coat the pieces of butter and break up any large clumps. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Use a rubber spatula to fold everything together until a shaggy dough forms. Don’t overmix.
Tip: If you are having trouble gripping the butter as you grate it, try flouring your hands beforehand.
Turn dough out onto a liberally floured work surface. Flour your hands and pat the dough into a ¾-inch thick rectangle, incorporating any shaggy pieces of dough as you go. Fold one side of the rectangle into the centre and then fold the other on top. Using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a rectangle and repeat the same folding process again. Roll the dough out a final time into a 7 x 7-inch square, about 1-inch thick.
Use a sharp knife to trim the edges (optional but recommended) and then cut the dough into 9 shortcakes. Transfer them to the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before baking.
In a small bowl, combine demerara sugar with orange zest and mix them together with your fingers until fragrant. Set aside.
De-stem cherries and then run a small paring knife along the middle until you can twist the cherry in half (like you would with stone fruit) and remove the pit. Another pitting method would be to press on the cherry with the side of a large knife and then use your fingers to gently remove the pit. Repeat your preferred process with the remaining cherries. In a medium bowl, combine halved cherries, 1 tablespoon sugar, orange juice and vanilla extract. Cover and allow to macerate for 15 minutes.
Once the shortcakes have sufficiently chilled and the cherries are macerated, preheat oven to 425°F. Right before baking, brush shortcakes with heavy cream and sprinkle the orange zest sugar mixture on top. Transfer the baking tray to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until slightly golden. Allow to cool on a wire rack.
Prepare the whipped cream as the biscuits bake. Beat heavy cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or in a large bowl with a hand mixer) into soft peaks. Then add yogurt along with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and continue to beat until medium peaks form, about 1-2 minutes. Cover and chill until serving.
Split each shortcake in half and spoon the cherries and their juices over the bottom half. Finish with a dollop of whipped cream and then place the other shortcake half on top. Serve immediately.