Bing Cherry Shortcakes are easy to bake, but make a colorful dessert and a sweet flourish with which to end a meal.
For a special treat, top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream -- it will look as pretty as a picture. The Bing cherries lend a rich hue to the confection, as well as natural juicy sweetness. Bing cherries are hard to miss -- they are really large, and their color can range from a deep garnet red to almost black. They are good for eating out-of-hand, as well as for cooking.
Practical note: The shortcakes can be made ahead and stored in the freeze. On the day you want to serve them, defrost the cakes in the morning and assemble with the rest of the ingredients right before you serve the dessert.
Bing Cherry Shortcakes
(Preparation 25 minutes, cooking time 15 minutes)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
5 or 6 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pitted Bing cherries
1 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons melted raspberry jam
1 tablespoon Kirsch (cherry liqueur)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Knead several times on a lightly floured board and roll out to 3/4-inch thickness. Cut into 4 circles with a 3-inch cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let cool. Meanwhile, beat cream and sugar together until soft peaks form. Melt jam and kirsch together in a small saucepan. Split each shortcake in half lengthwise and spoon whipped cream, cherries and melted jam between the layers. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving: 671 cal., 8 g pro., 35 g fat, 82 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 115 mg chol., 426 mg sodium.
Recipe from the California Cherry Advisory Board.