I think strawberry shortcake might be the quintessential summer dessert. Is there anything better for savouring the longer days and warmer evenings than dining al fresco and topping off the evening with a bit of nature’s candy nestled in a cloud of whipped cream on a flaky buttermilk biscuit? I think not.
Last week I celebrated strawberries in a summer shandy to get you through the long weekend. No doubt you spent part of the Victoria Day Long Weekend preparing your outdoor space for the summer season – whether that’s a postage-stamp-sized condo balcony or an expansive backyard complete with pool and pizza oven. With a truly summer-like forecast on deck for this week, take advantage of your hard work by taking dinner on the patio one night this week.
Although this recipe might seem daunting, with three distinct components, don’t be deterred; it’s foolproof. Hopefully you’ve been studiously following the Taste & Tipple recipes and did, in fact, make that Peppered Strawberry Shandy over the weekend and have some of that delectable Black Pepper Balsamic Syrup languishing in your fridge, waiting for its next mission.
If not, no worries. Just make sure you leave enough time to allow the syrup to infuse for an hour before straining off the black pepper.
The buttermilk biscuits are incredibly simple and have a wider range of applications, after you’ve eaten your weight in dessert, than traditional shortcake (no shade). Maybe you have a hankering for a little Southern soul food – you’re halfway to biscuits and gravy. Throw in some fried chicken and I’m there, with bells on.
You want the biscuit dough to be JUST tacky enough that it holds it shape and doesn’t fall apart into crumbs when you roll it out. Pour in the buttermilk slowly when adding to the flour mixture and give it a rough mix after you’ve added a cup, add more as needed.
The texture of the whipped mascarpone with a drizzle of honey is a perfect compliment to the flaky biscuits and sweet strawberries. I could see myself eating this off just about anything. In fact, I ate a good portion of this mascarpone off my finger while “cleaning” the bowl of my stand mixer…by hand.
I hope you’ll have an opportunity to treat yourself to this perfect summertime confection ASAP. Don’t forget to add a comment if you try this recipe or tag your photos #tasteandtipple on Instagram and Twitter!
Black Pepper Strawberry Shortcakes
The quintessential summer dessert gets as serious upgrade. This Black Pepper Strawberry Shortcake will boggle minds at your next strawberry social. Buttermilk biscuits in place of traditional shortcake and black pepper balsamic syrup adds an unexpected zip.
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 sticks 1 cup salted butter, grated on a box grater
- 1 ½ cups buttermilk plus more for brushing
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp honey
- Mint for garnish
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ cup water
- 4 tsp black pepper freshly cracked
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder. Add the butter and toss with the flour. Add the buttermilk and honey, and mix until just combined, adding more buttermilk if needed.
Roll the dough out into a 1 inch rectangle and cut into 9-12 biscuits. Place the biscuits on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Cool slightly before filling.
With an electric beater or in a stand mixer, whip the mascarpone and cream together until stiff peaks form. Fold in the honey.
Slice biscuits in half, top with a healthy dollop of honey mascarpone and sliced strawberries. Drizzle with 1-2 tbsp of Black Pepper Balsamic Syrup. Garnish with chopped fresh mint. Top with other half of biscuit, as desired.
Combine ½ cup each sugar and water in a small saucepan, stir in 4 tsp of freshly cracked black pepper, cover and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Strain through several layers of cheesecloth; stir in 1 tsp balsamic vinegar. Chill before use.
This take on strawberry shortcake was a new one for me, but nevertheless an anticipated staple in my rotation of dessert choices! The home-made biscuits were flakey but held together nicely underneath the whipped marscapone cheese filling (my favourite part). The mixture of sweet and spicy from the strawberries and black pepper shandy made this dessert fresh, filling and delicious served cold or warm!