Sunday, July 1, 2007

This Isn't My Grandmother's Shortcake!

In my family, four or maybe five generations of it, strawberry shortcake is taken very, very seriously. There is A Way to make it, a time and place to eat it, and deviations are not encouraged. For the most part, I agree with that. Once you replace the strawberries with some other kind of fruit, however, anything goes!

And so, after having a lovely meal of roasted baby red potatoes, onion fritatta, and creamed spinach, I embarked on dessert. Let's call it Spiced Blueberry Corncake.

After my blueberry flavor pairing work last week, I had a combo in mind that I wanted a use for, having decided on a different one for my as-yet-to-be-made sorbet. I had tried a coriander blueberry mix and loved it, so that was my starting point. I poured about two cups of my frozen, hand-picked, wild blueberries into a small saucepan, added some sugar and the juice of a lemon, and turned on the heat. Once everything was well thawed and giving up juices, I pulled out the berries and reduced the liquid to a near-syrup, added about half a teaspoon of coriander, a pinch of salt, and the berries, and let it cool.

Meanwhile, my cake needed to be flavorful on its own. I worked all day today, and made dinner, so I cheated a bit on the cake. I used a Trader Joe's cornbread mix with an added tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest. It's great! I always seem to forget how lovely cornmeal and lemon are together.

Finally, plain-Jane whipped cream. I considered vanilla and/or orange extract and decided to just sugar it a little and be done with it.

The first piece for each of us went very quickly...Husband was stacking a second round before I'd even finished taking photos of my first helping. But I was pretty quickly back, too, once I'd started to dig into that first slice. Unfortunately, my best picture was of my second round, so it's on a dirty plate. I've decided to think of it as a wabi-sabi photograph and post it anyway.

It almost makes me want thirds, but Husband beat me to it and finished off the berries.


  1. Boy, does that ever look good. Freshly picked, too! My blueberry bushes are a sad, sad lot.

  2. Heh! I can't take any credit for the blueberry bushes. Mother Nature takes care of hundreds of square miles of them for me (and my neighbors and the wildlife).