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Peaches, peaches, everywhere! No, seriously, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking with peaches lately. And when I say a lot, I mean that I’ve gone through almost 3 cases of peaches in the last week. No joke. But I’m at the point where I’m trying to use up the last case of peaches before I go to the Food Bloggers Connect international food bloggers conference later this week. (Yep. That’s happening. :) ) So I was looking in my fridge yesterday, wondering what to make. I was out of eggs, which knocked out most cake-like items, but, noticing that I had buttermilk, the idea of biscuits came to mind. From there it was just a short leap to peach shortcake.

I also have a small potted garden going on in my backyard. I don’t really bother with flowers and the like, but I do have some herbs, some pepper plants and a fig tree. A little random, but it makes me happy. I decided I wanted to make these shortcakes a little fancy pants, so I harvested some lavender flowers and basil. I nibbled on the herbs with some peaches in my kitchen, to make sure that I wasn’t being super weird about the flavor profile, and decided that I liked it. Thus, the peach shortcakes with basil and lavender came to be. And they really are lovely: light and sweet and filled with summery goodness. If you have access to some lovely, fresh peaches this summer, I highly recommend giving this a go.

Ingredients:

peachshortcake-115 Peaches
1/4 C basil, loosely packed
1/2 tsp fresh lavender, minced
1 1/4 C Sugar, divided
2 C Flour, plus extra
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
6 Tbsp Butter, unsalted and very cold
1 C Buttermilk
1 C Whipping Cream

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 450º F and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.

 

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Cut the basil into strips and combine it with 1 C sugar and 1 C water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir it until the sugar has completely dissolved to make a basil simple syrup. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool.

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Whisk together the flour, salt, remaining 1/4 C sugar, baking powder, baking soda and minced lavender. Cut the butter into small pieces and then cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you get that nice sandy texture. Try to keep everything as cold as possible while you do this.

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Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour in the buttermilk. Use a spatula to fold in the buttermilk, but be very gently and do not over mix. The dough does not need to be completely smooth or mixed together.

peachshortcake-23Turn the dough out onto a very well floured surface. It will be very sticky and you may want to coat your hands in flour as well. Gently pat the dough out into a rectangle and then fold the sides in on each other like a tri-fold wallet. Fold the dough in half again, this time with the top and bottom touching rather than the sides. Pat the dough out again and repeat the folding process. Feel free to sprinkle flour on the top as needed to keep the dough from sticking to everything.

peachshortcake-36Now pat out the dough until it is about 3/4 – 1 inch thick and use a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. You should 6 out of this first go. Gently pat the scraps together to cut out 2 more biscuits and pat the remaining dough together to form the 9th. I highly recommend dipping the cutter in flour to help keep it from sticking.

peachshortcake-44Place them on the baking sheet, just barely touching (this helps them to rise nicely). Brush some of the basil simply syrup over the tops of the biscuits and bake in the oven for 12 – 14 minutes. When the biscuits are finished baking, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Try to keep them connected until cooled.

peachshortcake-49While the biscuits are baking, peel, pit and slice up your peaches. Put them in a bowl and pour 1/2 C of the basil simple syrup over them. Give them a good stir every few minutes to make sure that all the peaches are getting a good coating.

peachshortcake-52Right before you are ready to serve the dessert, remove 1/3 cup of the simple syrup in which the peaches have been soaking. It should now taste like both basil and peaches. (Hooray). Whip up the cup of cream, pouring in the syrup when the cream is about half-way whipped. Finish whipping the cream and prepare to assemble the shortcakes.

peachshortcake-117Cut the biscuits in half and pile some peach slices on the bottom half. Dollop or pipe whipped cream over the peaches. I like to kind of lean the top of the biscuit against the stack rather than placing it right on top, because I think it’s prettier. You can also garnish the shortcake with a sprig of lavender, if you have any left.

If you are looking for something to do with the remaining syrup, the peachy stuff or just the basil, it’s lovely and refreshing when mixed with some sparkling water. It would probably also be good in cocktails of some variety.

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Peach Shortcakes with Basil and Lavender
 
Recipe By:
Ingredients
  • 5 Peaches
  • ¼ C basil, loosely packed
  • ½ tsp fresh lavender, minced
  • 1¼ C Sugar, divided
  • 2 C Flour, plus extra
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 Tbsp Butter, unsalted and very cold
  • 1 C Buttermilk
  • 1 C Whipping Cream
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 450º F and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper.
  2. Cut the basil into strips and combine it with 1 C sugar and 1 C water in a small pot. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir it until the sugar has completely dissolved to make a basil simple syrup. Remove the pot from the heat and set it aside to cool.
  3. Whisk together the flour, salt, remaining ¼ C sugar, baking powder, baking soda and minced lavender. Cut the butter into small pieces and then cut the butter into the dry ingredients until you get that nice sandy texture. Try to keep everything as cold as possible while you do this.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mix and pour in the buttermilk. Use a spatula to fold in the buttermilk, but be very gently and do not over mix. The dough does not need to be completely smooth or mixed together.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a very well floured surface. It will be very sticky and you may want to coat your hands in flour as well. Gently pat the dough out into a rectangle and then fold the sides in on each other like a tri-fold wallet. Fold the dough in half again, this time with the top and bottom touching rather than the sides. Pat the dough out again and repeat the folding process.
  6. Now pat out the dough until it is about ¾ - 1 inch thick and use a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. You should 6 out of this first go. Gently pat the scraps together to cut out 2 more biscuits and pat the remaining dough together to form the 9th.
  7. Place them on the baking sheet, just barely touching. Brush some of the basil simply syrup over the tops of the biscuits and bake in the oven for 12 - 14 minutes. When the biscuits are finished baking, remove from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool. Try to keep them connected until cooled.
  8. While the biscuits are baking, peel, pit and slice up your peaches. Put them in a bowl and pour ½ C of the basil simple syrup over them. Give them a good stir every few minutes to make sure that all the peaches are getting a good coating.
  9. Right before you are ready to serve the dessert, remove ⅓ cup of the simple syrup in which the peaches have been soaking. It should now taste like both basil and peaches. Whip up the cup of cream, pouring in the syrup when the cream is about half-way whipped. Finish whipping the cream and prepare to assemble the shortcakes.
  10. Cut the biscuits in half and pile some peach slices on the bottom half. Dollop or pipe whipped cream over the peaches. You can also garnish the shortcake with a sprig of lavender, if you have any left.
  11. If you are looking for something to do with the remaining syrup, the peachy stuff or just the basil, it's lovely and refreshing when mixed with some sparkling water. It would probably also be good in cocktails of some variety.
 

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