Cardamon Shortcakes with Strawberry-Rhubarb Compote and Maple Cream

Cardamom paired with strawberries and rhubarb is a classic combination. Though if the taste of cardamom isn’t for you, freshly ground black pepper, or a bit of freshly minced thyme or rosemary in the shortcake would also be great flavor combinations.

I am fortunate that rhubarb grows like a weed where I live. It’s usually one of the first vegetables to poke its leaves out of the ground, sometimes even through a late spring snowfall.

There’s nothing more satisfying too, than the taste of a local strawberry. If you’ve never had the experience of savoring one, I encourage you to make a beeline to your local farmer’s market. The only problem — the difficulty of ever again eating one out of season. Here in Minnesota, as soon as the local strawberries are here and gone one is advised to stop harvesting rhubarb due to the increase of oxalic acid; at least according to the website Gardena.

You can absolutely skip the rhubarb altogether or the entire compote process. Instead, just slice some strawberries in a bowl. Sprinkle them with sugar according to the berries natural sweetness and serve on the cakes with whipped cream.

I also experimented with different pans in which to cook-off the shortcakes. A half sheet pan was too large and they spread too much for my visual taste.  They didn’t stay round in my 9-inch cast iron skillet so the next time around I’m going to bake them on a ¼ sheet pan.  Also, you could leave them in a 2-inch square but I kind of like them round. That’s the beauty of recipes you can adapt them in so many ways.

Makes 9 servings

3 large eggs
½ cup (4 oz ) heavy cream
3 cups (13 ½ oz / 385 g ) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons (¾ oz / 20 g) baking powder
½ cup (3 ½ oz/ 100 g)  granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon cardamom, ground using a mortar and pestle
zest of an orange, organic if possible
10 tablespoons (5 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into small dice
¼ cup sliced almonds
Sanding sugar, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a ¼ size baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup whisk 2 eggs in heavy cream. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Measure out the flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, cardamom, and zest. Place in the bowl of a food processor. Using the metal “S” blade pulse a couple of times to combine the dry ingredents.  Toss half the butter on top of the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is pea-size. Add the remaining butter and pulse again until the second batch of butter becomes pea-size bits, 10 to 12 times.

Stop the machine and pour the cream mixture over flour mixture. Pulse until some large clumps begin to form, 25 to 30 times. Tip out onto a counter, gather the dough and form until it can hold its shape and pat out to a 6 x 6 inch square. Cut dough into nine 2 x 2 inch squares. Leave as squares or form each into a 2-inch disk (think small hockey puck).

Place shortcakes on the parchment lined baking sheet. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water. Lightly brush shortcake tops.  Press a few almonds slices on top of each. Brush the almonds with additonal beaten egg and if using sprinkle with sanding sugar.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden.

2 quarts strawberries, washed, hulled, and sliced
1 cup (7 oz ) granulated sugar, divided
Zest of one lemon, organic if possible
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Juice of one orange, organic if possible
1 pound rhubarb (8 – 10, 16″ stalks), sliced ¼-inch thick, organic if possible
Pinch of kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger

In a medium bowl toss the berries with ½ cup of sugar, lemon zest, lemon and orange juices. Set aside for about 3o minutes, stirring occasionally and allow the berries to release some liquid.

Afterwards, using a fine mesh strainer, strain the berries, collecting the accumulated juices in a medium saucepan. Return the strawberries to the bowl and set aside.

Add the rhubarb, remaining sugar, salt, and ginger to the saucepan along with the strawberry juices and bring to a boil over medium heat over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until rhubarb is soft and liquid has thickened. This should take about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Mix the rhubarb mixture with the strawberries. Serve with the cardamon shortcakes.

Maple Whipped Cream:
1 pint heavy cream
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Whisk together in a bowl until a light cream forms. Serve with the shortcakes and compote.


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