I have a birthday book — a sort of calendar, with dates but no days of the week or years — to help me remember birthdays. When a new friend’s birth date comes up in conversation or I open my email to find a much-anticipated birth announcement, I make a note in my little book. Then, usually sometime at the beginning of each month, I take a peek to see who’s turning what when and start thinking about cards, presents, parties and cakes(!).
From time to time, however, my system fails me (I fail my own system) when the book forgets to tell me about a birthday (when I forget to write down a birthday). The blank page for July 10 certainly didn’t do me any favours when it came to remembering a very important 1st birthday.
It was one year ago today, after a Canada Day weekend in Quebec City, that I wrote La Fête des fraises: Mass Production Made Good and The Casual Baker was born. Since then, there’s been a road trip down the Pacific coast of North America, a month-long hiatus in South America, a move across the Atlantic from Ottawa to Paris, and nearly 70 blog posts to document my baking (and eating) adventures along the way.
To toast my first year as a blogger, I baked up a couple of Ginger Peach Shortcakes, a tip of the hat to the Strawberry Shortcake that began it all. In my version, spiced pop biscuits are sliced open and filled with fresh peaches and gingered whipped cream. A refreshing dessert fit for a summer BBQ or birthday, as the case may be.
Before I pass along the recipe, I’d like to thank my loyal readers — I know there’s at least a few of you out there — who keep coming back to my virtual kitchen to see what’s baking. I enjoy writing The Casual Baker and it’s icing on the cake that someone enjoys reading it too!
Ginger Peach Shortcakes
Spiced Pop Biscuits:
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg (optional)
2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, chopped finely
¼ cup butter, frozen
6 tablespoons Sprite or 7-UP (not diet/lite)
4 peaches, sliced into wedges
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Gingered Whipped Cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger (or to taste)
About 2 hours before serving the dessert, slice the peaches. Toss them lightly with the lemon juice and brown sugar and let sit at room temperature until you are ready to plate the shortcakes.
To prepare the spiced pop biscuits, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, spices and crystallized ginger in a medium bowl.
Remove the butter from the freezer and use a coarse cheese grater to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Stir lightly to coat the butter in the flour mixture without making a paste. (Keeping the butter extremely colds ensures flaky biscuits. Alternatively, you can use butter from the refrigerator and a pastry blender to create a mixture that resembles coarse oatmeal.)
Add the pop and, using a fork, stir just until the dough comes together. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead lightly a few times until you have a cohesive ball. Roll out the dough to a ¾-inch thickness and let sit for several minutes. Use a drinking glass dipped in flour to cut out 4 biscuits.
Place biscuits on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden on the bottom. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
To prepare the gingered whipped cream, whip the cream in a small bowl with an electric mixer. Just before you reach your desired consistency, add the brown sugar and ginger. Beat to combine.
To plate the desserts, slice open a slightly warm biscuit (either from the oven or re-heated). On the bottom half, spread a dollop of whipped cream. Top with peaches and a small amount of juice, followed by a second dollop of whipped cream. Add the top half of the biscuit and one last flourish of whipped cream. Why not, it’s your birthday.
Notes: Simply remove the cinnamon, nutmeg and crystallized ginger for an equally enjoyable, un-spiced version of the pop biscuit.
Source: The Casual Baker.