Punctuate your Independence Day feast with this all-American combination of berries, biscuits, and bourbon from The Joy of Cooking. Our delicious twist on strawberry shortcake is a patriotic crowd-pleaser. All the components can be made ahead, allowing you to mingle, man the grill, speak reverently of constitutional democracy, or dodge roman candle barrages until it’s time to whip up dessert. Though frozen blueberries are the best choice for adding to the biscuits, we highly recommend using the ripest red berries you can find for the fruit topping—strawberries, raspberries, pitted cherries, even mulberries if you’re lucky enough to find them.
To serve, halve the biscuits (or not) and liberally smear them with Bourbon Hard Sauce. Plate the glazed biscuits and spoon sugared red berries over each biscuit. Just before serving, drizzle some of the berry juice on top.
Blueberry Buttermilk Biscuits
Makes about 24 1 1/2-inch biscuits
For larger servings, you can make ten 2 1/2-inch biscuits instead.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Sift together into a large bowl:
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cut in, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the size of small peas:
6 tablespoons chilled butter
Make a well in the center. Add all at once:
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Stir just until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead gently and quickly, about 8 to 10 times. Roll out with a lightly floured rolling pin, to between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 1 1/2-inch biscuit cutter dipped in flour, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
If desired, brush the tops with:
Bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. If making ahead, let them cool completely and cover in an airtight container.
Bourbon Hard Sauce
Makes about 1 cup
Beat in a bowl until creamy:
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Beat until well blended and fluffy. Add:
2 tablespoons Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
Beat until very smooth. If not using immediately, cover and refrigerate. To serve, bring to room temperature before topping the biscuits. Do not let the sauce sit out in the summer heat for more than 30 minutes.
Makes about 2 cups
Making this ahead will give the flavors time to meld.
Hull (if desired) and slice:
1 quart ripe strawberries (or the ripest red berries you can find)
Mix in a bowl with:
2 tablespoons sugar
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped into the bowl, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Remove the vanilla bean hulls before serving.
Photo by John Becker
Recipe excerpted from JOY OF COOKING by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker. Copyright © 2006 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.