I'm still here. It's just been too hot to bake. Wicked hot. Butter melting off the butter dish hot. So hot that the highway buckled and scrambled my commute home Friday night. Now, judging by all the posts I've seen this past week about the wonderful foods and crafts other people have been working on - I'm clearly the last person left in the US without central air. But it is what it is.
The heat finally broke on Saturday, and I got to hit the Farmer's Market. I scored one of the few quarts of fresh tart cherries to be found and also picked up some early peaches. Then I slept on it. My submission for Bake Together? Gluten Free Chocolate Shortcakes with Cherry-Peach compote and Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream.
My husband's only complaint - I gave it to him in a dish he couldn't lick out. Apparently we have another hit, courtesy of the Master Mind of Bake Together, the lovely and talented Abby Dodge
. Each month, she posts a recipe and then allows the rest of us (her loyal groupies) to do a riff on that recipe. At the end of the month, she includes us all in a round-up of all the variations. So, head over to her blog and get the original recipe
For clarity's sake, I'm going to start with my variation on the shortcakes, and then give the recipes for the compote and the ice cream. In practice, it works better to start the ice cream first. That way, the custard can chill while you bake. And then the shortcakes can cool while you make the compote AND the cherry ripple for the ice cream - which kind of happens in one step.
Gluten Free Chocolate Shortcakes
I followed Abby's recipe pretty faithfully for the shortcakes. I used 2 cups of gluten-free AP flour. I use my own blend, but King Arthur or Thomas Keller's C4C would also work well. Now, my shortcakes spread a little too much. If I were to do it over again, I'd cut both the butter and the sugar back by about 2 Tbsp. Even so, I did follow the directions this time and use the food processor. (Only for you, Abby!) I also added 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper.
\I had Ghiradelli chocolate chips, so I chopped some of those up for the chopped chocolate. My favorite vintage pyrex bowl came out for this, too.
I used 3/4 c. +2 Tbsp of buttermilk. Now, if may seem counter-intuitive to raise BOTH the flour and the milk. But I was trying to counteract the fact the gluten free flours have a little less structure than regular AP - which is why mine spread too much, anyway. So it really does make sense, I promise.
The dough, in gluten free format is a little soft, even once all the flour is incorporated.
Don't try and knead it. You'll only frustrate yourself. I cheated and used my 2-1/2 oz disher and just made drop biscuits. If you're addicted to the idea of squares, you could shape them with your hands a little. Just dust them with tapioca starch or sweet rice flour, first. Bake and cool as directed in the original recipe
Cherry-Peach Compote and Cherry Swirl for Ice Cream
Now, you may not have easy access to fresh tart cherries in your neck of the woods. Frozen will work fine, too. I opted to cook the cherries both for the fruit filling AND the ripple in the ice cream. You'll find that cherries that are frozen and then thawed tend to have a "skunky" flavor if left raw. It's not noticeable when you cook them. And even in Michigan, the tart cherry season is as fleeting as the cool breeze off the lake. I'll be making this again, too, so I wanted that to be an option. If you DO get fresh cherries, you'll need to pit them. My favorite pitter:
You place the cherry in the little hollow, press down the spring loaded plunger, and the pit gets pushed into the jar. Slick! I've worn one out, this is my second.
1 qt fresh (or frozen) tart cherries, pitted
4 medium peaches, peeled, pitted, and chopped
3/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tsbp lemon juice, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon.
Pit the cherries. They're such a fragile fruit, that after discarding the bruised fruit, I had about 3 1/2 c. of pitted cherries.
Place them in a large saucepan. Combine the sugar and cornstarch, then toss with cherries. Stir in 1 Tbsp lemon juice.
Cook over medium-high heat until juices are released and become clear and thickened. Reserve 1/2 of cherry mixture and set aside for later. To the remaining cherries, add the peaches, cinnamon, and remaining 1 Tbsp of lemon juice.
Continue cooking until peaches are warmed through and slightly softened.
Cherry-Vanilla Swirl Ice Cream
4 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. milk
2 1/2 c. heav cream, divided
1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp almond extract
Remaining cherry mixture from compote
Whisk egg yolks and sugar together. Set aside.
In a small saucepan, place milk, 1 c. of cream, and vanilla bean, split. Heat until cream is steaming and small bubbles form at the sides. Remove from heat, cover, and allow to steep for 45 minutes.
Bring cream back up to steaming. Temper into the egg yolk mixture gradually. (In other words, stir small amounts of the milk mixture into the egg mixture until about half is incorporated. Then add the egg mixture back to the milk mixture.). Heat and stir until custard thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon.
Strain custard into a bowl. This will remove both the vanilla bean and any cooked egg bits that remain. Scrape the seeds out of the bean and add back to the custard. Press plastic wrap directly down onto the surface of the custard and refrigerate 6-8 hours or overnight.
Remove custard from the refrigerator and stir in remaining cream and almond extract. Pour into the chamber of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer directions.
Take the remaining cherry mixture and puree it. Pass it through a sieve to remove the solids. Chill it thoroughly. When the ice cream is done churning, layer the ice cream and the cherry mixture in a freezer-safe bowl.
Run a knife through the nixture to swirl, and return the mixture to the freezer to harden.
To serve, put a shortcake in a bowl, top with compote and a scoop of ice cream. (The ice cream tends to freeze a little hard, so be sure to let it sit out for a few minutes before serving.)