Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cherry Berry Shortcake and My First Recipe Contest

It all started out with the contest. Do you know the one? Did any of you enter? The contest that Foodbuzz was running for Outstanding in the Field sponsored by Quaker True Delights. Well it called for recipe entries using on or more of the following ingredients:

Cashews • Chocolate • Raspberry • Almond • Bananas • Coconut • Macadamia nuts • Cherries • Cranberries

And the winner gets a trip to Chicago and an amazing outdoor dinner. So I thought... why not? Let's give it a shot! But the ingredients lent themselves more to a sweet concoction than that of a savory one. I can create and make up sauces, dips, appetizers and the like but a dessert? That is not as easy. What would be the point anyway? I never win anything. But the challenge was gnawing at me. I started to brainstorm. Cheesecake kept popping into my head. But could I pull it off? I kept toying with ideas. There were a few. Then it was coming down to the wire. The due date was Feb. 28th. Cheesecake has to be made a day ahead and I hadn't even gotten ingredients or decided the dish completely. Oh hurry up! Just choose, shop and get on with it!

And so I did! What I came up with is a Cherry Berry Shortcake as I call it. From their list, I used raspberries, sour cherries and macadamia nuts. I felt the shortcake idea was something loved by all and not as pretentious as cheesecake can be at times. It is homey and comfortable.

The base or cake I created was inspired by combing parts of my scone recipe with a traditional Scottish shortbread recipe and then I threw in some cream cheese in honor of my jam crescent cookies. I am calling this biscuit a Macadamia Shortbread Scone!

The cream topping was inspired by both clotted cream, whipped cream and cheesecake and has elements of all three in the ingredients and flavor.

As for the berry sauce, I used my grandmother's raspberry sauce for cheesecake as the jumping off point, added the cherries and made a few tweaks here and there.

It wasn't that easy. The hardest part was remembering to write the measurements and ingredients down as I went. Because at times I started small and added. So my paper had many scribbles and crossed out numbers etc.. The end result? Well it was pleasing to the eye and the taste? Soooo fabulously good! It was just amazing! The shortbread scones are right up my alley. My sister, cousins, mom and even my picky husband just couldn't get enough.

Here is my recipe. It is kind of long due to the 3 parts. But it is not really that time consuming.


Macadamia Nut Shortbread Scones

2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar (plus a tiny bit more if you wish for sweeter scones)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
About 1 cup chopped madadamia nuts
10 Tbls. butter (cold)
4 oz. cream cheese (cold)
1/2 cup sour cream (heavy cream that has soured or regular cream or milk will work)

In large bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and baking powder until mixed. Add the macadamia nuts.

Cut the butter and cream cheese into the dry ingredients until it resemble course meal. Add the cream (or milk) and stir until the ingredients hold together and form a dough. Using your hands shape the dough into a 2-3 inch thick log. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray. Pull the cold log of dough out of the refrigerator and roll into plain granulated sugar or cinnamon sugar mixture. Cut into 1 1/2 inch discs and place onto baking sheet. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly colored. Cool.

Sour Cherry, Raspberry Sauce

Zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup pomegranate jelly
1/4 cup raspberry preserves
1 Tbls. cornstarch
1-3 Tbls. sugar
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
3/4 cup frozen sour cherries

Mix the cornstarch, lemon juice and pomegranate jelly in small bowl until combined. Pour into sauce pan along with the raspberry preserves and heat on medium low until no longer cloudy and sauce begins to thicken. Add the frozen fruit and heat until warm and beginning to bubble. The frozen raspberries will begin to break apart. Add sugar to taste. Remove from heat and cool. Can be made a day ahead.

Whipped Lemon Cream

4 oz. cream cheese (softened)
1/3 cup creme fraiche
1/3 cup sour cream (commercial)
3 Tbls. granulated sugar
2-3 Tbls. lemon juice
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4-1/3 cup powdered sugar (to taste)

Combine cream cheese, creme fraiche, sour cream, lemon and granulated sugar until smooth and creamy.

Meanwhile put heavy cream in a large bowl and beat until beginning to thicken. Add vanilla and powdered sugar (to taste). Continue to whip the cream until soft peaks form.

Fold the cream cheese mixture into the whipped cream until just mixed.

Assemble the Dish

Place the macadamia shortbread scone on a plate. Pour a little berry sauce over it. Top with whipped lemon cream and a little more sauce.

Garnish with fresh berries, macadamia nuts or an extra scone piece. Serve immediately.

Now I wonder who won? Have you heard? I cannot find a post or announcement on the Foodbuzz site. I thought the results would be in today or sooner? We shall see. I am not holding my breath. But maybe you should until you try my dessert. It is worth the effort!


Sherry said...

Looks like a winner to me. Macadamia nuts give a new, rich taste to baked goods.

Bren said...

i made something similar not too long ago and it was entirely too good! love the new look!!!

Erin said...

I love the idea of macadamia nuts in the shortbread. That is the kind of pleasant surprise I love when biting into a dessert. I just finished dinner, and have to say I would love some of that dessert right about now! Good luck with the contest!

Nicole said...

Sherry- I just love macadamia nuts. They can be added to nearly anything to make it better!

Bren- Thanks! Mine was good too.

Erin- Oh this dessert was good! And not too too sweet. My sisters and I don't go for too much cake and super sweet things.

Joie de vivre said...

Your new blog design is wonderful!

Robin Sue said...

Very nice dessert. Each year at the first of the nice strawberries I serve my family strawberry stortcake for dinner. They love it!

Maryann said...

This looks so good, Nicole! Good luck in the contest :)

Nicole said...

Joie de vivre- Thank you so much!

Robin Sue- Yes shortcake is a great summer or spring treat. So fresh.

Maryann- Thank you. It is funny as I cannot seem to find out who won or where it is posted. Oh well C'est la vie!

Gloria said...

I love soo Nicole look wonderful!! xxGloria

Nicole said...

Gloria- I thought you might like this one!

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Nicole said...

Vincent- Thank you so much for coming by my blog. I will go check out the Petit Chef! Thanks again!