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Farm House Summer Treats

In my memory bank there lives memories of hot evenings on the front steps of our farm house enjoying rare treats of shortcake piled with clouds of farm fresh whipped cream. We milked our own cows and after separating the milk from the cream, we poured it into those sterilized tin pails and sold it all. On rare occasions Mom and Dad would allow us to have some of the whipping cream as a treat, and it was so delicious.

When our daughter was very young I would recreate this memory of pure joy for her to enjoy. Even though there were scrumptious cakes to be eaten with the many variations of fruit and whipped cream, our daughter would simply sit on the kitchen floor licking out the whipping cream bowl, wearing most of it on her face.

My recipe used mixed berries, but that’s the beauty of shortcakes: you can infuse the cakes with a variety of flavors, and use whatever berries are in season. I just had to drizzle some of the wild farm fresh honey I found while shopping at the Farmer’s market because it rounded the flavors off so well.

Enjoy this dessert and please, if you have children big or small, let them lick out the whipping cream bowl.

Orange Shortcakes with Mixed Berries and Wild Farm Fresh Honey

2 cups flour

1 tbsp. sugar

1 tbsp. baking powder

½ tsp. salt

8 tbsp. cold butter

⅔ + ¼ cup half and half cream

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tbsp. orange zest

1 tsp. orange juice

1½ cups fresh raspberries – divided

1½ cups fresh sliced strawberries – divided

1 cup fresh blueberries – divided

¾ cup sugar

1 tbsp. lemon juice

1 cup whipping cream

2 tbsp. icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

¼ cup farm fresh honey

Preheat oven to 400°F

In the bowl of a food processor place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, blend to combine. Add the cold butter by tablespoons and pulse after each addition until coarse meal forms. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in ⅔ cup half and half cream, vanilla, orange zest and orange juice. Gently, mix with a wooden spoon until soft dough forms. Do not over mix the dough, as it will become tough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Fold it over itself a few times until it comes together then pat dough out to a ¾ inch thickness. Cut out 8 round - 3-inch shortcakes. Place on a parchment lined baking pan. Brush the tops with the remaining ¼ cup half and half cream then bake for 12 to 15 minutes until nicely golden and browned. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, combine 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup strawberries, 1 cup blueberries, sugar and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes, until the berries have broken up and sugar has dissolved. Transfer mixture to a food processor and puree; force the berry mixture through a fine sieve to remove all the seeds and pulp. Discard the pulp and return berry juices to the same saucepan, add the remaining whole berries and simmer until warm.

Into the chilled bowl of an electric mixer pour in the whipping cream, icing sugar and vanilla. Whip on high speed just until stiff peaks form. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Split the shortcakes in half horizontally. Place the bottom slice on a plate spoon the mixed berry sauce onto the shortcake bottom, spoon on some of the whipped cream, place the top of the shortcake on top.

Garnish with more berry sauce and drizzle with the farm fresh wild honey.

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