Strawberries and rhubarb mingle their sweet and tart natures making the balance of this dessert just perfect for the rich vanilla scented shortcakes and cream with its hint of ginger. Rhubarb and Strawberry Vanilla Scented Shortcakes
makes 8 round shortcakes
- 1 pound rhubarb cut into ½-inch chunks
- .75 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon for the shortcakes & 2 teaspoons for the cream
- 1 two-inch piece ginger peeled and halved lengthwise
- 2 cardamom pods
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 cup heavy cream divided, plus more as needed
- 3 tablespoon butter melted
- ½ cup crème fraîche
- ½ cup candied ginger minced, as garnish
- 2 cup fresh strawberries cut into ½ inch thick slices
For the rhubarb: Toss the rhubarb, 3/4 cups sugar, fresh peeled ginger, and cardamom pods in a glass container. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Turn the mixture once or twice to evenly distribute the sugar.
Place a fine-mesh sieve over a medium saucepan. Gently pour the rhubarb mixture through the sieve into the saucepan to collect the accumulated juices. Remove the sieve with the rhubarb and place over a bowl. Remove and discard the ginger and cardamom.
Bring the liquid and any undissolved sugar in the saucepan to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring gently, until all of the sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add the rhubarb to the saucepan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the rhubarb just begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the rhubarb mixture from the heat and reserve at room temperature. The rhubarb will continue to soften as it sits.
For the vanilla shortcakes: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Sift flour, salt, baking powder & 1 tablespoon sugar into a large mixing bowl. Slit the vanilla bean and, using a sharp paring knife, scrape the seeds into flour mixture and reserve the pod for another use. Stir the flour mixture to distribute the vanilla seeds.
Add 1 cup cream and mix into the flour with a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula. Add more cream as necessary until the dry ingredients become a firm ball of dough with no dry spots; it should not be sticky.
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 20 times, until the dough becomes smooth but not shiny, and firm but pliable. Pat the dough into a 9-inch square.
Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut 8 rounds of biscuit dough as close to one another as possible, re-rolling the dough gently if necessary.
Brush each shortcake on both sides with the melted butter to lightly coat, and place on an un-greased baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until puffed and lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
Place the shortcakes on a wire rack and allow to cool completely.
For the whipped cream: Place the stainless-steel bowl and whip attachment for an electric mixer in the freezer 10 minutes before whipping the cream. Place the crème fraîche, 1 cup cream, and 2 teaspoons sugar in the chilled bowl and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Gently stir in most of the candied ginger, reserving just enough as garnish for all 8 servings. Reserve in the refrigerator until needed.
Place the saucepan with the rhubarb mixture back on the stove over medium-high heat. Add the strawberries and cook until the strawberries are just heated through but still firm, about 2 minutes. Tease the shortcakes apart with a fork. Divide the rhubarb and strawberry mixture among the shortcakes (about ½ cup per serving) and finish each shortcake with a small dollop of whipped cream, and a sprinkle of reserved candied ginger.