It’s officially peach season and I’m taking full advantage of it by using the juiciest and sweetest peaches from Harry & David in all of my dessert recipes this month. Enter: peaches and cream shortcakes. Strawberry shortcakes may be the traditional version of this dessert, but using peaches adds a delicious seasonal twist.
Making the peaches and cream shortcakes
All-purpose flour is the best flour to use for the biscuits because it provides a good amount of structure; the baking powder and baking soda will help them rise so that you have enough biscuit to hold up all the toppings. A key tip here is to not overwork your shortcake dough. Overworking it will result in dry and crumbly biscuits.
The addition of salt helps complement the sweetness in the recipe, and unsalted butter provides the best flaky, buttery texture for the biscuits. You’ll also want to make sure the butter is very cold, since warm butter will result in a soft dough that will be hard to work with. You can use milk or buttermilk — either one works fine in this recipe. If the dough gets too soft while working it, pop it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. You can also pause at this step and wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap to finish closer to when you’re ready to bake the biscuits.
When you arrange the biscuits on the baking sheet, arrange them side-by-side so that they’re all touching. They’ll rise up taller this way, since each biscuit will provide support for the others; they’ll all rise evenly together. Brushing the biscuits with heavy cream before baking will also help create a beautiful golden crust, but be sure to only brush them lightly. Adding too much heavy cream can weigh the biscuits down, resulting in flatter ones.
While the biscuits are baking, prepare the peaches. Harry & David’s Oregold Peaches are incredibly sweet and juicy and my favorite peaches to use in this recipe. You’ll toss the sliced peaches with granulated sugar, which helps enhance the natural sweetness of the peaches.
Serving the shortcakes
Shortcakes can be served warm or cold, but I like to wait until they cool completely to assemble the dessert. This will help the shortcakes hold up once you add the toppings, especially if you use multiple layers of whipped cream and peaches for each shortcake. I recommend serving them immediately after assembling, but if you need to assemble them a few hours in advance such as before hosting a dinner or throwing a party, you can refrigerate the assembled cakes until ready to serve.
If you’re not serving the shortcakes until the following day (though who can wait that long!), you can also wrap the biscuits tightly in plastic wrap and store them on the counter until ready to assemble. The sliced peaches should go in the refrigerator in an airtight container. The whipped cream, stored in a bowl and covered tightly with plastic wrap, should also be refrigerated until ready to use; it will last in the fridge for one to two days.
If you have leftovers, everything will stay fresh for up to two days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. But these leftovers usually don’t last that long in my house…
For the biscuits
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¾ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup milk (or buttermilk)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream (for brushing)
- 2 tablespoons demerara sugar (for topping biscuits)
For the peaches
- 3-4 Harry & David® Oregold® Peaches (sliced)
- ½ cup sugar
For the whipped cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
For the biscuits
- Preheat oven to 400º F.
- In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until completely combined. Using a pastry cutter or a food processor, mix the butter into the dry mixture until coarse crumbs form. Do not over mix.
- Gradually pour in milk or buttermilk and mix until just combined.
- Lightly flour a clean surface with all-purpose flour. Pour the dough onto the floured surface and bring the dough together with floured hands. Gently work the dough until it completely comes together. If the dough gets too soft, pop it in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Dust a rolling pin with flour and gently roll the dough into a rectangle. Fold one side of the dough into the center, then the other. Roll again until the dough is ¾-inch thick. Fold the dough once more into the center from one side, then the other. Roll again into a ¾-inch thick rectangle.
- Using a 2 ¾-inch or 3-inch biscuit cutter, cut 10-12 biscuits from the dough.
- Arrange the biscuits on a sheet pan, making sure each biscuit is touching the other to help them rise taller and evenly. Lightly brush with heavy cream and sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown.
For the peaches
- While the biscuits are baking, slice the peaches and place into a bowl. Sprinkle granulated sugar over the sliced peaches and gently toss. Refrigerate and set aside until ready to use.
Making the whipped cream
- Whisk heavy cream, vanilla extract, and granulated sugar together until stiff peaks form. Chill until ready to use.
- After the shortcakes cool completely, it’s time to assemble. Slice the shortcakes in half, spoon a generous dollop of whipped cream on the bottom shortcake, then follow it with a few peach slices. Place the top shortcake over the peaches, then layer another spoonful of whipped cream followed by more sliced peaches. Serve immediately and enjoy!