Cornmeal Shortcakes

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Cornmeal Shortcakes

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, well chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour plus extra for the work surface
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup chilled buttermilk

Amaretto-Peach Shortcake

  • 1 batch Cornmeal Shortcakes dough
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup chilled whipping cream
  • 7 tablespoons amaretto
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds ripe, juicy peaches or nectarines, pitted and cut into eighths
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Strawberry Shortcake

  • 3 pints strawberries
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 8 Cornmeal Shortcakes
  • 1 1/2 pints strawberry ice cream, slightly softened


  1. Cornmeal Shortcakes: Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a baking sheet.
  2. In a food processor, combine the 2 1/4 cups flour, cornmeal, sugar and baking powder. Pulse to blend. Add the butter and process until a coarse meal forms. With the motor running, add buttermilk through the feed tube just until a crumbly dough forms.
  3. Lightly flour the work surface. Turn the dough out and lightly knead and gather it into a soft ball. Roll the dough out into a 12 x 6-inch rectangle. Cut the dough into 8 equal squares. Transfer the squares to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them well apart.
  4. Bake until the shortcakes are crisp and golden and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Remove from the pan. Use immediately.
  5. Amaretto-Peach Shortcake: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Lightly butter a 10-inch glass pie plate.
  6. Transfer shortcake dough to the prepared pie plate, shaping it into a round about 1 inch thick. Sprinkle the top of the shortcake dough with the white sugar and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let the shortcake cool in the pie plate on a rack for 10 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, in a chilled bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Adding one tablespoon at a time, beat 4 tablespoons of the amaretto into the cream. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  8. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt butter. Stir in peaches, brown sugar, remaining 3 tablespoons amaretto and lemon juice. Cook, gently stirring once or twice, until the syrup is thick and the peaches are just warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes.
  9. Transfer the shortcake to a cutting board. Cut the shortcake in half horizontally. Carefully transfer the shortcake bottom to a large serving plate. Spoon about three quarters of the peaches and their syrup evenly over the shortcake bottom. Carefully set the shortcake top over the peaches. Spoon remaining peaches and syrup over the shortcake top. Drizzle the peaches with some of the whipped cream, cut the shortcake into wedges, and serve immediately, passing the remaining cream at the table.
  10. Strawberry Shortcake: Thinly slice the strawberries. Combine strawberries, sugar and lemon juice. Let stand at room temperature, stirring twice, for 30 minutes.
  11. Split the hot shortcakes horizontally. Place the bottom halves in dessert bowls. Top each shortcake bottom with a scoop of ice cream. Spoon strawberries and their juices evenly over and around, using them all. Place the upper halves of the shortcakes atop the ice cream and strawberries and serve immediately.

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