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Looking for a showstopping summer dessert? Give my Choose-Your-Fruit Shortcake Board a try. With sweet and crumbly homemade shortcakes and a variety of fruit toppings, this beautiful board has something for everyone!
Entertaining is Easier – and Better – With Boards
Though I’d known about boards before, I got into them in a bigger way during our time in Central Oregon. That’s when I met my friend, Sandy.
Not only is Sandy an amazing hostess, but her Reluctant Entertainer food blog and “Big Boards for Families” cookbook have introduced thousands to the joys of boards, including me. It didn’t take me long to realize that boards were the secret sauce in Sandy’s recipe for entertaining.
These days when everybody seems to have a food sensitivity, boards make hospitality much easier. People can pick foods they like and avoid those they don’t. Also, once the board is on the table, the cook is free to spend talking with guests. Isn’t that what hospitality is all about?
I bought three Reluctant Entertainer big boards from House of Hyacinth over the last couple of years – a 26-inch round, a 20-inch round, and a 36-inch rectangle – and use them all the time, both for entertaining and family meals. But my new favorite is the travel board.
This nifty little board folds into a compact 12-inch square when not in use and comes with a leather carrying strap. It’s perfect for picnics, potlucks, and tailgates. Since my new board arrived just as summer fruits and berries were showing up at the supermarket, creating a Choose-Your-Fruit Shortcake Board felt like a great way to try it out.
Choose-Your-Fruit Shortcake Board: Strawberries are Only the Beginning
When you think of shortcake, strawberry is probably the first word that comes to mind. But when it comes to fruit shortcakes, there’s no reason to stop there.
A slightly sweet, homemade shortcake, topped with real whipped cream pairs beautifully with all kinds of summer fruits. I chose strawberries, blueberries, and first-of-the-season peaches for my shortcake board but just about any sweet and juicy, soft but slightly firm textured fruit will work.
Blackberries or raspberries would be delicious. Nectarines, apricots, plums, and even mangos would be terrific paired with shortcakes and whipped cream. If sweet and tart is your cup of tea, think how terrific homemade shortcakes would taste when topped with a quick stovetop sauce made from strawberries, rhubarb, sugar, and a little lemon juice. Yum!
Offering a variety of different shortcake toppings gives guests a chance to choose their favorite, or pick a little of each.
Also, creating a board with a variety of colorful fruit looks really, really pretty.
Assembling Your Choose-Your-Fruit Shortcake Board
Pulling together a pretty shortcake board is easy.
After choosing and washing your fruits, slice them into bite-sized pieces, sprinkle with sugar and stir to combine, and place in serving bowls. I think the board looks best if the bowls match, or at least are the same color. But no matter the bowls, it’ll still look great.
Boards should look bountiful. So after you place the bowls of fruit, whipped cream, or other toppings (chocolate sauce, anyone?) and shortcakes on the board, fill in the spaces with more fruit and berries.
So pretty! And so simple. The only real work you’ll have to do is baking the shortcakes, and that’s fairly simple too.
Making the Shortcakes
Of course, you can always buy shortcakes at the grocery store. But my homemade shortcakes taste so, so much better! The texture is crumbly and tender, and the taste of these biscuit-like shortcakes is rich, buttery, and just sweet enough.
And if that’s not enough to convince you; baking shortcake at home is really easy. All you need is seven ingredients and a hot oven.
After placing the dry ingredients into a bowl and whisking them together, you’ll cut in the butter and mix in the cream. This can absolutely be done by hand, but if you’ve got a food processor, use it.
Once you’ve made the dough and given it a quick knead, form it into a 6-inch by 4-inch rectangle that’s approximately an inch high. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into six equally-sized squares. The six shortcakes will be generously-sized. If you’d like slightly smaller portions, cut eight shortcakes.
You’ll find my homemade shortcake below.Print
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ cup sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- ½ cup very cold, unsalted butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 cup heavy cream, plus extra for brushing
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and set aside.
- Place flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse quickly to distribute. (If making shortcake by hand, place ingredients into a bowl and whisk quickly.)
- Slice the butter into small pieces and place in the processor bowl with the dry ingredients. Pulse for a few seconds, repeating until the butter is broken into small pebbles and the mixture resembles coarse sand. (Alternatively, the butter can be cut in by hand, using a pastry cutter or two knives.)
- Mix the vanilla with the cream and pour into the bowl. Pulse or stir until just combined into a loose dough. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead briefly, creating a firm dough.
- Shape the dough into a 6 by 4 inch rectangle, approximately one-inch high. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 or 8 equally sized squares. Place shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of the shortcakes with cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Place baking pan in the refrigerator while you clean up, or for at least 15 minutes.
- Bake shortcakes on middle rack in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove shortcakes from oven and allow to cool. Slice cooled shortcakes in half. Serve with sugared fruit and whipped cream.