1990s Recipes + Menus

Hazelnut Shortcakes with Tayberries and Balsamic Syrup

May 1995
Tayberries, a blackberry-raspberry cross, were first bred in Scotland, along the Tay River, in 1977 and are commonly grown in the Pacific Northwest. The large, purplish berries lend their vibrant and complex flavor to this dramatic dessert.

For balsamic syrup

  • a 16 1/2- to 17-ounce bottle balsamic vinegar

For biscuits

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted, loose skins rubbed off, cooled, and ground fine
  • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • an egg wash made by beating 1 large egg yolk with 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 3 cups Tayberries or raspberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Garnish:

    confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Make balsamic syrup:

  • Reserve 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar for tossing with berries. In a 2-quart saucepan boil remaining vinegar over moderate heat until reduced to about 1/3 cup, 20 to 25 minutes and cool to room temperature.

Make biscuits while syrup is cooling:

  • Preheat oven to 375° F. and lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • In a bowl stir together flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup hazelnuts. With a pastry blender or your fingertips, blend in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and stir until mixture forms a soft dough.
  • On a lightly floured surface gently knead dough 1 minute and pat out into a 1-inch-thick round about 6 1/2 inches in diameter. Cut dough round into 6 wedges and transfer wedges to prepared baking sheet. Brush wedges with egg wash to coat them. Sprinkle remaining nuts over biscuits and bake biscuits in middle of oven about 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Let biscuits cool completely on a rack.
  • In a bowl toss berries with reserved 1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes, or until berries begin to release their juices.
  • Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape seeds into a bowl. Add cream and remaining tablespoon granulated sugar.
  • With a whisk or an electric mixer beat mixture until it just holds soft peaks.

Assemble shortcakes:

  • Drizzle 6 dessert plates decoratively with some balsamic syrup. Split biscuits horizontally and arrange bottom halves on plates. Spoon whipped cream over bottom halves and top with berries. Drizzle berries with more syrup and arrange biscuit tops on berries. Sprinkle shortcakes with confectioners’ sugar.
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