Red White and Blueberries

A celebration of summer and independence are two good reasons to throw a party, and the fourth of July is perfectly timed to take advantage of the season’s fresh berries. Fireworks and barbecues are de rigueur as skies and grills light up across America. With a nod to the colors of the American flag, this traditional dessert is fresh and festive, making use of an abundance of summer berries while stirring up nostalgic memories of easy summer living.

Shortcake 2

Strawberry and Blueberry Shortcakes
Serves 6

For the biscuits:
2 cups all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chilled, unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1 cup buttermilk

For the berries:
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
12 ounces blueberries
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the whipped cream:
1 cup whipping cream
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the biscuits:
Preheat oven to 400 F.  Sift the flour, 4 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Mix in the butter with fingertips until dough resembles coarse meal. Add buttermilk and stir until sticky dough forms. Drop dough in mounds on ungreased baking sheet.  Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Cool 15 minutes.

Prepare the fruit:
While the biscuits bake, combine strawberries, blueberries, sugar, mint, lemon juice and zest in a bowl. Toss to coat. Let stand 30 minutes (can be prepared 2 hours ahead.)

For the whipped cream:
Beat cream in a bowl of electric mixer until traces of the beater appear. Add sugar and vanilla extract. Beat until soft peaks form, taking care not to overbeat.
To assemble shortcakes, cut each biscuit in half and arrange bottom half on individual serving plates. Spoon berries with juices over; top with whipped cream. Arrange biscuit top over cream.
Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves.