The sweet syrup ties the peaches, cream, and biscuit together.
I’ve noticed that folks are often reluctant to generously sweeten the fresh fruit for biscuit shortcake. Me included, but I’m over it. There’s nothing shameful about adding sugar to fresh fruit. In fact, it’s necessary for great shortcake. Sweetening the fruit brings out the flavor and creates the heady syrup that ties the three components–fresh fruit, cream and the biscuit or cake–together. This is no time for scrimping. Without the syrup, there’s no mingling at the party, no greater than the sum of the parts, just dry fruit rolling around a biscuit and a blob of cream. Use whatever carrier you like, be it a slice of angel food cake or a slightly sweet/salty southern biscuit. But, always sweeten the fruit. Here’s a great biscuit shortcake inspired by my Martha White days made with self-rising flour. The biscuit can have just a hint of sugar, or even none at all, but sweeten the fruit.
2 cups self-rising flour
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
6 cups sliced fresh fruit like peaches and/or berries, sweetened to taste
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour and sugar; mix well. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture is crumbly. Add milk and stir with a fork just until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured board or pastry cloth; knead gently just until smooth, about 5 to 7 times. Roll out to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a floured biscuit cutter into rounds or cut into squares with a knife. Place on a baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops with melted butter. Serve shortcakes warm or at room temperature. Split shortcake and butter each side. Fill and top with sweetened fruit. Top with whipped cream. Makes 8 servings.