Oh my....Thanksgiving is nearly here and Christmas not far behind. Are you ready? I'm not!
The flavors and spices of the season always make me happy and they also make me think of gingerbread, which I almost always make at least once each holiday season.
Instead, this year I made a cross between a scone and shortbread, but with the flavor of gingerbread. Sort of a holiday, wintery, strawberry (without the berries) shortcake if you like. Pears were used in this recipe, but you could use apples or any seasonal fruit you wish. This was a great success and I'll make it again; it's a lovely dessert for the holidays.
Gingerbread Shortcake with Pears
From :pastry studio, who adapted it from The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur La Table with Cindy Mushet
Ingredients for the Poached Pears:
3 ripe but firm pears
2 1/2 C water
1 C sugar
1 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 vanilla bean, split and seeded
Ingredients for the Gingerbread Shortcakes:
2 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 oz (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2” cubes
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 tablespoons molasses
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 teaspoon water
3 tablespoons turbinado or Hawaiian washed raw sugar
1 cup cold heavy cream
2 teaspoon sugar, to taste
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
To poach the pears:
Bring the water, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla bean to a low simmer. Peel and core the pears. Cut them into 1/4" slices, placing in the poaching liquid as you go. Simmer for about 10 - 15 minutes until tender. Remove from heat and cool completely. Save the poaching syrup.
For the shortcakes:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place the flour, spices, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process for 10 seconds to blend. Add the cold butter pieces and pulse about 5 times or until the butter is cut into smaller pieces. Combine the buttermilk with the molasses, add and pulse just until the dough starts to hold together in large, thick clumps. The mixture will look a bit like dark lumpy cottage cheese. Pour the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gather the dough and gently pat together into a circle about 7” in diameter and about 1” thick. Cut the dough into 8 equal wedges (or any shape you like) and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2” apart.
Beat the egg with 2 teaspoons of water. Brush the tops only of the shortcakes with the egg wash. Sprinkle generously with turbinado or raw sugar and press it gently to secure.
Bake for 14 to 15 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack.
Whip the cream, sugar and vanilla just until very soft peaks form. Don't overbeat.
Gently slice the shortcakes in half. Place a dollop of whipped cream on the bottom half and layer some pears. Drizzle with the poaching liquid and top with the other shortcake half. Serve immediately.