Blackberry-Lime Cornmeal Shortcakes

Juicy blackberries, fluffy cream, and tender shortcakes collide in this cornmeal and lime-flecked twist on a summer classic.


For the shortcakes

  • 1 Cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 Cup (40 g) medium-grind cornmeal
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons finely grated lime zest
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen until hard
  • 1/2 Cup plus 1 tablespoon (120 ml) cold heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon Demerara sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling

  • 4 Cups (440 g) fresh blackberries
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 teaspoon (65 g) granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 1 Cup cold, heavy cream
  • Additional lime zest, for garnish


Calories Per Serving867

Folate equivalent (total)158µg39%

Riboflavin (B2)0.4mg21.5%

Recipe Summary

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 cup cold heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1 1/2 pounds peaches, halved, pitted, and cut into 1/4-inch slices (5 cups)
  • 5 ounces blueberries (3/4 cup)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and granulated sugar. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate butter into flour mixture. Using your fingers, incorporate butter into flour mixture, breaking it into even smaller pieces. With a fork, stir in buttermilk until dough just comes together. Lightly flour a rolling pin and work surface and roll out dough to a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle. Cut into 6 squares (or rectangles).

Place dough squares, 3 inches apart, on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush tops with buttermilk and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake until shortcakes are golden and puffed, 17 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat cream and confectioners' sugar on high until stiff peaks form, about 3 minutes. Cut shortcakes in half horizontally. Divide peaches among bottom halves, top with whipped cream and blueberries, and sandwich with top halves.

Cooking with Fruits and Vegetables

A Fresh, Colorful Approach to Fruits and Vegetables (Running Press, 2011 $25), author Cheryl Sternman Rule offers readers an upfront description of exactly what to expect: ?What you?ll find in these pages is sensory, pretty, practical, and fun. Why? Because those other, more serious books have already been written, and written quite well?Instead, I want to excite you and show you a good time.?

And it?s hard not to be excited about this cookbook, which so vibrantly celebrates fruits and vegetables and offers delectable recipes that put flavor front and center. The luscious, color-saturated photographs by Paulette Phlipot provide rich, sensory detail, tempting the reader to take a bite and inhale the fresh or savory flavor. Organized by color (red, orange, yellow, green, purple, and white), each fruit or vegetable is accompanied by a recipe and a selection of ?Simple Uses,? which Sternman describes as ?quick-hit ingredient combos? to inspire other creative culinary uses for the produce.

The recipes, text, and photos excerpted from Ripe in the following pages provide a glimpse of the book?s many mouthwatering possibilities and a sense of the powerful role that Phlipot?s beautiful photographs play in paying homage to all things ripe and wonderful.

Avocado Tangerine Salsa

Is it a salsa or a guacamole? Questions like this give me a headache. Here is what?s important: it?s a vivid amalgamation of the two, with bright, citrusy flavors and a swift chile kick. The proportions are completely flexible and may be modified to suit your taste. You can also swap blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, or even navel oranges for the tangerines?but no tomatoes! Double, triple, or sextuple the recipe to feed a crowd.

4 small seedless tangerines, peeled and white pith removed

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

1½ teaspoons minced jalapeño or red chile, or to taste

Tortilla chips, for serving

Dice the tangerines. In a small bowl, gently combine the tangerines, avocado, onion, cilantro, chile, and lime juice. Season with sea salt to taste. Serve with tortilla chips.

Polenta-Stuffed Chard with Bubbly Parmesan

These gorgeous green parcels, best eaten on a Sunday night in front of a fire, are both dramatic and comforting (think lasagna but without the pasta, ricotta, or mozzarella). Buy the largest Swiss chard leaves you can find, and keep in mind that the polenta takes an hour to chill.

¾ cup dry polenta (coarse cornmeal)

1 cup packed grated Parmesan cheese, divided

1¼ cups your favorite marinara or tomato sauce, divided

8 very large leaves Swiss chard, swished in cool water

Coat a 9½-inch square pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment.

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to allow a gentle gurgle. Cook until thick and porridgelike, 10 to 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the butter, half the cheese, and a generous pinch of pepper.

Scrape the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Cool for 15 minutes at room temperature, then refrigerate until cold, at least 1 hour. (After 1 hour, cover with plastic wrap.) Unmold and cut into eight 4-by-2-inch rectangles. Wipe the baking pan dry and spread ½ cup of marinara along the bottom.

Preheat oven to 400° and bring a kettle of water to a boil. Have several layers of paper towels on hand.

Make a narrow, upside-down V-shaped cut about halfway down each chard leaf to remove the thick central steam. Place the leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soften for 6 minutes. Remove to the paper towels and pat very dry.

To form the rolls, lay 1 chard leaf on a cutting board. Lay 1 polenta rectangle horizontally along the bottom of the leaf and spoon 1 teaspoon of marinara on top. Roll the leaf upward?burritolike?encasing the polenta, and transfer to the baking pan seam side down. Repeat, nestling the rolls next to one other. Spoon the remaining sauce on top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

Take for 10 minutes and then slip under the broiler for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the cheese. Serve hot.

Blackberry-Lime Cornmeal Shortcakes

Juicy blackberries, fluffy cream, and tender shortcakes collide in this cornmeal and lime-flecked twist on a summer classic.

1 cup all-purpose flour ? cup medium-grind cornmeal

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen until hard

½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cold heavy cream

1½ teaspoons demerara sugar, for sprinkling

4 cups fresh blackberries

¼ cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Additional lime zest, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, granulated sugar, and zest. Using the large holes on a box grater, grate the butter over the dry ingredients. Fluff gently with a fork. Drizzle with the ½ cup of cream.

Stir with a wooden spoon just until the ingredients cohere and no visible floury bits remain.

Transfer the dough to a floured board and form into a 4½-inch diameter, 1-inch-high disc. Cut into quarters and transfer to baking sheet. Brush with the remaining tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Bake until golden, risen, and firm to the touch, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. Cut in half horizontally.

How to Make It

In a bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. With pastry blender or fingers, cut or rub in 5 tablespoons butter until largest lumps are 1/4-inch pieces.

In another bowl, beat to blend caramel topping, 1/3 cup half-and-half, and egg. Pour into flour mixture and stir just until moistened.

Pat dough into a ball. Knead on a lightly floured board just until smooth, about 10 turns add flour to board as required to prevent sticking.

Pat dough into a 6 1/2-inch round. Cut into 8 wedges and place pieces about 1 inch apart on a nonstick or lightly buttered 12- by 15-inch baking sheet.

Brush shortcake wedges with remaining 1 tablespoon half-and-half. Combine pine nuts with sugar and cinnamon gently pat onto shortcakes.

Bake in a 375° oven until dark gold, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool on a rack.

In a bowl, mix sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and lime peel with lime juice to make lime cream.

Split shortcakes in half. Place each bottom on a dessert plate. Combine raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries and spoon equally over shortcake bottoms. Spoon lime cream over berries, then place shortcake tops on cream.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar, divided, plus more for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fine plain yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon raspberry liqueur (optional)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Beat butter and 1⁄2 cup of the powdered sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in 1⁄2 teaspoon of the vanilla. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, and salt in a bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a flat disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Roll 1 disk of dough 1⁄4 inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Cut into 6 (4-inch) circles. Cut a 2 1⁄2-inch star from center of each circle (you should have 6 circles and 6 star cookies). Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake in preheated oven until beginning to brown around edges, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on baking sheets 5 minutes transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Repeat process with remaining disk of dough, omitting star cutouts.

Gently stir together raspberries, blueberries, granulated sugar, and, if desired, liqueur. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until syrupy, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, place cream cheese, lemon juice, remaining 1⁄4 cup powdered sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until creamy and smooth, about 1 minute.

Place cream in a separate medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until foamy. Increase speed to high, and beat until soft peaks form. Stir one-fourth of whipped cream into cream cheese mixture. Gently fold remaining whipped cream into mixture. Cover and chill until ready to use.

To assemble each shortcake, place 1 circle cookie (without cutout) on a plate and top with about 1⁄4 cup whipped cream mixture. Top cream with 3 tablespoons berry mixture top with 1 star-cutout cookie. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Blackberry Lime Shortcake Cake:

What&rsquos a &ldquoshortcake cake&rdquo you may ask? Well, it&rsquos all the things you love about shortcake served in cake form. Like this&hellip

Not only does it look beautiful, but I find it so easy to serve this way. Normally, you need to prepare individual shortcakes just before serving. With a shortcake cake, all you do is slice, serve, and enjoy!

Although the recipe may sound a bit complicated, you&rsquoll find it&rsquos easy to make.

From our Annual Open House and Tomato Day events!

And now for your enjoyment we offer all the great recipes from Open House and Tomato Days past!

Open House 2017 – Sage Scented Shortbread Savory Biscotti Italian Salsa Verde Sweet & Easy: Apricot Blondies with Monarda Herbed Cream Cheese Dip Cilantro Lime Rice Cilantro and Ginger Hummus Feta and Mint Dip Lemon Balm Pesto Cilantro Pesto Red Lentil Soup

Open House 2016 – Orange Mint Fudge Brownies Mediterranean Tomato & Rosemary Soup Black Olive Pesto Calendula, Chive and Curly Leaf Parsley Butter Hot Mess Habanero Pepper Jelly Candy Sweet Pepper Jelly Shane’s Salsa Strawberry Balsamic Vinaigrette Tabouli Za’atar (If you can’t find it ready-made) Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake Herb and Cheese Quick Bread Lemongrass-Ginger Cookies Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

Open House 2015 – Creamy Rosemary Pesto Burnet Dip Nasturtium Dip French Boursin Roasted Red Pepper Spread Grapefruit Salad with JicamaCandied Pecans Herb Garden Punch Lemongrass Snowballs Ajo Cheddar, Sage and Walnut Torta Basil Pesto Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Walnuts Rosemary Orange Marmalade Marinated Herbed Olives Raspberry-Lemon Verbena Butter Catnap Honey

Open House 2014 – Chamomile Pound Cake Herbed Sour Cream Blue Cheese Dip Green Goddess Chive Dressing Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes Apricot Sage Cornmeal Cookies Lemon Lavender Curd Rose Geranium & Strawberry Jam Carrot, Tarragon & Walnut bread Feta & Tarragon Pita Toasts Lemon Verbena Pesto French Boursin Ajaka Basil Pesto Spa Water

Open House 2013 – Lentil Salad Walnut Rosemary Brittle with Sea Salt Za’atar-Spiced Beet Dip with Goat Cheese and Walnuts Winter Mixed Herb Pesto Lemon Verbena Sugar Cookies Three Herb Sesame Pesto Crunchy Granola Tarragon Herb Dip Gluten-Free Sage Cornbread Roasted Red Pepper and Oregano Spread Corsican Basil Pesto Fiona’s Traditional Elderflower Cordial Creamy Herb Dressing Herb de Provence Orange Butter Cookies Herb de Provence

Open House 2012 – Sage Pesto Rose Petal Pesto Rosemary Orange Pesto Asian Super Slaw Spicy Parmesan Butter Rose Scented Geranium Shortbread Frances’ Secret Lavender Chocolate Chip Cookies Roasted Garlic and Almond Spread Rose Petal Jelly Lemon Balm-Blueberry Cake Spinach and White Bean Dip French Boursin Lemon Verbena-Apple Mint Tea Lazy Daze Tea

Open House 2011 – Roasted Red Pepper Spread Orzo Salad with Vegetables and Herbs Horseradish Dill Dip Spiced Herbed Nuts Cheddar, Sage and Walnut Torta Hibiscus Heaven Tea Lime Mint Sugar Cookies Scented Geranium Lemonade Horseradish Meatballs Rosemary Horseradish Pesto Herbed Pickles Lemon-Lavender Pound Cake Basil Pesto Roasted Potato Salad Blackberry Jam w/ Lemon Verbena No Knead ‘French’ Bread Chamomile Tea Cookies Cinnamon Chipotle Basil Brownies

Open House 2010 – Dill Pesto Dill and Lemon Thyme Butter Creamy Lemon Basil Pesto Orange Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies Herb Garden Punch Savory Basil Slice and Bakes Lemongrass Snowballs Garlicky Lavender Curry Hummus Rustic Roasted Tomato Salsa Red Coleslaw with Mint Dressing Chilled Lemony Mushrooms Beurre Blanc with Herbs Serendipitea Tea Spicy Lemon Verbena Meatballs Ajo Rosemary Walnut Biscotti Dill, Feta, Burnet and Garlic Cream Cheese Spread Chocolate – Lime Crumbcakes

Open House 2009 – Italian Hummus Grapefruit Salad with Jicama Lemon Grass Butter Pizza Herbs and Vegetable Cheese Spread Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Herbal Dip Razzlemint Tea Lavender and Orange Glazed Almonds Herb Marinated Olives Pineapple Sage Pound Cake Greek Lemon-Herb Cookies Scented Geranium Lemonade Cranberry Sage Chutney Bay Laurel Peaches Bay Leaf Pound Cake

Open House 2008 – Lemon Verbena-Walnut Loaf Cake Chai Shortbread Cookies Tequila Oregano Butter Pineapple Mint and Basil Ricotta Spread Fresh Herb Jelly Goat Cheese and Herb Dip Honey Lime Geranium Oat Muffins Three Basil Pesto Double Chocolate Mint Decadence Sage-Feta Cornbread Popcorn Chickpeas Pink Lavender Lemonade Razzlemint Tea Pistachio Mixed Herb Pesto

Open House 2007 – Feta with Pine Nuts and Honey Green Olive Tapenade Lemon Balm Fruit Dip Thai Oil Coconut and Rose Scented Geranium Cupcakes Three Seed Cookies with Citrus Flavored Herbs Green Skordalia Cheddar, Sage and Walnut Torta Sara’s Dilly Burnet Butter Lemon and Mint Curd Lavender Punch Rosemary Orange Pound Cake Lemon Balm and Basil Pesto Rosemary’s Spiced Lavender Walnuts Creamy Herb Dressing Hibiscus Heaven Tea

Open House 2003 – Creamy Oregano Pesto Fruited Lemon Biscotti Chocolate Chip-Basil Batter Bread Apple-Anise Oatmeal Cookies Lemon and Lime Basil Butter Creamy Herb and Spinach Vegetable Dip Basil and Eggplant Pesto Lemon Thyme, Rose Petal, and Lavender Glazed Tea Cake Cheese Torta with Basil, Olives, and Sundried Tomatoes Scented Geranium Lemonade Garlic Butter Charred Pineapple Relish with Thai Basil and Orange Mint Sweet Marjoram Papaya Marmalade Buttermilk Corn Muffins with Sage All Season Zesty Zucchini Rosemary Pickles Triple Lemon Tea Marinated Herbed Olives Basil Cream Sauce


Tomato Day 2007 – Trapanese Pesto Tomato Dip Basil Curry Dip Pesto Fraise Basilic (Strawberry Basil Pesto) Triple Lemon Tea Minty Grape Punch

Tomato Day 2006 – African Blue Basil Pesto Herb Garden Punch Rosemary Pesto Creamy Tarragon Pesto Cinnamon Basil Pesto Sage Pesto Basil Curry Dip

Tomato Day 2004 – High Thai Pesto Mediterranean Pesto Herb Garden Punch Purple Pesto Lemon Basil Pesto Sage Pesto Genovese or Italian Basil Pesto

Tomato Day 2003 – Sorrel Ginger Pesto Mediterranean Pesto Citrus-Mint Iced Tea Ajo Nancy’s Mint Cookies

Make sure your herbal pantry is well stocked, because you will want to try each and every one of these recipes!

Lemon Blueberry Cornmeal Shortcake

Gluten-free, made with cornmeal, almond meal, avocado oil, coconut sugar, Greek yogurt, and blueberries.


  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 2 Pints Fresh Blueberries
  • 5 Tablespoons Maple Syrup, Divided
  • 6 Tablespoons Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, Divided
  • 1 cup Stone Ground Cornmeal
  • ½ cups Almond Meal
  • 1-½ teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • ¾ cups Coconut Sugar
  • ¼ cups Avocado Oil
  • ½ cups Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Lemon, Zested
  • 1 pint Heavy Or Whipping Cream


Preheat oven to 350ºF and spray and 8 x 8-inch baking pan with olive oil cooking spray.

Combine the blueberries with ¼ cup maple syrup and ¼ cup lemon juice and set aside.

Vigorously whisk together cornmeal, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and coconut sugar to combine and break up any lumps. Add avocado oil, yogurt, eggs, remaining 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, vanilla and lemon zest. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat on medium speed until the mixture is well combined, about 30 seconds.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 25–30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely then cut into 9 equal pieces and slice each piece through the middle to create shortcakes.

In a large chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy/whipping cream and remaining 1 tablespoon of maple syrup to soft peaks in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. (You can substitute canned whipped cream as a shortcut.)

Spoon about ½ cup (3 ounces) of the blueberry mixture on the shortcake bottoms and dollop on some of the fresh whipped cream. Cover with the other shortcake halves and more whipped cream. Garnish the tops with a few more blueberries, fresh mint, and a slice of lemon if desired.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk

Preheat an oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease an 8-inch baking pan.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a knife or pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg and milk in another bowl stir into flour mixture until batter is just blended. Spread batter in the prepared baking pan.

Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

Recipes: Cornmeal Shortcake With Berries

Note: In the South, the shortcake biscuits in this dish are often served warm. If you bake them ahead of time, place them on a baking sheet and warm in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes or so before serving. Then "dress" the shortcakes with the berry sauce and whipped cream and serve right away. From Joyce White.

• 11/2 c. all-purpose unbleached flour

• 1/3 c. fine-grain cornmeal, such as Indian Head or Arrowhead Mills

• 8 tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled

• 1 egg, at room temperature

• 1/3 c. buttermilk or 1/4 c. plain yogurt mixed with 2 tbsp. water, at room temperature

• 3 c. blueberries or blackberries

• 1/3 c. honey or sugar, or to taste

• 1 tsp. ground or grated allspice

• 2 or 3 tbsp. B&B or Benedictine Liqueur

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

To prepare the shortcake: Sift the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large, shallow bowl. Cut the chilled butter into 1/2-inch size pieces (or smaller) and place into the bowl and stir to mix well. Using a pastry cutter or two knives, quickly cut the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal and then set aside.

Place the egg into a small bowl and beat briskly with a fork for a few seconds. Then stir in the buttermilk or the yogurt mixed with the water and again beat swiftly until well-blended. Sprinkle the egg mixture over the flour and cornmeal mixture and, using a fork, quickly stir the dampened dough together and then gather into a disk or ball.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and dust with flour if it sticks. Knead the dough lightly a couple of times. Then roll or pat the dough into a circle about 3/4 -inch thick and 8 to 9 inches in diameter. (At this point you can set the layer of dough in the refrigerator and chill it for a few minutes, if desired.)

Then, using a floured 21/2-inch cookie cutter, cut the dough into biscuits. Form the scraps into a ball, roll again, and cut again into biscuits. You should have 6 or 7 biscuits.

Place the biscuits on a lightly buttered baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Set the pan of biscuits on the lower oven shelf and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are puffy and lightly browned. Watch carefully and don't overbake the biscuits.

Remove the baked biscuits from the oven and set on a wire rack. Then, using a serrated knife, split each biscuit in half horizontally and set aside.

To prepare the topping: Rinse the berries with room temperature water and drain in a colander set aside. Combine the lemon juice, honey, allspice and grated lemon peel in a medium saucepan. Place the pan on medium high heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat, stir in the liqueur and cook the sauce over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the berries and immediately reduce the heat to low. Simmer the berries, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until they begin to release their juice, but remain whole. Remove the berries from the heat and allow to cool in the pan.

To serve: Pour the heavy cream into a small chilled bowl, stir in the sugar and mix well. Using a hand beater, whip the cream only until it forms soft peaks.

Spoon about 1/3 cup of the berries and juice over the bottom half of the biscuits, dividing evenly. Add a dab of the whipped cream. Replace the biscuit tops and dab on the whipped cream again. Serve the shortcakes immediately.


Note: The mango and papaya add a Caribbean edge to this delectable dish. From Joyce White.

• 1 quart fresh strawberries (4 c.), hulled

• 2 c. raspberries or blueberries

• 2 ripe mangoes or 1 large papaya

• 1/2 c. honey or turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw, or more if desired

• 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, nutmeg or mace

• 1/4 c. orange flavored liqueur, such as Triple Sec or Grand Marnier or Cointreau

• Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

If the strawberries are large, slice them into halves or quarters. Place them with the other berries in a large glass bowl.

Carefully peel the mangoes and cut into 1-inch pieces, discarding the pits. Or, peel and dice the papaya, discarding the seeds.

Add the mangoes or papaya to the berries. Squeeze lemon juice over them, mix well, and set aside.

Meanwhile, combine in a small saucepan the honey or sugar, water and spice. Set the pan on moderate high heat and bring the sauce to a gentle boil, stirring. Cook the sauce for 4 or 5 minutes or until the syrup thickens. Stir in the liqueur and heat a few minutes longer.

Remove the syrup from the heat and pour over the berries and mango or papaya, mixing well. Cool and then chill the fruit for 1 hour or longer.

At serving, spoon the chilled fruit into chilled glass bowls or large red wine glasses, ladling over the syrup. Top each serving with a scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.


Note: My only and beloved sister -- 16 years my senior -- was the head cook in a cafe in our rural village in southern Alabama. This is hers. From Joyce White.

• 1 fully baked 9 or 10-in. pie or tart crust

• 3 to 4 c. strawberries and blueberries

• 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, or more if desired

• 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg, or more if desired

• 2 or 3 tbsp. orange liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, if desired

• 1/2 c. raspberry, currant or strawberry preserves or jelly

• 1 tbsp. orange liqueur, rum or apple juice

Remove stems from the berries, rinse and drain in a colander. Place drained berries on a double layer of paper toweling and dab lightly to dry. Allow the berries to continue air drying while you prepare the custard:

In a medium bowl, stir together 1/4 cup milk, egg yolks and vanilla extract, then beat briskly with a fork until well-blended, and set aside.

Combine flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt and nutmeg in a heavy medium-size saucepan. Stir in the remaining 13/4 cups milk, whisking to combine well. Place the pan over medium high heat and bring the milk mixture to a gentle boil, stirring well. Add the butter and mix again. Cook the milk and flour mixture, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until it is thick and smooth, watching carefully to prevent scorching.

When the milk mixture thickens, remove the pan from heat and stir a few tablespoons of the hot mixture into the beaten egg yolk mixture and whisk until well-blended. Continue whisking in about half of the hot milk to the egg yolks, beating briskly after each addition. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the hot milk and beat until well-blended.

Place the saucepan back on the heat and cook the custard over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the custard comes to a boil again and is as thick as mayonnaise.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the rum or liqueur, mixing well. Pour the custard through a fine strainer into a large bowl. Set the bowl on a wire rack and cool thoroughly, stirring occasionally to release steam. When the custard is at room temperature, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and chill until cold, at least 2 hours, but preferably overnight.

To assemble the pie for serving: If using preserves, press through a fine sieve into a small heavy pan to remove seeds. Then stir in a generous tablespoon of liqueur or rum or brandy or apple juice.

Place the pan on medium low heat and heat the preserves or jelly just for a few minutes or until melted, stirring briskly. Remove the pan from the heat.

Brush the bottom and sides of the pie or tart crust lightly with a couple tablespoons of the melted preserves or jelly. Spoon the custard into the pie or tart shell, spread evenly, filling just to the top of the rim of the pie or tart pan.

Arrange the berries in a concentric circle over the top of the filling, then spoon the remaining melted jelly or preserves over the berries. Serve the pie or tart immediately. If you must refrigerate, allow the pie or tart to sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes before serving to warm up the pastry.