sour cherry shortcake with olive oil biscuits | the vanilla bean blog
In the cherry pluckt at night,
With the dew of summer swelling,
There’s a juice of pure delight,
Cool, dark, sweet, divinely smelling.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter
For the eater
In the moonlight.
And you’ll be fairies quite.

When I sound the fairy call,
Gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall,
Cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry,
Take a cherry;
Mine are sounder,
Mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter.
For the eater
When the dews fall.
And you’ll be fairies all.
-Emily Dickinson, Cherry-Time
cherry tree | the vanilla bean blog

sour cherry shortcakes with olive oil biscuits | the vanilla bean blog

sour cherry shortcakes with olive oil biscuits | the vanilla bean blog
A sour cherry tree stumbled into our lives this week, and after greedily picking as many cherries as I could, I am now spending afternoons pitting and freezing my dragon hoard of candied rubies. I want to make anything and everything with them, but I also am loath to use even one. It’s quite the dilemma.

I had been eying a recipe for olive oil biscuits with honey glaze in Maria Speck‘s beautiful new book, and decided to turn my little red gems into sour cherry shortcakes. I am pleased to report my treasure was not wasted. Crisp, honey-glazed biscuits, sour cherries coated in a bit of sugar, and a pile of whipped cream make the perfect end to a hot, summer day. Merry, merry, take a cherry | mine are sweeter, for the eater.

sour cherry shortcakes with olive oil biscuits | the vanilla bean blog
Sour Cherry Shortcakes with Olive Oil Biscuits
Biscuit recipe adapted from Simply Ancient Grains by Maria Speck.

Maria’s biscuit recipe is a savory one – there is no sugar in the biscuits, and the glaze has a bit of cracked pepper. Since I wanted to make this a sweet application, I added some sugar and omitted the pepper. The original recipe also calls for 2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour; I used 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat.

I found these biscuits to be very unique, and a good vessel for shortcake filling. The biscuits are not like a usual shortcake; they are a bit crisp on the outside, and tender but dense inside, which is great for all the cherry-juice soaking. I really liked the honey and olive oil combination with the sour cherries. If you are looking for a typical shortcake biscuit (more like an American scone), this is not it.

for the cherries
3 cups sour cherries, washed and pitted
1/4-1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kirsh
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
pinch of salt

for the biscuits
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk, shaken

honey glaze
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon honey

Place the cherries in a medium bowl. Combine 1/4 cup sugar, kirsch, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla bean seeds in a small bowl, and pour over the cherries. Stir to combine. Let the cherries sit while you make the biscuits.

Put the olive oil in a small bowl and place it in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. Position your oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat to 500. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together the flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Combine the buttermilk and the olive oil by gradually beating the olive oil into the buttermilk using a fork. Pour all but 2 tablespoons of the buttermilk mixture into the center of the flour. With a fork, start at the center and gently stir and fold the ingredients together until you have a shaggy dough with some flour remaining at the bottom of the bowl. Slowly add just enough of the remaining buttermilk to gather the dough together. The dough will have lumps and look shaggy.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and gently flatten it into a 1/2-1/3 inch rectangle. Fold one half of the dough over the other half, and then gently pat into a rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, using as little flour as possible. Brush any visible flour off the top.

Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces. Place on the baking sheet. Bake the biscuits for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the glaze: add the olive and honey to a small saucepan and briefly warm over low heat, stirring until blended.

Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush with the glaze. Rotate the baking sheet and return the biscuits to the oven. Bake until the tops turn golden brown and the sides have crisped up, 4-5 minutes more. Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool a bit while preparing the cherry sauce.

Make the cherry sauce: Taste a small bit of the cherry juice from the bowl of cherries that has been sitting. If too sour for your liking, add 1-2 more tablespoons of sugar. Place the cherries and all their juices in a strainer, and strain the juice. Place the juice in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until the juice has thickened and has reduced to half its amount. Remove from the heat and add 1 teaspoon of butter, stirring to combine.

To assemble shortcakes: Cut the slightly warm biscuits in half length-wise. Scoop some cherries on one half, along with some of the sauce and whipped cream (recipe follows). Top with the other half and serve.

Whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla (and any stray vanilla bean seeds that may be lingering around)

Add the cream, sugar, and vanilla to a chilled mixer bowl. Beat on low speed until small bubbles form, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to medium and and continue beating, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and continue beating until cream is smooth, thick, and nearly double in volume, and 30 seconds.
sour cherry shortcakes | the vanilla bean blog

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17 Responses to sour cherry shortcakes with olive oil biscuits

  1. Thalia says:

    I’m quite jealous of that sour cherry tree, how beautiful & delicious. These shortcakes look and sound so seasonal and divine… and I am rather eager to make them!

  2. […] been craving shortcakes like crazy and these olive oil bebes smothered in whipped cream and sour cherries from Sarah sound crazy […]

  3. I really like the idea of the sour cherry and hint of olive oil in the biscuits. They look gorgeous.

  4. Amanda says:

    This IS good. Does anyone know out there how to procure such merry cherries west of the Rockies? They don’t exist, I’ve been told, in California.

  5. Really loving those biscuits. This sounds awesome!

  6. Cindy says:

    A sour cherry tree is good for nothing other than a dragons hoard. I became obsessed with them when I lived in Michigan and miss them dearly (I feel lucky to be able to find them frozen). These look like the perfect way to enjoy them. So pretty, too!

  7. So gorgeous and cherries are my favorite. I love the way you photograph using so much light and white. It really makes the food pop. If only it would pop right onto my plate!

  8. Abby says:

    Oh, how gorgeous this is, Sarah! <3

  9. GORRRGEOUUSSSSSS in every way.

  10. Such a lovely poem, it so perfectly pairs with the cheer that fresh cherries bring! Love the use of olive oil biscuits as well!

  11. I have never tried sour cherries before but I really must, because this looks so lovely.

  12. Laura says:

    Love this! I plan to make it very soon. Cherry season is just the best. And I too love using olive oil in biscuits. I love its subtle fruitiness in baked goods.

  13. Perfect intro, and those biscuits have an amazing color to them!

  14. Julia says:

    Have just discovered your blog….amazing! This recipe looks delicious along with so many other things. Thanks for sharing!

  15. […] With my Greek and German roots, I can’t really claim any expertise on Southern food. Yet, I’ve always had a soft spot for the cuisine. And maybe that’s not all too surprising given my lifelong obsession with comforting grains. I could spoon into a bowl of freshly milled corn grits all day long—for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And the allure of biscuits, piping hot from the oven, has been so strong for years that I’ve created my own whole-grain version. This summer, my olive oil biscuits with cracked pepper and honey glaze were transformed by the incredibly talented blogger Sarah Kiefer into breathtaking sour cherry shortcakes. Read about them here. […]

  16. […] And for those with a sweet tooth, try these Sweet Potato Breakfast Biscuits, Blueberry Cobbler Biscuits, or Sour Cherry Shortcakes with Olive Oil Biscuits, […]

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