When it comes to short cakes, why do sweets get to have all the fun? Well, they shouldn’t. And now they don’t.
Holy field cows, were these ever freakin’ amazing. I whipped them up as an appetizer – and I don’t remember what we had for dinner, what does that tell you – so we only ate one each. You know, to save room for dinner. And the whole time dinner was being prepped, Matt and I kept looking at each other with sad, puppy-dog eyes, silently and pitifully communicating our strong desire to eat, like, three more short cakes. Each.
While these require three separate steps, it’s really quite the easy dish to pull off. Making the biscuits was the most time-consuming part. I’m categorizing these as an appetizer, mostly because that’s how I served them, but I could see them being part of a brunch spread. Or possibly a stand-in for the salad course. And I certainly wouldn’t judge anyone for eating just these short cakes for dinner (or any other meal, frankly.) I can’t rule out the possibility of doing that myself sometime in the near future…
Make these soon – tomatoes are fresh and in season, everyone’s eating sweet short cakes anyway, so I suppose ’tis the season for savory short cakes, too, right? They really are the perfect summer treat!
Recipe notes: the original recipe called for goat cheese and that’s what I used. If you really don’t groove on goat cheese, I suppose I would sub in ricotta. But you need something that will whip with a hand mixer, so keep that in mind. Secondly, I used heirloom cherry tomatoes because my store had them and they’re pretty. But any cherry tomato variety will do. Just get what looks best that day.
2 cups plus 2 tbs flour, plus more for dusting
2 tbs baking powder
¾ tsp kosher salt
5 tbs chilled unsalted butter
1 scallion, thinly sliced
1 cup whole milk
1 tbs olive oil
1 ½ tbs red wine vinegar
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of sugar
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
½ lb. cherry tomatoes, heirloom or otherwise
WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:
3 tbs heavy cream
4 oz. goat cheese, softened
2 scallions, green parts only, thinly sliced
First, make the BISCUITS:
Preheat the oven to 425 F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together in a large, wide bowl. Add the butter, and use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse meal. If you don’t own a pastry blender, quickly chop the butter into pieces first, then use your fingers or a couple of forks to work in the butter.
Add the scallion and the milk and stir with a firm rubber spatula or wooden spoon until evenly moistened. Lightly flour your hands and knead 7 or 8 times until the mixture comes together and there are no floury bits on the bottom of the bowl.
Now dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Pat it out to about 1-inch thickness and cut into 6 or 8 (3-inch) rounds with a biscuit cutter (I only got 6, which was fine), reforming scraps as need be. Transfer the biscuits to the baking sheet, making sure to space them about 2 inches apart.
Bake until golden brown on top, for about 15 minutes.
While the biscuits are baking, make the TOMATOES:
In the bottom of a medium mixing bowl, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, sugar, and black pepper. Quarter the cherry tomatoes lengthwise and add them to the bowl. Toss the tomatoes with the dressing gently.
Now make the WHIPPED GOAT CHEESE:
In a separate bowl, use a handheld electric mixer to whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the goat cheese and beat until the cheese topping is light and fluffy.
To assemble, split each warm biscuit in half, and generously spoon the tomato salad onto the bottom halves. Dollop some whipped goat cheese on top of the tomatoes, then top with the biscuit tops. Serve at once.