While I was in Phoenix my friend took me into the back of the kitchen of their restaurant to show me the mill they have been using. They are working with a local family run farm that grows their own wheat. They have been experimenting with ancient grains of wheat for their breads, pasta, and pizza dough. He insisted that I walk away with three different kinds of flour and a t-shirt; asking me to experiment on my own and see what I come up with.
I was toying around with what I should do…I was thinking of whole wheat pasta, or a naturally yeasted bread of some kind. I just could not decide. I was in downtown, apartment hunting, when I made a stop at Pike Place Market for a bite to eat. I was walking past a fruit stand when I saw that the first peaches of the season are in. The sales man offered me a taste and I was in heaven when the peach touched my tongue. It was bright, juicy, sweet, and a tad tart. It was absolutely lovely and I nearly melted as I told the vendor it was (pardon the expression) an “Oh My God!!!” Worthy Peach! He was laughing at me and quickly wrapped up six of them gently (they were so ripe he was afraid of them bruising) for me to take home.
I knew just what I was going to do with the peaches. I would let their natural beauty shine and pair them with a gingered shortcake and a mascarpone whipped cream. Peaches and cream are great, add a nice and light gingery biscuit to it and you have reached euphoria! And what better time to try out some the new flour my friend had given me. I used pretty much the same recipe basics of my strawberry and chocolate chunk scones I have written about before. Omitting the fruit and the chocolate; adding in crystallized ginger, replaced part of the AP flour the original recipe called for with some 00 flour. I also didn’t roll out the dough like I have done in the past. I just patted it down by hand, folded it, and patted it down again. (Like I learned from that tSplendid Table segmen I wrote about not too long ago.) A buttery, flaky shortcake was the result - flecked with bits of crystalized ginger. I am so happy that the peaches were perfect to give this a try. I am so lucky to have a friend share his flour with me. It is one of the best gifts I have ever gotten!
Peach with Gingered Shortcakes and Mascarpone Whipped Cream (serves 6)
4-6 peaches (depending on size)
1 cup of AP flour
1 ¼ cup of 00 flour
½ tsp of sea salt
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1 ½ tsp of baking powder
3 Tbsp of sugar (2 for biscuits and 1 for whipped cream), plus extra for sprinkling
4 oz of butter, cold and cut into small pieces
2 cups of heavy cream (1/2 for biscuits; and ½ for whipping)
1/3 cup of crystalized ginger, finely chopped
¼ cup of mascarpone
1 tsp vanilla extract
First, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl add in youth flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda and 2 tbsp of sugar. Mix it all together well. With a fork, or a pastry cutter add in your cold butter. Work it all tighter until your butter is in small pea size pieces.
Next, add in your crystallized ginger and stir it all together. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream and mix together and until it all begins to form and hold together. Lightly flour your work space and place youth mixture out on it. Pat it down with floured hands, fold it up, and pat it all down again. (You will need extra flour when doing this) You want to pat it down until it is about ¾ an inch thick. You can then cut your dough into 6 square like, or round biscuits.
Then, brush them with a bit of cream and dust them with a bit of sugar. (I have on occasion dusted them with sugar in the raw.) I like the golden color it lends.) Place them spaced apart on a baking sheet and bake about 25 – 30 minutes until firm and golden. Cool about 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Meanwhile, place 1 cup of cream in the bowl of a standing mixer and whip on high speed until you cream starts to build a volume. Add in your vanilla and slowly add in your 1 tbsp of sugar. Whip on high until it doubles in size. Add in your mascarpone and using your whisk fold it all together until it is thick and uniform.
Finally; peel and slice your peaches. Slice your gingered biscuits horizontally and fan out your peach slices. Top it with some of your whipped mascarpone cream, and place the top of your gingered biscuit over it all. Eat while fresh, and enjoy.