Lemon Shortcake with Basil Berries

Scarcity has allure. I stopped into Spitfire Coffee today in the French Quarter and was amused at their choice to feature one meager shelf of merchandise, maybe three chocolate bars and one sad, limp little half pound bag of coffee beans. The shop was empty, and there were only four bar stools along a plain wall. I took one of them, and as I sat there sipping my maple latte, the brilliance in their marketing strategy became clear. Had there been a wall of shelves cluttered with goods, it would have been easier to dismiss all. Multiplenty (yes, I invented this word) for the competitive shopper is necessarily a turn off; there is nothing special about snatching the chocolate bar when there are ten others waiting in file. Also I think imagining the possession of a thing is more manageable when the spectacle is discrete, limited. It’s the I’ve Got A Golden Ticket feeling. When I made these happy few shortcakes…  as goes for most home made dishes, I suppose, small scale drives allure. Scarcity, its own sauce.


Lemon Shortcake with Basil Berries

Adapted from Martha Stewart


2 ¼ flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp lemon zest

2 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

1 ½ sticks cold butter

¾ cup heavy cream

Basil Berry Sauce

1 pint blue berries

1 pint raspberries

¼ cup granulated sugar

3 TB fresh lemon juice

2 TB fresh basil leaves, sliced thin

1 TB confectioners sugar

1 cup heavy cream

½ tsp vanilla


Combine blueberries, 3 tbsp white sugar, 2 tsp lemon juice, and basil in a small bowl and set aside.

Mix together flour, baking powder, remaining white sugar, lemon zest in a food processor, pulse. Add butter and pulse again. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Stir in cream and knead minimally until dough comes together. Roll dough into a log, and then slice into thin 1 cm rounds.


Brush tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Whisk cream, confectioners sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Serve shortcakes with cream and top with berries.


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