Sunday, July 21, 2013

Peachy Cream Shortcake

Peach Shortcake on plate with fork and napkin in background

Why should strawberries have all the fun?

When we think shortcake, we usually picture strawberries.  But shortcakes can friend any fruit.  So with fresh local peaches hitting the stores now in the US, the time is right to use them in one of America’s favorite desserts.

That explains the Peachy part of the title, but what about the Cream?  Well, this recipe is heavy on cream.  In addition to using whipped cream as a topping (natch!), it also features cream-biscuit shortcakes.  For double the flavor, you know. 

But be warned:  This dish is so tasty that once you serve it, all conversation at the table will probably cease — until the plates are licked clean.  The next words you hear will be, “Could I have seconds, please?”


Peach Shortcake on plate with fork and napkin in background

Recipe:  Peachy Cream Shortcake

Shortcakes are basically American-style biscuits on a sugar high.  When making this dish, some people substitute spongecake for the shortcakes.  Others like to break up pieces of baked pie crust.  But shortcakes really work best, IMO.

A note on terminology for those who aren’t familiar with this dish:  When we use the word “shortcake” alone in this post, we mean the biscuit-like base of the dish.  When we use the phrase “Peach Shortcake,” we’re referring to the assembled dish (i.e., sweetened biscuits topped with macerated peaches and whipped cream).

Mrs. Kitchen Riffs is the baker in our household, and this recipe is hers.  The shortcake (biscuit) recipe is adapted from an old James Beard recipe for biscuits that uses cream but no butter or other shortening (although you do dip the biscuits in melted butter before baking). The recipe is contained in James Beard’s American Cookery. I never thought his recipe quite worked for biscuits — but it’s excellent for shortcakes!

Prep time for this recipe is about 20 minutes, plus you’ll need another 20 minutes or so for the shortcakes to bake and cool down.  So figure about 40 minutes altogether.

This recipe serves 6 or 8, depending on how large you make the shortcakes.

You can prepare the components of this dish (macerated fruit, shortcakes, and whipped cream topping) a few hours ahead, or even the day before — just store the shortcakes in a sealed plastic bag and the other components in the fridge in airtight containers.  Once assembled, though, the dish doesn’t keep very well.  So plan on putting it all together right before you’re ready to serve.

Ingredients

For the peaches:
  • 4 cups fresh peaches, sliced or chunked
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed (or to taste; can substitute white sugar — see Notes)
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (or to taste; optional)
For the shortcakes:
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter (for dipping shortcakes)
For the whipped cream:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar (granulated or powdered; or to taste)
Procedure
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Wash and slice the peaches, or chunk them into bite-sized pieces.  In a medium-sized bowl, toss the peaches with the brown sugar, plus the rum and ground ginger, if using.  Let the peaches macerate while you make the shortcakes.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add 1 cup of heavy cream and stir with a wooden spoon until dough begins to form (most of it will look crumbly).  Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper and knead it lightly, just enough to hold it together.  Flatten the dough with your hands and smooth it out on the parchment paper to a thickness of about ½ inch.  Cut the dough into 6 to 8 pieces, using a knife or a biscuit cutter.  Dip each piece into the melted butter to coat, then place on the baking sheet.  Bake the shortcakes for about 12 minutes, or until they’re starting to brown.  Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
  4. While the shortcakes are cooling, whip the cream.  Add 2 cups of heavy cream and three tablespoons of white sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl, if using a hand mixer) and begin to whip on low speed.  Increase to medium as soon as you can (i.e., when the cream is becoming thick enough that droplets don’t spatter from the mixing action).  Beat until the cream forms soft peaks, then taste and add more sugar if necessary.  Continue beating until you reach the medium or stiff peak stage (whichever you prefer).  Set the whipped cream aside (don’t worry, it won’t collapse; refrigerate if it’s going to be sitting for more than a few minutes). 
  5. You can use the macerated peaches as they are, or purée them.  To purée, just put them in the food processor and pulse briefly.  (We generally stop whirring when they reach a chunky purée stage, but you may prefer something closer to peach sauce).  Alternatively, you can purée half the macerated peaches, and leave the rest unprocessed.  (You can also cook the peaches briefly to intensify their flavor; see Notes for instructions.)
  6. When ready to serve, assemble the dish on individual dessert plates.  Slice each shortcake in half (as you would split a muffin) and place the two halves on a serving plate.  Top the shortcake halves with macerated peaches and a generous helping of whipped cream, and serve.  Alternatively, you can crumble up the shortcakes, and then build layers of shortcake, peaches, and whipped cream.  We like both versions, and the pictures that accompany the post illustrate both.
Peach Shortcake on plate with fork and napkin in background

Notes
  • Fresh peaches are the star of this dish, so make sure to use the ripest, juiciest ones you can find.
  • For macerating the peaches, you can substitute white granulated sugar for brown sugar (start with about 2 tablespoons, then adjust the sweetness to your taste).  If using white sugar, you may also want to substitute Chambord or Grand Marnier for the rum (and leave out the ground ginger).
  • For extra-intense flavor, you can cook the peaches for a few minutes.  In a medium skillet, heat the macerated peaches with a tablespoon or two of water.  Simmer for 3 minutes or so, until sweet and juicy.  Remove the cooked fruit from the stove and allow it to cool for a few minutes (it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a day).  When ready to serve, just assemble it with the shortcakes and whipped cream.
  • You can adapt this recipe to use other fresh fruits and berries (strawberries are a great favorite, of course).  Use whatever looks best in your market.  Adjust sweetness and flavorings to suit your own taste. 
  • You can also mix a couple different kinds of fruit together for this dish.  If you do this, macerate the different fruits separately.
  • We sometimes garnish Peachy Cream Shortcake with blueberries or strawberries.
  • Some cooks like to sweeten whipped cream with powdered sugar, which dissolves very quickly.  We’ve found that granulated sugar works fine, but feel free to use powdered if you prefer.  Or you could use superfine (caster) sugar — if you don’t have any on hand, you can make it easily; just place some granulated white sugar in the food processor, and grind for a minute or so.
  • You might want to add a half teaspoon or so of vanilla extract to the whipped cream for flavoring.  We usually prefer it without, but you may feel otherwise.
  • If you assemble this dish too far in advance, the juice from the fruit can thin the whipped cream and make the shortcake soggy.  So you’ll get the best results if you put everything together shortly before serving. 
  • This dish is best when made with homemade whipped cream.  But if you’re short on time, you can use the canned variety.
Peach Shortcake on plate with fork and napkin in background

Please, May I Have Some More?

“I think peaches work even better than strawberries in shortcake,” I sighed, pausing halfway through my dessert.

“Agreed,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs.  “Strawberries and cream are a classic combo.  But peaches and cream are even more so.”

“And these biscuits — sorry, shortcakes — are perfect!” I added.  “I never liked their texture for serving as bread — for that, I’ll take our Baking Powder Biscuits any day of the week.”

“Yeah,” noted Mrs K R.  “Even the drop biscuits we make for Easy Peach Cobbler work pretty well at the table — when made without the added sugar, at least.”

“True,” I agreed. “But for shortcake, you can’t beat these, well, shortcakes!”  I polished off my helping, deciding to forgo the plate licking.  “Um, do we have . . . ?”

“More?” said Mrs K R, finishing my sentence.  “Well, you know me — and I know you!  So of course I made extra.”

Too bad Oliver Twist never met Mrs K R.

You may also enjoy reading about:
Baking Powder Biscuits
Easy Peach Cobbler
Blueberry Buckle
Grape Flaugnarde
No-Cook Fruit Fool
Walnut Apple Crisp
Black Walnut Sandies
Walnut Roll Cake
Microwave Peanut Butter Fudge
Chocolate Fudge with Nutella
Homemade Meringues

114 comments:

  1. I would definitely need seconds on this, wow! There's nothing like fresh peaches to scream summer!

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    1. Hi Chris, aren't peaches so nice at this time of the year? We can't get enough! Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Lordy Lord ! What just happened?!

    Love happened .... with Peachy cream shortcake :)

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    1. Hi Suborna, this is definitely a dessert worth loving! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. I love your presentation.. layers upon layers of yummy shortcake and peaches.. and cream!! This is a first I've seen with no butter in the shortcake, does it make it a quick one to whip up?

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    1. Hi Barbara, the shortcakes probably do take a bit less time to make than ones with butter, but not by much - it's mainly the flavor and texture that's the attraction for me. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I like my shortcakes made the same way too, with cream. For some reason, peaches always end up in a cobbler or crisp or me. However, this peaches and cream shortcake looks so good I am going to try something new next time. Ooooh....a peaches and cream trifle..

    Nazneen

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    1. Hi Nazneen, we usually do peach cobbler or crisp too, but shortcake is a really nice change of pace. And a trifle sounds terrific! Thanks for the comment.

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  5. Peaches never get short shrift around here once they come into season; they are way too good!

    I'm making a peach galette today with puff pastry that I'll serve with whipped cream...sort of a great big huge shortcake (that I could probably eat all by myself!).

    Great minds and all. :)

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    1. Hi Barb, oooh, I look forward to seeing your peach galette! ;-) And peach season is so wonderful, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  6. I adore peach season. Just yesterday at the farmers market I was inquiring about its timing ... just a couple more weeks! This recipe is just one more fabulous way to celebrate it. YUM!

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    1. Hi Judy, we're just beginning to see local peaches, but I'll bet most are a couple of weeks away, too. That's OK - I buy them as soon as I see the first ones, and continue until the very last ones are around. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. I agree with you why always strawberries? I love peaches and to me they're more satisfying. Great dessert, I would like a bowlful please.

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    1. Hi Vicki, I think peach shortcake might be better than strawberry - although I certainly wouldn't turn down either one! Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Just heavenly { drooling .. eyes rolling back in my head } yes , both of those dessert plates are mine , one to use here and the other to pile high and head for home . Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Hi Nee, I think you need at least two! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  9. We are just getting into peach season here. My grandfather loved peaches (fresh or home-canned) with cream. Basic, simple and his favorite dessert.

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    1. Hi Debra, a dead-ripe peach is just unbeatable, IMO. Truly good stuff. Thanks so much.

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  10. I love strawberry shortcake. It's such a treat of a dessert. I'm sure I would like peach shortcake just as much. I'm seeing a lot of peaches on US blogs at the moment and it's making me really miss our peach season - we're in our citrus season at the moment. Beautiful looking dessert, Mrs KR xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, we've had Georgia peaches for a few weeks, but only now are starting to get local peaches, and it's probably that way throughout much of the US. So of course we're all feasting on peaches, and writing about it! Thanks for the comment.

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  11. I'm with you on that. I confess that when spring comes around, I go to town on strawberries. But only until peaches show up. Then, I turn my back on the strawberries and buy nothing but peaches galore. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, we never stint on the strawberries, but nothing compares to a peach - almost a perfect fruit. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. To hell with strawberry shortcake! I'll take this peach shortcake any old day! What a fabulous idea and delicious looking treat. Obviously need to pick up some more peaches tomorrow because this is a dessert both Bobby and I would make a meal out of! Thanks to the Mrs. and you for sharing this one!

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    1. Hi MJ, it's a terrific dessert! And something that's a bit different, with flavor that won't quit. Enjoy! And thanks for commenting.

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  13. Not only does this dessert sound yummy it looks gorgeous. I have never thought of using peaches instead of strawberries for a shortcake, this such a great idea!!

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    1. Hi Dawn, peaches make a wonderful shortcake! Better than strawberries? I think yes. ;-) Thanks for commenting.

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  14. Hahaha, I love the conversation added in at the end of the post John! Great recipe and great cooking tips also. Fresh peaches are such a gorgeous benefit of Summer. Unfortunately it's darn cold over here and all I can find at the markets are apples and pears... but I will bookmark this recipe for Summertime! You had me at cream shortcakes. With cream. I adore cream (I don't know why I'm not the size of a house already!).

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    1. Hi Laura, glad you like the conversation - whenever I do that, it's so much fun to write! Too bad you have to wait for peaches, but it's definitely worth the wait. And I know what you mean about cream - so tempting, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  15. My dad's favorite dessert was strawberry shortcake especially when the berries were in season. Frozen berries were just fine other times of the year.

    I think he would approve of peach shortcake - I wish he were still around for me to make this for him.

    The father-in-law will have to do. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, I'm sure your father-in-law would appreciate this! From your descriptions it sounds like he's a big hungry boy - you might want to make a double batch! Thanks for the comment.

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  16. YUM!!!
    I have always been going to try and make a strawberry shortcake because it was mentioned in books when I was growing up... (somehow I have never made one though) This looks so super delicious, maybe it will have to be a peachy shortcake :)

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    1. Hi Gourmet Getaways, shortcakes are fun - definitely worth making! You'll wonder why you never made them before. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I totally agree, why should strawberries have all the fun? I love the idea of peaches here. Looks delicious and love the presentation John.

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    1. Hi Anne, strawberries get so much love - let's spread some to peaches! Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love anything that has "peach" in it and not because it's my name...I just love the sweet and tart flavor it brings any pastry.

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    1. Hi Peachy, peaches really are terrific, aren't they? Great flavor, and a lovely name! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. True, why strawberries all the time, when you have other grat-tasting fruits like peaches, mango, lychee, pear! This is a wonderful assembly of my favourites: cream, shortcake and peaches. John, thanks for the recipe. I am going to bookmark this now!

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    1. Hi Purabi, I've never made a mango shortcake, and I expect it'd be wonderful. Need to try that. But peaches are heavenly! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Shortcakes are one of my favorites and I love the idea of peaches! I live in the peach state and we're having a great peach season this year. They've been unusally good. Looks delicious. Great post!

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    1. Hi Bill, because you live in Georgia, this is definitely a recipe for you! The Georgia peaches we've imported have been quite good this year, although probably not as good as the ones you're getting. But our local ones (at least the few early ones I've had) are great this year. Thanks for the comment.

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  21. Oh how I love Peach season! Peaches are just beginning to hit the farm stands, John. I think you are so right too, who says Strawberries should get all the shortcake anyway? May I have seconds, please???

    I'll be saving this recipe for National Peach Month which is just around the corner. (August)

    Thank you so much for sharing...

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    1. Hi Louise, this would be a great way to celebrate National Peach Month (come August, though, I'm doing Tiki Month!). And you definitely need seconds of this! Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I would want seconds too. The shortcakes look delicious!

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    1. Hi Karen, I think seconds are mandatory. Good thing we get lots of exercise, or we'd be enormous! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Wow - these pictures show such a mouthwatering concoction!
    I love peaches - gotta try this recipe

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    1. Hi Shashi, peaches are great, aren't they? And fresh ones are beyond wonderful! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I love peaches and will eat them with anything: plain or topped with a whipped cream on top of biscuits!

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    1. Hi Julia, you're so right that peaches are wonderful just eaten plain. But dress them up with whipped cream and biscuits? Heaven! Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Love peaches more than strawberries. I like cooked strawberries though. But peaches just make me sigh. And those photos made me drool. Oh, this looks so perfect for a hot summer's day!

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    1. Hi Abbe, I like both strawberries and peaches, but prime peach season is so short! So we have to get the good stuff while we can. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Oh, I'm loving the looks of these, and feeling very thankful that peach season is just coming on. These will be made at least once in our house!

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    1. Hi Beth, isn't peach season so great? Actually, all of the berries and stone fruits of summer are wonderful. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  27. I'm not a biscuit fan, but I will happily eat all the peaches and whipped cream! You presented this so beautifully! The idea of cooking the peaches a little sounds like it would enhance the flavor nicely.

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    1. Hi Laura, cooking the peaches a bit does help the flavor, particularly if they're not totally ripe. And you can easily drop the biscuits in this dessert and just feast on peaches and cream! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I love the presentation of your peach shortcake! :) It is so inviting!

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    1. Hi Kristi, it was a wonderful dessert - we couldn't resist, so it disappeared in record time! Thanks for the comment.

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  29. Were we separated at birth?! I love anyone who admits to licking plates clean! Great recipe and photos... delicious! Many thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Lizzy, we might have been! Although, doesn't everyone lick their plate clean? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. I like that you gave peaches the chance to make their way into a shortcake recipe :)

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    1. Hi Ashley, peaches really appreciate being given a chance! And they work so well in this recipe - truly delish. Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Thta is a wonderfully luscious dessert! It is impossible to resist such a treat. Divine!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, it really is hard to resist something like this, isn't it? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. we just drooled over the lovely peachy color, looks so sunny and is the perfect
    fruity dessert to make during summer, yummm :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, it is a wonderful dessert! I love fresh peach season. Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I think I'd go not only for seconds but for thirds too. Stunning looking dessert and so indulgent!

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    1. Hi Gourmantine, it is more than a bit indulgent, particularly the way Mrs K R ladels it up! Good stuff, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Awesome and prefect for a summer dessert...or anytime dessert ;-) First time here and I absolutely loved your space here...so vibrant and so many lovely recipes to try. WIll b back for sure.

    Cheers,
    Manju

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    1. Hi Manju, welcome! This is a great dessert, and so much fun to eat. Thanks for your kind words, and comment.

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  35. OMG,
    This is stunning! Would love to dive into this dessert!

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    1. Hi Asmita, this was so much fun to both make and eat! Really delish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Sometimes I totally feel like an outsider for living in the US and never having tried shortcake! I feel like I should change that. And I like your peachy variation as opposed to the strawberry one I usually come across (although I do like strawberries as well :), thanks!

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    1. Hi Yvonne, shortcake is good stuff - you should give it a try sometime! Not a dessert we make often, but a couple of times a year is nice. Thanks for the comment.

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  37. This is such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Hi Rayna, it's tons of fun to eat, too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  38. That sounds and looks like the perfect peach dessert, the idea of using shortcake makes this dessert look gorgeous.

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    1. Hi Nik, it really is a delish - and pretty! - dessert. Hope you have a chance to try it. Thanks for the comment.

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  39. I love any and all desserts with peaches in them. And cooking them really brings out their sweetness. I bet this shortcake is just heavenly. I so want a bite of that right now! Great post!

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    1. Hi Gomo, cooking often really does boost the flavor of peaches. And this dessert has plenty of flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  40. My mouth is truly watering just looking at your pictures of those fresh peaches, biscuits and cream. Totally lovely dessert!

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    1. Hi Kristi, not the healthiest dessert in the world, but certainly totally delish! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. I used to lick the plate clean at Bob's Big Boy when I ordered the Hot Fudge Cake years ago. SIGH .... I thought I had licked this habit, but now I guess not!

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    1. Hi Fran, it seems once a plate licker, always a plate licker! At least, like you, I haven't licked the habit. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. The combination of peach and cream sure sounds and looks delicious John...I would love to dig my fork in it...I love the pictures...so tempting.
    Hope you are having a great week and thanks Mrs K R for the recipe :D

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    1. Hi Juliana, this dessert really does call out for dipping your fork in, doesn't it? I've been having a great week, and hope you are too. Thanks for the comment.

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  43. And your string of perfectly seasonal summery recipes continues! Ah I love the idea of a peach shortcake...nice one, John! Such a simple but inspired substitute.

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    1. Hi Irina, peach shortcake is rather nice, isn't it? Good stuff! Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  44. Can´t go wrong with this title! Fresh peaches are so amazing in desserts that call for dough. I agree with the idea of a shortcake, it´s all about the biscuits; use a sponge cake and your making a trifle or something similar imo. This is a gorgeous recipe!

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    1. Hi Paula, I agree if it's shortcake, it has to be biscuit! Though, of course, what's in a name? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. I just adore peach desserts in the summer...and yours is no exception! Gorgeous!

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    1. Hi Liz, aren't peaches so nice? There are so many great summer fruits it's hard to pick one, but it might be the best. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. Hi John, that's a very delicious shortcake. I need 2 serving, please! Oh... and a cup of coffee too.:)

    Thanks for sharing your recipe. Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, happy to give you a double serving! And that cup of joe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  47. Best way of enjoying summer peaches in this delish shortcakes! Yum :)

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    1. Hi Kiran, we're getting terrific peaches this week! So more shortcake for us. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. Peaches and cream? Oh god that sounds too good! The pictures are drool-inducing too!

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    1. Hi Ally, it is too good! Thanks for the comment.

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  49. When hubby came home the other day, he brought peaches. A co-worker brought somein from their tree! Love love local fresh produce......AND these peaches were the best I have ever had! I need to make this shortcake recipe, it sounds amazing! Personally I think this might be better than strawberry shortcake! Yum, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, I think this actually is better than strawberry shortcake! Particularly if your peaches are totally ripe - hard to beat that. Thanks for the comment.

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  50. Loved how you added ginger to the peach. I love ripe peaches and they are so summery and refreshing. Its an amazing recipe!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, the ginger adds a nice little ping to this dish! And with peaches so good and available right now, this is an ideal recipe for them. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. I'd ask for more, too. :P

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    1. Hi Alex, pretty hard to resist, isn't it? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I would love a couple of helpings...

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    1. Hi Simi, it's really good - we're going to have to make some more! Thanks for the comment.

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  53. Peach cream shortcake sounds way more interesting then strawberry shortcake, so agree John! I am longing for peaches now. See what you did John! =P

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    1. Hi Helene, sorry to induce that peach craving! But it's so worth satisfying! Thanks for the comment.

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  54. Ripe juicy peaches are one of my absolutely favourite fruits. I love how you've paired them in this beautiful creamy shortcake. Another fabulous recipe!

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    1. Hi Christine, don't totally ripe peaches have such great flavor? And they work so well in shortcake. Thanks for the comment.

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  55. Oh it's so true! I think this will be a great hit in my house. We always love strawberries but peaches are probably as popular as strawberries. Great idea, John! Gotta find really sweet peaches for this!

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    1. Hi Nami, you do need really ripe and sweet peaches for this, although when you macerate them you add flavor. This is really a nice change of pace - a great dessert. Thanks for the comment.

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  56. This looks insanely good! Perfect for the summer!

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    1. Hi Vicky and Ruth, it is insanely good, it is! Really good stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  57. This is seriously gorgeous John. I love shortcake and peaches so this would be gobbled up in seconds.

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    1. Hi Kim, this probably has your name written on it - I know it's the sort of thing you like! Thanks for the comment.

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