This figgy shortcake is a fun little spin off the classic strawberry shortcake. With it being fig season and all, there are figs all over the grocery store. I can never resist, and usually end up buying a big box of figs just for the heck of it – I have issues, I know…to be dealt with a different day.
Figs are great for eating plain or with cheese, putting them in smoothies, or even adding them to savory dishes like salad or pizza. It’s such a versatile little fruit that makes just about any dish tastier and more visually appealing, and it adds an aspect of interest to the dish. I decided to make a strawberry shortcake inspired dessert using my newest market haul.
Strawberry shortcake traditionally consists of macerated strawberries and whipped cream served between a shortcake/biscuit. For my figgy shortcake, I made a basic biscuit and topped it with fig jam, mascarpone whipped cream, and fresh figs. Mascarpone cheese is probably most known for its role in tiramisu- it has a very silky texture and mild, yet distinct flavor that pairs perfectly with the figs! The mascarpone whipped cream is so simple to make, but really makes this dessert amazing.
First things first, let’s make the biscuits. These biscuits are nice and buttery, and have a texture that’s somewhere between a regular biscuit and shortbread cookie- the perfect texture for our dessert.
Preheat your oven to 400F. In a large bowl, mix flour, blaking powder, salt and sugar. The next step is to cut your butter into the dry ingredients. Cutting butter into flour is a technique that is commonly used for biscuits and pie crusts. Basically, you want cold butter in small pieces and coated with the flour – this will give you that flaky texture. You can use a pastry blender or a knife and your fingers. I don’t own a pastry blender, so I cut my butter into small cubes with a knife, mix it into the flour and squish it between my fingers until I end up with a course meal. This is probably not the best method because you’re supposed to keep the butter cold, and your fingers release a lot of heat. The better alternative would be to use a fork or 2 knives- I just find this way takes too long (and I’m an impatient person). Once you get a meal-like consistency, mix in your milk until just combined. Pour your mixture onto a large working surface (it’ll still be crumbly at this point), and knead the dough until it comes together. Roll the dough out (about 1 inch thick), and cut out rounds using a biscuit or cookie cutter. I had neither, so used a cup (if you use a cup, just know that because there is no escape for the air, you’ll feel a little pressure build up). Gather your excess and repeat until all the dough is used up.
Mix your egg yolk with a fork, and brush the tops of your biscuits. An optional step at this point is to sprinkle some sugar over the top. Coarse sugar is best for this recipe so you can see the sugar crystals, but you can also just use regular white sugar to add some sweetness. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool, and cut them in half lengthwise. Set aside for now.
Now for the whipped cream. Whip 2 cups of cold heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Add in powdered sugar and softened mascarpone cream. Mix until combined. I had some whipped cream left over, which I had zero complaints about! Spread it on your pancakes or waffles tomorrow morning or dip some fresh fruit in it. You can spread it on some toast and top it with fresh berries…the possibilities are endless (and exciting). Trust me, you’ll be looking for excuses to make this super simple and crazy delicious whipped cream.
To assemble, spread a thin layer of fig jam on the bottom half of the biscuit, top with a generous scoop of mascarpone whipped cream, arrange some fresh figs on top, and finish by propping the top half of the biscuit on it. That’s it!
That’s the classic way of serving up a strawberry shortcake, but I came up with two other SERVING SUGGESTIONS.
1. One way is to make a parfait. After you spread fig jam on your biscuit, crumble it up into little pieces (yes, your fingers will get sticky- just lick them when you’re all done). Layer the biscuit pieces, mascarpone whipped cream, and fresh figs in individual serving dishes. Arrange it nicely and make it pretty. This is a great way to share this dish with your friends!
2. If you want to serve it up all fancy to try to impress someone, try the napoleon route. Napoleons are generally layers of puff pastry and pastry cream stacked on top of each other. So for this one, I layered the biscuits, fig jam, mascarpone whipped cream, and fresh figs, and repeated a couple times to get a nice, tall stack. To make it extra fancy, drizzle some balsamic glaze on the dish before you plate your dish. Not only does it make it look amazing, but the balsamic adds an interesting but very complementary flavor.
This is a scrumptious little dessert (well, I eat it for breakfast so you can too) that is super simple to make and even easier to devour!
- 2.5 cups all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/3 cup cold butter
- 1/2 cup milk*
- 1 egg yolk
- coarse sugar, optional
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Fresh figs (about 10)
- Fig jam (1/4 - 1/2 cup)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients using whatever method you'd like (pastry blender, food processor, or just using your fingers or fork). When you're done, you should end up with a coarse meal.
- Add the milk and mix until just combined.
- Pour your mixture onto a large working surface and knead until combined. Roll the dough out to about 1 inch and cut out little rounds using a biscuit ring/cookie cutter. Gather your excess, and repeat until all your dough is used. I got 9 shortcakes out of my dough.
- Mix your egg yolk with a fork just to break it up. Brush the tops of your biscuits with egg yolk, and sprinkle with some sugar.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool, and cut your biscuits in half lengthwise.
- Whip 2 cups cold heavy whipping cream until light and fluffy.
- Add powdered sugar and softened mascarpone cheese and mix until combined.
- Spread thin layer of fig jam on bottom half of biscuit. Top with generous dollop of whipped cream, arrange fresh figs, and prop top half of biscuit on the side.
- I used half and half because that's what I had in my fridge, but whole milk would work too.