I just received, what I’m assuming, is my last bunch of rhubarb for the year and what is quite possibly my last bunch of rhubarb while living here. I’ve enjoyed British rhubarb so much this season: roasting it for topping yogurt and oatmeal, floating the pink jewels atop of creamy cheesecake bars, and making these roasted strawberry rhubarb shortcakes. This might be our last summer in the UK, and it’s definitely bittersweet. No more British rhubarb or temperate summers with little day trips to the English seaside.
The last three years quietly snuck up on me. I’ve never been great at living in the moment; I’m always planning for the next thing, trying to figure out the next step. So much so that I often miss things or find myself wondering how time got away from me. Big chunks of time easily become unremarkable. Perpetual movement. Perpetual planning. Perpetually missing small opportunities to soak in the goodness around me.
The funny thing is, in most of my big life transitions, I didn’t know how it would pan out until late in the game. I spent a lot of time trying to plan for contingencies that I simply can’t determine. I think it’s linked somehow to productivity and worth. If you’re planning, you’re being productive, and being productive is valuable. You know what I mean?
I’m trying to quit thinking this way. I’m embracing being in the moment more often and appreciating the present. But mostly, I’m just trying not to miss the remaining time that I get to live in this beautiful country. Sam and I even spent a day filling pots on our back patio with beautiful summer flowers. I’m embracing a slower pace, full of things that aren’t necessarily ‘useful’ or ‘important’. So far, this involves more days spent wandering with less planning and more slow evenings soaking in the fleeting warmth of summer around the grill.
And enjoying all the summer fruit.
I’m jumping at any local British fruit I can get my hands on while I can. At the moment, I have a kitchen bursting with green gooseberries, cherries, greengages (a little green variety of plum), strawberries, and my last bunch of pucker-y tart rhubarb. I’ve yet to figure out what to do with the gooseberries and greengages–recommendations welcome!–but the strawberries and rhubarb called for shortcakes.
These roasted strawberry rhubarb shortcakes might be the most light and tender shortcakes I’ve ever made. They’re delicate but the little golden mounds hold up well to the syrupy juice of the tart, roasted rhubarb and sweet strawberries. The mix of roasted fruit and fresh strawberries is perfectly sweet and tangy. The whipped cream is infused with fragrant basil, the richness complementing the bright fruits. This might be the perfect summer dessert–light, bright and simple. My weekend plans include these shortcakes, warm summer sun, and not much else. I hope yours is just as nice.
If you like these Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream, you might also like:
Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes with Basil Whipped Cream
For the Basil Whipped Cream:
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- pinch of kosher salt
For the Shortcakes:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour plus a little more for dusting the counter
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream divided
For the Rhubarb & Strawberries:
- 1/2 lb. fresh rhubarb ends trimmed & cut into 3" pieces
- 3/4 lb. fresh strawberries divided into 1/2 lb. & 1/4 lb., quartered
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- pinch of kosher salt
Infuse the cream 4 to 8 hours before you want to make the shortcakes. Pour the 1/2 cup cream (for the basil whipped cream) into a small bowl and stir in the basil. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until ready to whip and serve.
Pre-heat the oven to 375*F. Place the rhubarb and 1/2 pound of the strawberries in an oven safe dish and toss with 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and pinch of kosher salt. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the rhubarb is softened but still holds its shape. Remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 425*F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. While the rhubarb and strawberries are roasting, mix together the remaining 1/4 lb. strawberries with the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in a small bowl and let macerate until ready to serve.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder & kosher salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry mixture and pour in 1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Stir together with a wooden spoon until the cream is incorporated and the mixture comes together. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and pat it together until it's shaped into an rectangle that's about 1" thick. Fold the rectangle in half and pat the dough back out to 1" thickness. Cut the dough into 6 pieces and place on prepared baking sheet. Lightly brush the tops of the shortcakes with the remaining tablespoon of heavy cream. Place in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown.
While the shortcakes cool slightly prepare the whipped cream and the fruit. Strain the basil from the whipping cream. Add the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and pinch of kosher salt to the infused cream. With an electric hand mixer whip the cream to soft peaks, beginning on low and working up to medium speed. Stir the fresh macerated strawberries into the roasted rhubarb and strawberries.
To serve the shortcakes, split each shortcake (best while still a little warm!) in half, top the bottom half of the shortcake with several pieces of rhubarb and a generous scoop of strawberries, making sure to spoon some of the delicious juices from the fruits over the shortcakes as well! Top the fruit with a big dollop of cream and replace the top to the shortcake. Serve immediately!