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the goods

2 cups self raising flour

2 cups bread (or plain) flour

8oz / 250g butter

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cups buttermilk (substitute with 1 cup plain yoghurt; 1/2 cup milk)

2 eggs

1 lb / 500g  peaches

1lb / 500g apricots

1lb / 500g superfine / castor sugar

6 cardamom pods

3 cinnamon sticks

1/2 lemon

1 pint/ 500g marscapone

confectioner's / icing sugar


time: 45 minutes active, 25 minutes baking

you will need:

  • food processor or large mixing bowl
  • baking tray
  • large saucepan



spiced stone fruit shortcake 

there seems to be a profound loyalty to strawberry shortcake. you never see anyone play around with the recipe

I'm changing all that

a big fan of the stone fruits (plums, apricots, peaches and case anyone's wondering)

I had some peaches and apricots lounging around the fruit bowl...I threw together this compote. have no fear, the cardamom and cinnamon are very well behaved; you'd harldy know they're there. it's all about the gorgeous fruit

here's the compote recipe:

slit: the peaches and apricots just deep enough to penetrate the skin, follow the natural 'seam' around the fruit. place them in a large saucepan

add: the cardamom, cinnamon, 1/2 lemon and then pour the sugar over the lot

heat: over a low flame. it will all start to bubble and the juice will come from the fruit to form a syrup. resist the urge to stir the fruit as it will break up. only stir if it looks as though the fruit might be burning or sticking (and turn the heat down a little)

simmer: for 20-30 minutes. the apricots will dissolve to a gorgeous, sticky pulp. the peaches should hold their own

remove: from heat and allow to cool, remove the loose apricot skins and stones, the cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks and lemon. then, using your hands (this feels curiously good) peel the peaches, discard the skins and then slice / break them in half and remove the stones

(you can use this compote over ice cream, yoghurt or in any cake...or make a crumble topping and make a killer stone fruit crumble!)

the shortcakes: 

pre-heat oven to 450f / 200c

place: both flours, salt, sugar, baking powder and butter (cut into cubes) into the food processor

pulse: until mixture looks like breadcrumbs (about 20 seconds)

leave: processor on and pour buttermilk, vanilla and eggs through spout. the mix will form into a ball

line: a sheet of baking parchment (around 18 inches/ 50 cm long) with some flour. empty the dough from the processor onto the parchment. scatter some flour over the top of the dough, then bring the sides of the parchment together to enclose the dough. roll it into a long log shape, even in thickness from end to end

remove: the dough from the parchment. cut into 2 halves. cut each half in half, then cut each quarter in half. this will give you 8 discs of dough

pat: each one into a round, flat disc about 1 inch thick and 4-5 inches across

place: 4 of the discs onto a baking sheet which has been greased and floured

brush: the top of the 4 discs with some melted butter. place one of the remaining discs on top of each of the buttered discs

brush: these top discs with melted butter

bake: in a hot oven for 20-25 minutes

cool: the shortcakes for 10 minutes when they come out of the oven, then split the top disc from the bottom of each shortcake, about 1/2 cup of the spiced stone fruits over the bottom. try and get a good amount of peach flesh, then spoon about 1/2 a cup of marscapone or whipped cream on top of the fruit. place the top disc over the cream and spoon some fruit syrup over the top then sprinkle brown sugar on top

haven't got a food processor?

mix all the dry ingredients and the butter by rubbing it all between your fingertips until it fomrs 'breadcrumbs', then add the wet ingredients. mix by hand, roll the dough onto the floured baking parchment and follow the rest of the recipe above