How to make a raspberry shortcake
Raspberries need little more than some sugar and cream. This shortbread is a great way to show them off
An older way of enjoying raspberries was to combine them with fresh curd.
“More so than any other aspect of food and cooking, the Irish exude a pride in their bread and cake-making talents,” writes food historian Regina Sexton in her book A Little History of Irish Food. If I can recall anything from the experience of food in my childhood, it is the act of baking: soda bread, coffee cakes, apple pies, fruit crumbles, all made the list endlessly.
Summer fruits are one of my favourite things to bake with, especially raspberries. Of all the fruits, it needs little more than some sugar and cream, but I do enjoy making tarts with raspberries.
Interestingly, an older way of enjoying this summer fruit (dating back at least three centuries) was to combine it with fresh curd. The fresh curd was made overnight by combing milk with buttermilk and rennet. After draining the whey, the rennet was sweetened with honey and enriched with a dash of cream.
A raspberry mousse could also be made from the drained curd (450g) by folding in four separated eggs (the yolks with 75g of sugar and the whites whipped until they are stiff), with 300ml of gently whipped cream and a bloomed gelatine leaf to stabilise the whole thing. The raspberries (350g) can either be folded through the mousse or placed on the base of some glasses and then topped with the mousse. Alternatively, you can allow the mousse to set and top with raspberries.
To make a raspberry shortcake
Combine 250g self-raising flour with one teaspoon baking powder and a pinch of salt in a bowl.
Separate three eggs and whisk the whites with 125g of sugar.
Cream 125g of butter with 185g of sugar and then add the three yolks. Fold in 125ml of milk. Fold the two egg mixes together and then gradually fold in the flour.
Pour the mixture into a greased eight-inch springform tin and bake at 170 degrees for 45 minutes to one hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Allow the cake to cool, cut in half and fill with raspberries and cream. I find adding vanilla and icing sugar to the cream takes this cake to another level.