Friday, February 10, 2012

Vegan Blackberry Blood Orange Shortcakes

 Being that it is the middle of winter I am missing all things summer.  Daylight until after 8 at night, going for runs in sports bras and shorts, all of the beautiful flowers and green grass, and of course the fruits.  Especially berries...a nice fresh bowl of berries is something that I enjoy as often as possible in the summer!  I mean, I know I can enjoy frozen berries in crisps and smoothies, but it is just not the same.  Don't get me wrong, the citrus fruits in season are amazing right now but nothing compares to berries.   So when my Mom was nice enough to bring me some fresh blackberries that she had come across on sale at the store recently I was quite excited.  I suppose I could have just devoured them without thought, but I thought that they deserved to be used in something a little more interesting than that.  One of my favorite ways to serve berries is in a shortcake, so that is just what I decided to make. 

Blackberries alone would have been good, but since they are technically not in season I thought I would pair them with blood oranges this time for an even lovelier dessert! 

I used my vegan scone base for the biscuits, and included berries and blood oranges in the dough instead of just making it plain vanilla.  I even cut them into hearts, because I thought it appropriate since Valentine's Day is coming up.  

The fruit to be used in the shortcakes did not need much sweetening as it was quite flavorful, so I added just a touch of agave nectar and vanilla beans for a lovely aroma. 

Instead of the usual whipped cream in shortcakes, I made some whipped coconut cream scented with vanilla as I am in love with it lately on anything fruit for dessert.  It is so much more delicious than dairy whipped cream in my opinion and is already so sweet it hardly needs anything added. 

The finished shortcakes were lovely!  The bright red blood oranges and deep purple blackberries spilling out of the snow white coconut cream in between the biscuit hearts.  The biscuits were flaky and the perfect thing to surround the sweet silky coconut cream and sweet tart vanilla scented blackberries and blood oranges.  It reminded me of summer and yet had a wintery twist with the blood oranges!  If you would like to enjoy some for yourself, here is the recipe!  Feel free to substitute frozen berries if you don't have access to fresh.

Vegan Blackberry Blood Orange Shortcakes
Makes 4

1 cups plus 1 Tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup maple sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
4 Tbsp cold Earth balance vegan butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup cold full fat orgainc canned coconut milk (whisked until smooth if chunky)
1 Tbsp blood orange juice
1 Tbsp blood orange zest
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 pkg fresh organic blackberries
coconut milk for topping
turbinado sugar for sprinkling

2 organic blood oranges, cut into supremes
1 12 oz pkg fresh organic blackberries
1 Tbsp agave nectar
seeds of half a vanilla bean (other half reserved for coconut cream)

Coconut cream:
1/2 cup chilled full fat coconut milk (only the thick part from the top of the can)
reserved vanilla bean seeds (see above)
2 tsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 425 with the rack set at the middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture starts to clump into pea sized pieces. In a small bowl, stir the blood orange juice and zest as well as vanilla into the coconut milk. Add the coconut milk to the dough, and stir a few times, but do not overmix. The dough should hold together when squeezed, but still be clumpy. fold in berries until evenly distributed. place dough on a floured work surface, and use a large heart cookie cutter to cut 4 hearts. Place biscuits on the prepared baking sheet, reshaping slightly if necessary. Brush the tops lightly with the coconut milk, and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown (after about 15 minutes you may need to reshape with 2 bench scrapers if the biscuits are spreading, then place back in the oven). Cool on a wire rack completely. 
Meanwhile, place a medium bowl and beaters in the freezer to chill until very cold. 
In another bowl, combine blood oranges and blackberries with agave nectar and vanilla and toss to combine.  Set aside in the fridge while you make the cream. 
To make the coconut cream, remove the chilled bowl and beaters from the freezer and add chilled coconut milk and beat until stiff peaks.  Add vanilla beans and agave nectar and beat until combined. 
To assemble shortcakes, slit each biscuit in half lengthwise and place the bottom half of each on a plate.  Top each with some coconut cream, then some of the fruit mixture.  Place tops on and put a little more of the coconut cream on top and serve!


  1. I may need to make this for Val's Day. A burst of summer in my kitchen is most welcome (and Kowalski's got in some credible strawberries from CA).

  2. This sounds terrific. I LOVE blood oranges, but berries too?! What a dream team.

  3. This sounds terrific. I LOVE blood oranges, but berries too?! What a dream team.

  4. oo i love the colors and berries and citrus sounds delicious. fabulous blog :)

  5. Oh this is lovely! I would love to have you add this to our Valentine's day recipe round-up!

  6. I too miss summer,but not really anything about running! So good for you - you can run a little for me while you're at it!!

  7. Wow, both colors and flavors on this are just stunning! What a great dish to serve on a cold day :)

  8. This sounds lovely. I like the use of the coconut instead of dairy cream. I love blood oranges too!

  9. How delicious! Definitely makes me think of summer! I love the coconut cream on top, especially the specks of vanilla!

  10. I need to try the coconut cream trick -- have never thought to whip it.