Strawberry Kiwi Shortcakes with Vanilla Mascarpone

My love for fresh fruits has been well-documented on this blog. Give me a bowl of sliced mangoes, put some apple bananas in front of me, or better yet, treat me to a shopping spree at a farm stand....I do little happy flails. Fresh fruits just make me happy. (Fact: For my birthday this year, I had a fruit tart instead of a cake.)

There were just 3 kiwis leftover after making margaritas, and I knew that I wanted to make a dessert with them. I also had ultra-ripe strawberries sitting in my refrigerator...They needed some love, ASAP. Little Jacquelyn loves strawberries, and she absolutely devours them whenever I sprinkle on a little sugar. (She even licks the syrup left in the bowl. But, then again, who doesnt?!?) This gave me the idea to bring the two fruits together and pile them up on a sweet, buttery shortcake. These Strawberry Kiwi Shortcakes also get big dollops of vanilla & brown sugar infused mascarpone...all approved by a special little girl!

First, combine the equal parts of diced kiwi and diced strawberry, a little bit of sugar (depending on how ripe and sweet the fruits already are), and freshly squeezed calamansi juice. Lightly toss all of the ingredients together so that the fruit is completely coated. Then, just put the bowl aside and let it all macerate.

Such wonderful, delicious things happen inside that bowl...The sugar draws out the natural juices of the kiwis and strawberries. (This would be a great way to use Vanilla Bean Sugar!) Then, combined with the calamansi, the fruit soaks in that flavorful syrup. The longer you let it do its thing, the more flavor it soaks up. 

The fragrant calamansi adds a hint of tartness that really brightens up the dessert. I've used calamansi for different dishes on this blog, but if you're not familiar with this tiny citrus fruit or can't get your hands on any, freshly squeezed orange juice would be a tasty substitute.

To make the biscuit dough for the shortcakes, start by measuring out all of the dry ingredients and combining them in a large mixing bowl. Flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt...

Next, measure out the (*cold*) butter and the wet ingredients. Whisk together the heavy cream, egg, and vanilla in a separate measuring cup.

Incorporate the butter into the dry ingredients by using a pastry blender or by just using your hands. There should not be any large chunks of butter left. I've made scones, cobbler, and pie crust before, and this is all a very similar process.

Finally, make a well in the center and pour in the egg-cream-vanilla mixture. Use a spatula to gently bring the dough together.

And this is my mountain of dough clumps...

Once the dough has become mostly moist, turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, just until it comes together completely. (But don't over-knead it! You don't want it to become tough!)

Now, it's ready to be cut into biscuits. Press and flatten the dough until it's about 3/4 of an inch thick.

I used a small mason jar to cut out 8 2.5-in-wide circles. (My round cutters are lost in the abyss that is my "gadget drawer"...) Alternatively, you could cut out 4 big pieces. (And, you know, use a round cutter...)

Finally, brush the tops with a touch of heavy cream and sprinkle on a light layer of sugar. Transfer the biscuits to a foil or parchment lined baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-16 minutes.

After removing from the oven, allow them to cool slightly on a wire rack.

The biscuits will be golden brown and crisp on the outside, but tender on the inside. They come out rich and moist, from the butter and cream, and their texture is perfect for soaking up all of the syrupy fruit juices!

All that's left to do is make the vanilla mascarpone topping! (Because it's not a shortcake without a fluffy, creamy topping.) The tang from cream cheese might push the dessert over into too-sour-land, but mascarpone cheese is much more mild and slightly sweet.

Beat the mascarpone, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Next, while still mixing at medium speed, carefully pour in the heavy whipping cream a couple of tablespoons at a time.

The mixture will fluff up like whipped cream, but it's also thick and creamy because of the cheese.

Mmmmmm. Mascarpone mousse perfection.

At last, assemble the shortcakes by slicing each biscuit in half and filling with as much fruit and vanilla cream as your shortcake-loving heart desires. (Every now and then, I like to get some double-decker action in...) 

The melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, the sweet and sour bite from the fresh strawberries and kiwi, and the rich vanilla cream...These shortcakes are a simple, delicious dessert that everyone will love! Try serving up a build-your-own shortcake bar at brunch, or packing some up for a special Mother's Day picnic. Kids will love the sweet fruit and whipped topping (I know Jackie did!), so they could even work for birthday parties. All you need is a refreshing glass of iced tea or lemonade, and you can enjoy these all Spring and Summer long! :)

Strawberry Kiwi Shortcakes (Adapted from Joy the Baker; Makes 8 small shortcakes)

Print Recipe

Fruit Filling:
2 cups Diced Kiwi
2 cups Diced Strawberries
3-4 tbsps Sugar (*If fruit is already very ripe/sweet, add less sugar.)
1/2 tbsp Freshly Squeezed Calamansi Juice (*Substitute: Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice)
2 cups All Purpose Flour
1/4 cup White Granulated Sugar
2 tsps Baking Powder
1/8 tsp Fine Sea Salt
5 tbsp Unsalted Butter, chilled
1 large Egg
1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp Heavy Cream, divided
Sugar, for sprinkling
Vanilla Cream Topping:
1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese
1/2 tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
2-3 tbsps Brown Sugar
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with foil or parchment paper.
  2. To prepare the fruit filling, combine the diced kiwi, diced strawberries, 3-4 tbsps of sugar, and citrus juice in a medium-size bowl. Lightly toss all of the ingredients so that the fruit is completely coated. Set aside to macerate. 
  3. To make the shortcakes, combine the flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine well. Using your fingers or a pastry blender, incorporate the cold butter into the dry ingredients. There should be no large chunks. In a separate measuring cup, whisk together the egg, vanilla, and heavy cream. Make a well in the center of the butter-flour mixture, then pour in the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to gently bring the dough together. Then, turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, just until it comes together completely. Roll the dough out until it's about 3/4-in thick, and cut into 8 pieces. Finally, brush the tops with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-16 minutes. After removing from the oven, allow to cool slightly on a wire rack.
  4. For the vanilla cream topping, combine the mascarpone cheese, vanilla, and brown sugar (make as sweet as desired) in the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment. Blend the ingredients on medium speed until smooth and the brown sugar has been completely incorporated. Next, pour in the heavy cream a couple of tablespoons at a time. Continue to whisk on medium speed until the topping is thick and fluffy.
  5. To assemble the shortcakes, slice each biscuit in half. Fill each biscuit with macerated fruit and vanilla cream topping.
  6. Serve with coffee, tea, or even iced tea and lemonade! Enjoy!