These Strawberry Rhubarb Shortcakes are perfect for spring! The strawberries and rhubarb get roasted with vanilla and bourbon to take on the most amazing flavor. Paired with buttery biscuits and fresh whipped cream, it doesn't get any better!
Rhubarb and I have always had a complicated relationship. I didn't grow up on an idyllic farm with barnyard animals and giant stalks of rhubarb that Mom would whip up into luscious pies and jams. No. I grew up at the Jersey shore, where early spring merely meant we were a bit closer to long lazy beach days and juicy ripe tomatoes.
As a food-obsessed kid, I remember hearing about rhubarb through the grapevine: on cooking shows, in magazines, and cook books. I was totally intrigued by it, and longed to know what it tasted like, just like all the other seemingly exotic foods I watched chefs consistently fawn over.
I found a simple recipe to roast the rhubarb along with some strawberries, a vanilla bean, plenty of sugar, and a hefty splash of bourbon. It is a known fact that vanilla, sugar and bourbon will make anything taste amazing.
The scent of berries, bourbon and vanilla caramelizing in the oven was intoxicating. Even if it tasted horrible, I'd make this recipe again for the smell alone. So far we're winning. Upon removal from the oven, I took a fork, dug in, died and went straight to heaven. It was sweet, fruity, and not at all boozy. The softened rhubarb melted in my mouth and added just the right balance of sour. I get it now!
Just like that, rhubarb was bumped to the top of my "things I love about Spring" list. I'm so glad we were able to work out our differences. It's funny how I've come to discover that most of the things my 10-year-old self loathed, my 30-year-old self loves. Sometimes it's just a matter of miscommunication. I've still yet to encounter an opportunity (or the courage) to try balout, however. I'll leave that for my 50-year-old palate to discover another 20 years from now. Maaaaybe. These roasted strawberries and rhubarb are just lovely spooned over ice cream, swirled into yogurt, or eaten warm with a fork straight off the roasting pan. But this year I decided to up the ante by putting them on a shortcake: the quintessential late spring/early summer dessert that is basically perfect in every way. This version is no exception.
Individual nutmeg scented biscuits get topped with syrupy roasted fruit and a dollop of bourbon-spiked whipped cream. What could go wrong here? Nothing. That's what. Rhubarb lover or not, this recipe is destined to make you smile... Probably from the bourbon.Print