The Washington Post

Peach Melba Shortcakes

Peach Melba Shortcakes 6.000

Jennifer Heffner for The Washington Post; styling by Lisa Cherkasky

Jul 29, 2022

When peaches are in season and perfectly ripe, there’s no need to bake them into a pie — stack them into shortcakes. This recipe takes a note from the flavors of peach Melba. The traditional combination of vanilla ice cream, peaches and raspberry sauce is remixed inside buttery biscuit-like shortcakes. Feel free to replace the whipped cream with ice cream. The addition of cornstarch here acts as insurance in case you over-moisten or overwork the dough — it will still bake into tender shortcakes. If you don’t have raspberries, this recipe works fine without them. Likewise, it works well with plums, apricots and strawberries, too.

If you don’t have cornstarch, omit it and increase the amount of all-purpose flour to 2 cups instead, but be sure to use a light touch when handling the dough.

Active time: 25 mins; Total time: 1 hour


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 6 servings; makes 6 shortcakes

  • For the shortcakes
  • 1 3/4 cups (220 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (30 grams) cornstarch, see headnote
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces/113 grams) unsalted butter, frozen
  • 2/3 cup (180 milliliters) well-shaken, whole cultured buttermilk, cold
  • 1 large egg, cold
  • For the fruit
  • 6 medium (1 3/4 pounds/794 grams) fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 pint (80 grams) fresh raspberries
  • For the vanilla whipped cream
  • 1 cup (240 milliliters) heavy cream, very cold
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste


Make the shortcakes: Lightly grease a large, rimmed baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using the holes of a large grater, grate the butter into the dry ingredients. Use your fingers to gently toss the butter with the dry ingredients until clumps the size of small peas form. This should take no more than 30 seconds. Once mixed, if your kitchen is warm, place the bowl in the freezer while you prepare the liquid ingredients.

In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the buttermilk and egg until well combined. Reserve 2 tablespoons of this mixture for brushing on top of the shortcakes. Stir the remainder into the butter-flour mixture, mixing gently with your hands just until a soft dough forms.

Lightly flour a cool work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Press the dough into a rough 1-inch-thick rectangle. Starting on a short end and using a pastry cutter to help you, fold it into thirds, like a letter. Rotate the dough so the long side is facing you and gently press it into a rough, 3/4-inch thick rectangle about 9-by-6-inches. Using a floured 2 1/2- or 3-inch diameter cutter or thin glass, cut 6 rounds out of the dough. Gently place them, evenly spaced, on the prepared baking sheet. (You can press and reroll the dough to get 2 more shortcakes, but these will be somewhat less tender.) Brush just the tops with the reserved egg-buttermilk mixture, and place them in the freezer for 10 to 15 minutes, while you preheat your oven.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.

Prepare the fruit: While the oven preheats, in a large bowl, combine the peaches with the honey and raspberries and gently stir. Set aside at room temperature to allow the fruit juices to start to run.

Bake the shortcakes for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 10 minutes, or until they’re tall and light gold brown. Cool for at least 15 minutes, or until barely warm to the touch.

Make the vanilla whipped cream: In the bowl of a stand mixer, or using a bowl and a hand mixer or whisk, combine the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla. Whip on medium-high speed until soft-but-stable peaks form.

To serve, using a small serrated knife, split each shortcake in half through its equator and place the bottom half on a plate. Top it with about 4 slices of the saucy peaches and raspberries. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the whipped cream. Cap it with the top of the shortcake. Repeat with the remaining shortcakes and fruit, and serve, with any extra fruit and cream on the side.

Recipe Source

From staff writer G. Daniela Galarza

Tested by Debi Suchman.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at

Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving (1 filled shortcake): 574

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 32g 49%

Saturated Fat: 19g 95%

Cholesterol: 134mg 45%

Sodium: 379mg 16%

Total Carbohydrates: 65g 22%

Dietary Fiber: 5g 20%

Sugar: 27g

Protein: 8g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

Most Read Lifestyle