This Cranberry Apple Shortcake saved my week! I wanted to make something that was super-easy that I knew I could pull off, and that I could serve up on Thanksgiving. Nothing is more fall than apples and cranberries. The tart and sweet combination-YUM. It’s like I hit the lottery with this one!
Long story short, I attempted another recipe this week and it just didn’t come out as expected after making it 3 times! I had been to the market way too many times and I refused to step foot in another market again, so I had to create something using ingredients that I already had on-hand. Luckily, I had everything that this shortbread calls for on deck! Flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, vanilla extract, check. The wet ingredients are apple cider vinegar, butter and shelf stable heavy cream, which are also staples in my house. You don’t have to use shelf stable heavy cream by the way, I just like to keep it on hand in case I buy it and don’t get around to using it right away.
I also got lucky with the ingredients for the filling. I always have granny-smith apples, sugar and spices on hand and I had leftover cranberries and triple-sec from my cranberry sauce that I posted last week.
So let’s get this shortbread part out of the way. I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. If you’re not really in a ‘from scratch’ mood, I get it. Buy yourself a box of Bisquick and follow the recipe on the box. Couldn’t find a link to the recipe, so I snapped a photo for you. If you choose this method, the shortbread will come out a little thicker, but still good.
Feeling a little more ambitious? That’s my girl! Follow these steps to make my rolled-shortcake biscuits.
Start by combining your wet and dry ingredients in a food processor and pulsing until the mixture is crumbly.
Gather the crumbly-mixture and form the dough into a large ball. Then transfer ball on a floured surface, knead a few times and roll it out until it’s about ¼ inch thick.
Use a small bowl or cookie cutter that’s about 3 inches wide to stamp out the biscuits.
Arrange the biscuits on a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and brush each biscuit with the egg-wash. Bake at 425° F for 13-14 minutes.
While the biscuits are in the oven, you want to start on the filling. Peel and slice about 6 apples. I use an apple slicer with a built in corer to make things easier. The slices usually come out kind of thick so I cut the slices in half again to make them thinner.
In a cast iron skillet, brown the butter and then add the apple slices and toss the apples in the butter. Add your cranberries, sugar, vanilla, bourbon and triple sec, let cook for about 10-15 minutes until the apples get soft and cranberries start to burst. At this point you can turn off the burner. Set aside and let cool.
Time to make the whipped cream! Pour the heavy cream into a deep bowl and whip on medium to high speed until bubbles start to form and the cream starts to thicken like this:
Add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks start to form.
Set the cream aside, or better yet, in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
Assemble the shortcake biscuits by layering them in this order: shortcake biscuit, layer apple-cranberry filling, shortcake biscuit, another layer of fruit filling, whipped cream, and a sprinkle of sliced almonds.
Feel free to switch it up by adding whipped cream to the first layer. I skipped adding cream to the bottom layer because I needed my version to hold up for pictures. Also, if you’re using the Bisquick biscuits you can halve them since the biscuits are a lot thicker.
There you have it, a tart cranberry-apple filling, on a soft buttery shortcake with whipped cream, served up just in time for the fall and the holidays!
Cranberry Apple Shortcake
For the shortcake
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup butter
- 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 egg beaten
For the filling
- 4-6 medium apples
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cognac or bourbon (optional)
- 1 tablespoon triple-sec (also optional)
- 4 tablespoon butter-cut into cubes
For the whipped cream
- ¾ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- Sliced almonds (optional)
Prepare the shortcake
- Pre-heat oven to 425° F and line a large baking sheet with wax or parchment paper
- Place butter cubes in food processor with 1 cup of flour, pulse until crumbly. Add remaining cup of flour and the baking powder, sugar, and salt. Pulse for another 5-10 seconds
- Add wet ingredients: heavy cream, apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. Pulse for another 10-20 seconds until the crumbles are moist.
- Dust your hands with flour and gather the dough mixture into a ball and transfer to a floured surface. Knead the dough 5 or 6 times and roll the dough using a rolling pin. You will want to roll the dough out into a large circle about 12 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.
- Use a round cookie cutter (I use the top of a 3 inch wide ramekin) to cut out 8 circles.
- Brush the tops with egg wash and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until the tops are golden. Transfer to a cooling rack when done.
Prepare the filling
- Melt 4 tbsp. butter over medium heat in a large cast-iron skillet. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until the butter becomes brown in color
- Add the sliced apples, both types of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg to the skillet and toss them in the butter.
- Add the vanilla, bourbon, triple-sec and cranberries, reduce heat slightly and let simmer for another 15 minutes.
Make the whipped cream
- Beat the heavy cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed.
- Once peaks start to form, add the powdered sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. DO NOT over-beat!
- Chill until ready to use
Assemble the shortcakes
- Layer each of the the shortcakes in this order: biscuit, apple/cranberry mixture, biscuit, and whipped cream
- Top with sliced almonds (optional)