1cupall-purpose flour, unbleached(plus extra for rolling out dough)
¾cupgranulated sugar, divided
4tablespoonsbutter (2 ounces), cold
2cupsfresh cherries (about 10 ounces or 30 cherries)
1½cupsfresh whipped cream, or spray whipped cream can also be used
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Macerate the fruit:
Use a small paring knife to peel the skins from the nectarines. Slice out and remove the pit. Cut the nectarines into small pieces and place them in a medium bowl.
Save out 6 whole cherries to top the finished trifles.Remove the pits from the remaining cherries, then slice them into small pieces. Add them to the bowl with the nectarines. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of the sugar over the fruit and toss everything together. Loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set the fruit aside until it's time to assemble the trifles.
Make the shortcakes:
Whisk together the flour, the rest of the sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
Slice the cold butter into small cubes. Stir the butter cubes to the flour mixture. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients so that the mixture looks coarse. If any large pieces remain, use your fingers to squeeze and flatten them.
Add in the half-and-half and use a spoon to toss and combine the mixture.
Dust a work surface with flour and pour out the flour-butter mixture. Sprinkle the top with a bit more of flour and knead by hand for just 2 or 3 minutes until it has just come together into a dough (add a sprinkle more flour to the work surface or dough to keep it from getting too sticky.)
Roll the dough out to a ½-inch thickness. Use a 2-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles from the dough. (If you don't have a cookie cutter this small, look around your kitchen: measure the lid from a large spice bottle or top of a glass bottle and you'll probably find one that's 2 inches. If not, draw a 2-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper, cut it out and use it as a template.)
Place the shortcake dough circles on the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Pop the tray in the fridge for 10 minutes to chill the dough circles. Then, bake them in the preheated oven for 8-9 minutes, until they are puffed and just beginning to brown. Remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.
Assemble the trifles:
Place one shortcake round in the bottom of each mason jar. If the shortcakes are a little too big to fit in the jar, use your cookie cutter or a sharp knife to trim a little off the outside.
Add 2 tablespoons of the macerated nectarines and cherries including some of the sugary juices to each jar. Top the fruit with about 1 tablespoon of whipped cream (eyeball it if you're using spray whipped cream from a can.)
Place another shortcake round on top of the cream, top with 2 more tablespoons of fruit and juices. Finish the top of the trifle with a generous dollop (or squirt) of whipped cream. Add a cherry to the top of each trifle!
Serve immediately. The trifles may also be assembled and refrigerated for up to an hour before serving. Makes 6 servings.
To make your own whipped cream:
Chill a bowl and whisk attachment for your mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes, then assemble them on your mixer. Pour in 1 cup of heavy cream or whipping cream and turn the mixer on high. Whip the cream for a minute or two, then add in 1/4 cup of confectioner's sugar. Continue whipping the cream on high speed for another 2-4 minutes until it is thick and has peaks. Use the whipped cream immediately or keep it covered in the fridge until you need it.
I like using little mason jars for these trifles because the jars are cute, inexpensive, often on hand, and clear so that the pretty trifle layers can be seen. If you don’t have half pint-sized mason jars, considering picking some up. They’re great for these trifles, for small cocktails like G&Ts or margaritas, for shaking up some salad dressing, and of course for canning! OR you can always use another small glass dish or dessert bowl.
Macerating the nectarines and cherries means stirring them together with some sugar to get them to release their juices – and sweet, juicy fruit is just what you want in these trifles! If you want your fruit a little less sweet, you can cut back on the amount of sugar that gets stirred with the cut up nectarines and cherries.
Make-ahead options - the trifles should be assembled no more than an hour before serving, but here are three things you can do ahead of time: you can bake the shortcake rounds up to three days in advance. If you are making your own whipped cream you can do this a day in advance. You can also pit and slice the cherries and nectarines the day before you plan to serve the trifles. Keep the sliced fruits covered in the fridge until you need them.