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Recipe: Erin French’s Summer Berries with Ginger-Cream Shortcakes

It could be the beautifully restored 1800s grist mill that houses the restaurant. Or the artfully plated dishes comprised of just-harvested, Maine-made ingredients. Or the warm hospitality offered by the all-women team. But one thing is for certain: The Lost Kitchen in Freedom, Maine (population: 722) offers a respite from the everyday bustle of life and an escape into the picturesque countryside—if only for one magical evening.

Helmed by self-taught chef Erin French, this intimate 40-seat eatery gained widespread acclaim with the airing of its namesake TV show on The Magnolia Network. Its hyper-local emphasis celebrates the bounty of Maine's local farms, aquaculture and artisans. Regardless of any newfound fame, French's inventive and heartfelt approach to cooking remains the same, with each meal a testament to the state’s rich agricultural heritage and elegant simplicity.

Want to make a reservation? You’ll have to win the lottery—literally; submit a postcard at the beginning of the season to enter the unique lottery system for your chance to book a table.

Or visit the property at your leisure to shop small-batch, handmade kitchen goods, gourmet food products, antiques and wine at the TLK Shop (open Tuesday – Saturday). Also held at The Lost Kitchen, the seasonal Freedom Farmers’ Market, every Tuesday (rain or shine) from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., features just-picked produce, Maine-made dairy, specialty ice cream, preserves, pickles, meat and seafood for all your home cooking needs. You’ll be able to craft your own delightful dinner experience right at home.

Stock up on Maine’s flavorful summer berries and make the most of them with this light, bright dessert recipe from Erin French’s cookbook.


For the Shortcakes:

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, cold, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
  • ⅓ cup chopped candied ginger
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup raw sugar

For the Filling:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, plus more for serving
  • ½ pint strawberries, sliced
  • ½ pint raspberries
  • ½ pint blueberries
  • ½ pint blackberries
  • Mint sprigs, for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

MAKE THE SHORTCAKES: In a food processor, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and lemon zest. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is incorporated and the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Transfer to a large bowl. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the candied ginger, vanilla, and ¾ cup of the heavy cream until just barely combined.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a log about 10 inches long and 2 inches wide. Using a knife, slice the dough into 8 circles and put them on the lined baking sheet. Brush the shortcakes with the remaining ¼ cup cream and sprinkle with the raw sugar.

Bake until the shortcakes are light golden, 15 to 18 minutes. Allow them to cool on the baking sheet, then halve them horizontally as though opening a biscuit and divide the bottoms among 8 plates.

While the shortcakes bake, MAKE THE FILLING: Using a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla and confectioners’ sugar and mix until just combined.

Spoon a heaping dollop of whipped cream over the bottom half of each scone. Top with a mixture of the berries and another dollop of cream. Top with the other half of the shortcakes, then sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, garnish with mint sprigs, if desired, and serve.

“The Lost Kitchen” Copyright © 2017 by Erin French. Photographs copyright © 2017 by Nicole Franzen. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Random House.

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