Pickled Cherry Tomato and Ricotta Rye Shortcakes that Prove I’m a Human

by | Oct 15, 2019

This recipe takes a traditional strawberry shortcake dessert and turns it into something that has no business arriving at the end of a meal. It blurs the boundary between the fundamental essence of a shortcake and that of a biscuit. It gives Frank— who grew up here in Ireland where there were no strawberry shortcakes or breakfast biscuits—an unfaithful, confused representation of an American classic.  

And, it exposes my growing devotion to a food I complained about and rolled my eyes at countless times while I was growing up in Kentucky.


Prolific, pervasive, epidemic (I thought, at least) during the sweltering summers of my childhood.  

Idolized, coveted, exalted (by me, at least) now that I live in this Irish climate where summers and the relentless heat tomato plants love are more miss than hit.

This proves, without a doubt, that I’m a human being. And that’s because I’ve become one of those adults, like every other adult I know, who craves the foods and flavours of their childhood.  

So tomato shortcakes it is. 

For these, you can pickle the cherry tomatoes, as I’ve done, getting the idea from an exquisite meal at Etto in Dublin; you can leave them raw and dress them in oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper, so you have more of a bruschetta situation; or you can concentrate their sweetness by drying them out overnight in the oven like Nigella does.

However you decide to tomato (and I hope you’re saying it ‘tuh-may-tow’ as you read this, like I do), they’ll be dreamy with the buffalo ricotta from Macroom Buffalo Cheese. If you live in Ireland and can get this ricotta, don’t settle for anything else.

Pickled Cherry Tomato and Ricotta Rye Shortcakes

  1. Two days before you plan to serve the shortcakes, pickle your cherry tomatoes like this.
  2. On the day, make and bake your shortcakes like this, omitting the sugar.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, whip the ricotta with a fork in a bowl until it’s creamy.
  4. Cut a shortcake in half, spoon some pickled cherry tomatoes onto the bottom half, spoon some ricotta onto the tomatoes, then top it all with the shortcake lid.

Not sure when to eat these shortcakes? Serve a fried egg on the side and call it brunch. Then slowly savour each bite as you reminisce about the fleeting flavours of your childhood.

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