Lobster Shortcake with Rum Vanilla Sauce

Lobster Shortcake with Rum Vanilla Sauce

This dish brings together many of the traditions of the seafaring Mainers of old, involving the Triangle Trade when New England ports would send rum produced here to Africa to trade for slaves. The slaves would be sold in the West Indies for sugar and molasses, which would complete the circle—the sugar and molasses came right back to New England to make—you guessed it—more rum. One of the by-products of this triangle was an infusion of some of the more exotic ingredients we now find here. In this recipe we also hearken back to Maine’s bustling spice trade, which brought even more flavors from exotic lands to our plain Yankee cooking. This dish can be an elegant way to start a lavish dinner, as we like to do, or it can be a main dish. 


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons very cold butter, cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup Angostura 5 years rum
  • serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
  • 1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh ginger
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • shallots
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • serrano chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 3 1 1/4 lb lobsters, boiled and meat removed
  • 1/2 pound butter


  • For the shortcake: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk, a bit at a time, until a soft dough holds together. Roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness and cut with a 3-inch round cutter. Make 12 cakes. Brush with cream and bake until lightly brown, about 15 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  • For the lime vanilla rum sauce: Combine the lime juice, vinegar, rum, chile, vanilla bean, shallots, and ginger in a saucepan. Cook on medium heat until reduced by two-thirds. Reduce the heat to low and whisk in the softened butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Strain through a fine sieve and discard solid ingredients. The sauce can be held in a warm place for up to 1 hour.
  • For the curried shallots: Place all the ingredients in a stainless steel pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and cool. These can be made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator.
  • For the lobster: Split each lobster tail in half. Melt the butter over medium heat. Add the lobster and heat gently until the lobster is warmed through, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • To assemble the dish: Spoon half of the sauce evenly onto six warm plates. Split each shortcake and place the bottom half on each plate. Top each shortcake with one-half of a tail, a claw, and knuckle meat. Top with the remaining sauce and then with the top of the shortcake. Divide the curried shallots among the plates.

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