If you’ve been reading our little blog for a while, you may have noticed that we’re slightly obsessed with strawberries right now. As far as obsessions go, it’s a pretty good one. Perhaps it’s hereditary – my maternal grandmother, who was affectionately known as Nana (but pronounced Nanny) had a strawberry fetish herself. Not only did she love to eat them but she was constantly stealing what she called “strawberry kisses” from her 5 adoring grandchildren. Her kitchen floor was covered with indoor/outdoor carpet with a loud strawberry print that I can still clearly picture 20 years later. The crown jewel in her kitchen was a large ceramic strawberry-shaped cookie jar. This very same cookie jar now graces a prominent spot in my kitchen and makes me smile each time I look at it. I’d like to think this classic version of strawberry shortcake would bring a smile to Nana’s face as well.
the shortcake part of this recipe is adapted from the Butter Biscuits in The Bread Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
makes 9 shortcakes
|unsalted butter, cold||6 tablespoons||3 ounces||85 grams|
|White Lily self-rising flour||2 cups||10 ounces||290 grams|
|sugar||3 tablespoons||1.3 ounces||37.5 grams|
|zest of a lemon or an orange, optional||—||—||—|
|2 hard-boiled egg yolks||—||1.3 ounces||37 grams|
|heavy cream||3/4 cup liquid||6 ounces||174 grams|
|melted butter, cooled (or heavy cream)||1 tablespoon||0.5 ounce||14 grams|
|coarse or granulated sugar for sprinkling||about 1 teaspoon||—||—|
Why use White Lily flour? Well, ’cause my Mama told me to and as every Southern cook knows, it really does produce the lightest and fluffiest biscuits. But, if like Beranbaum, you live outside the Mason-Dixon Line and can’t find it, all-purpose flour can be substituted or for the closest mimic, Beranbaum says to use:
|bleached all-purpose flour||1 1/4 cups||6.5 ounces||182 grams|
|plus cake flour||2/3 cup||2.3 ounces||86 ounces|
|plus baking powder||1 tablespoon||0.5 ounce||14.7 ounces|
|plus fine sea salt||1 teaspoon||—||6.6 grams|
1. Chill the butter. Cut the butter into small bits. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or freeze for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven. Place a baking stone or baking sheet on the middle rack and then preheat the oven to 375 degrees F 20 minutes before baking.
3. Mix the dough. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour (and the baking powder and salt if not using self-rising flour), sugar, and zest (if using). Add the butter, and with your fingertips, press it into the flour to make small pieces that resemble coarse meal.
Press the egg yolks through a fine mesh strainer into the flour mixture, and whisk to distribute them evenly. Stir in the cream just until the flour is moistened and the dough starts to come together so you can form it into a ball with your hands. Empty it on to a lightly floured counter and knead it a few times until it develops a little elasticity and feels smooth. Dust the dough lightly with flour if it feels a little sticky, and pat or roll it 3/4 inch thick (the shape doesn’t matter).
Why add hard-boiled egg yolks? Since they’re high in fat but low in moisture, they add richness without toughening the dough. Beranbaum writes that they, along with the butter, “give the most extraordinary golden color, velvety texture, and pleasing flavor.” I agree!
4. Shape the dough. Dip a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter into flour before each cut and cut cleanly through the dough, lifting out the cutter without twisting it so that the edges are straight and for the maximum rise. Knead the dough scraps briefly so they won’t get tough, pat or roll out, and cut out more biscuits.
For biscuits with soft sides, place the biscuits almost touching on the baking sheet lined with Silpat or parchment. For crisp sides, place them 1 inch apart. Brush off any excess flour. For a crisp top, brush with melted butter (or cream) and sprinkle lightly with sugar.
5. Bake the biscuits. Place the biscuits in the oven on the hot baking stone or baking sheet, raise the temperature to 400 degrees F, and bake for 5 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking for 10-15 minutes or until golden.
- lots of strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and quartered
- sugar, to taste depending on how sweet your berries are
- splash of freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice, optional
While the biscuits are baking, mash up about 1/3 of berries with a potato masher. Add remaining berries, sugar, and juice (if using) and let macerate.
Lightly Sweetened Whipped Cream:
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 cup of heavy cream
Chill bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Then combine all ingredients and beat until soft peaks form.
For Shortcake Assembly:
Split each shortcake in half. Spoon loads of macerated strawberries and a generous dollop of whipped cream over bottom half. Place top on and dig in!
Variation for Peach Shortcake:
Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger (1 ounce/28 grams) to the flour mixture and add 1 tablespoon (1/3 ounce/17 grams) grated fresh ginger when adding the liquid.