Strawberry Shortcakes

strawberryshortcake
Strawberries are everywhere. It’s Strawberries Galore! (If I was a Bond Girl, that would definetly be my name. That or Sticky Buns.)

I just returned from New York City, where every farmers market was overflowing with these lucious berries. (The markets were also full of micro greens, but I would rather buy a pint of berries than a pint of pea sprouts any day.) Berry surplus means just one thing to me … shortcake.

This classic dessert has had many incarnations, but it began as a way to use up last night’s biscuits. I’ve seen it made with pound cake, sponge cake, cookies, scones and those doggy-dish shaped cakes they sell at the grocery store (along with that day-glo red gel goop I gather one is supposed to smear onto the fruit. Don’t do it people! Those berries have been good to you! They don’t deserve to be treated that way!)

My favorite way to shortcake is with fruit and cream sandwiched between a flaky, not-too-sweet biscuit. When the berries go away, use any fruit you like. And don’t be afraid to flavor your biscuit with creativity. Some of my favorite versions include roasted plums in a sage-pecan shortcake, mango and pineapple in coconut-macadamia shortcake, and dried fruit macerated in cognac in a gingerbread shortcake. Oh yeah!

And while you’re stretching your culinary creativity, toss the fruit with a bit of sugar, Grand Marnier, herbs, citrus zest, or vanilla for a little something extra.

INGREDIENTS

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, divided
1 TB. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 oz. butter, diced and chilled
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 TB. vanilla extract, divided
2 TB. milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 pints strawberries rinsed, trimmed and halved

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine buttermilk and 1 tablespoon vanilla and set aside. In a large bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut-in chilled butter to pea-sized pieces with your fingertips or a pastry blender. Make a well in the center of the flour-butter mixture, pour in buttermilk and stir gently until just moistened. Turn the dough out onto lightly floured work surface and fold 7-8 times, just until it holds together. Roll to 1-inch thick and cut into 2 or 3 inch biscuits with circle cookie cutter. Place on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Whisk together yolk, milk, and brush it generously on top of each biscuit, and sprinkle with extra sugar for a crispy crust. Bake at 375˚F until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  2. Whip cream to soft peaks with 1/4 cup sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla. Cut biscuits in half and sandwich berries and whipped cream. Sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar and serve.

strawberry-shortcake
I’m pretty sure Rainbow Bright could kick Strawberry Shortcake’s @$$

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