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Anne Byrn's Strawberry Shortcake

Anne Byrn's Strawberry Shortcakes

Serves: 8 to 12


6 cups ripe fresh local strawberries
2/3 cup granulated sugar, or more to taste
3 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly softened, plus 2 tablespoons for buttering the shortcakes
1 large egg
1 cup heavy cream, plus 1 1/2 cups freshly whipped cream, sweetened with 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar


An hour before serving, hull the strawberries and slice all but eight (save those for garnish, if desired). Toss the halved berries with 1/3 cup of the sugar, plus more to taste, if desired. Let sit at room temperature while preparing the cakes.

Place a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and the baking powder and salt. Stir to thoroughly combine. Cut the butter into tablespoons and distribute over the top of the dry ingredients. With two sharp paring knives or a pastry blender, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like peas and is uniform in size.

Crack the egg into a measuring cup full of the heavy cream and stir with a fork to break up the yolk. Pour this into the dough mixture and stir together with a wooden spoon or spatula until the liquid is just combined.

On a floured work surface, turn out the dough and pat it to a round measuring a generous 1-inch thick. Flour a round 2- to 3-inch biscuit cutter and cut the dough into 8 to 12 rounds. Place these on a baking sheet, and bake until golden brown around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly, split int half and butter lightly.

To serve, place the bottom half of the shortcake into a serving bowl. Spoon the sweetened berries, along with some of their juices, on top, then place the top half of the biscuit over the berries. Spoon more berries, juice and whipped cream on top. Garnish with one fresh strawberry, if desired. Repeat with the remaining shortcakes. Drizzle any remaining juice in the bowl over the shortcakes before serving.

Photo: Mitch Mandell

About the recipe

When Anne Byrn researched the history of strawberry shortcake for her book, "American Cake," she learned it was an old dessert, created to use up the wild "Virginia" variety of strawberries that grew generations ago across much of the eastern United States. These berries were known for their bright and pungent flavor, and people worked diligently to put them up into jams and wine and anything to savor that distinct strawberry flavor later in the year. And for special occasions, early settlers made strawberry shortcake.

Her version is made using the biscuit method and is perfect for making use of fresh farmers market berries in the springtime.