A celebration of summer: Strawberry Shortcake
About the recipe
Make this celebration of summer with all strawberries or a variety of berries including blackberries, raspberries and blueberries. Make sure to hand-whip the cream just until it mounds and holds its shape, but an electric mixer can be used with restraint.
Adapted from “The Gift of Southern Cooking” by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock (Knopf, $29.95)
Hands On Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 cups sifted White Lily flour (measured after sifting), plus more for the counter
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Homemade Baking Powder (recipe below)
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled, plus 3 tablespoons, melted
1 cup chilled heavy cream
1 cup chilled half and half
5 cups fresh strawberries, tops removed and sliced lengthwise
1/4 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons for the whipped cream
Small pinch kosher salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 prepared Cream Biscuits (above)
Homemade baking powder
1/4 cup cream of tartar
2 tablespoons baking soda
To make the biscuits: Heat the oven to 450 degrees.
Put the flour, homemade baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Whisk well to thoroughly blend. Add the butter and, working quickly, coat in flour and rub between your fingertips until about half the butteris coarsely blended and the other half remains in large pieces about 1/2 inch in size.
Make a well in the flour mixture and pour in the cream and half and half. Stir quickly, just until the dough is blended and begins to mass. The dough should be soft and a bit sticky and there should not be large amounts of unincorporated flour in the bowl. If dough is too dry, add a few tablespoons more cream.
Turn the dough immediately onto a generously floured surface, and with floured hands, knead briskly 8 to 10 times until a cohesive dough is formed.
Gently flatten the dough with your hands so it is of an even thickness. Then, using a floured rolling pin, roll it out to a uniform thickness of 1/2 inch. (If the dough begins to stick to your rolling pin, dust the pin — not the dough — with flour. Flouring the dough at this point will result in dusty-looking biscuits.) With a dinner fork dipped in flour, pierce the dough completely through at 1/2-inch intervals.
Lightly flour a 2 1/2- or 3-inch biscuit cutter and stamp out rounds. (Do not twist the cutter when stamping out biscuits.) Cut the biscuits from the dough as close together as you can for a maximum yield. Arrange cut biscuits on a heavy, ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet so that they almost touch. Do not re-roll the scraps. Just bake as is and enjoy as a treat.
Bake in the upper third of the oven until crusty golden brown, 8 to 12 minutes. (Check about 6 minutes into baking and rotate the pan if needed to ensure even cooking.) Remove from the oven and brush with melted butter.
To make the shortcakes: In a bowl, sprinkle strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar and salt and toss gently. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar, if desired. (Remember the whipped cream will be sweetened, too.) Cover the berries and let them sit for 10 minutes or so, until the sugar is dissolved and the berries have exuded some of their juices.
By hand or with an electric mixer, whip the cream, 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla until it thickens to a soft consistency that barely mounds and holds its shape.
To serve, warm biscuits briefly, split the biscuits and spoon the berries over the bottom half of each. Spoon the whipped cream generously over the berries and cover with the top halves of the biscuits. Serve immediately.