Strawberry Shortcake

by

This is an old-fashioned kind of dessert. The cake is not a cake. It is shortbread or shortcake to Americans or scone to Brits. What that means is a basic biscuit that is leavened by baking powder. The ingredients are not really blended, they are cut together – an entirely different proposition.


—–Biscuits:—–

300 g all-purpose flour (2 cups)
12 g baking powder (1Tbs)
3 g salt (1/2 tsp)
38 g sugar (3 Tbs)
1 stick butter, chilled, cut into 8 pieces
150 g heavy cream (3/4 cup)

—–Filling:—–

1 quart strawberries
72 g sugar (1/3 cup)

—–Topping:—–

230 g heavy cream (1 cup)
50 g sugar (1/4 cup)
7 g vanilla (1 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set rack at mid-level.

—– Filling: —–

Rinse and drain the berries, hull and slice. To hull means to remove the green at the top of the berry. If you are worried about getting every last bit of strawberry goodie, then pick them off. I don’t usually bother, I just whack the top of the berry off, then turn and slice. A whole lot faster and you don’t really lose that much strawberry compared to the time and effort you save. When you have the berries sliced up sprinkle the sugar over them, cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (Overnight is ok).

—– Biscuits: —–

Mix up all the dry ingredients in a fairly large bowl. All you really need to do is swirl everything around with your fingers thoroughly. Cut the butter into the mix with a pastry blender until the butter/flour mix resembles pea sized gravel. If you do not have a pastry blender – they are cheap and plentiful – popular lore has it that you can use two dull knives. I find that awkward to say the least. Bare hands would probably work better. Do NOT make the classic mistake of over blending. This is a biscuit (scone) – NOT a roll or bread. Make a well in the center of the mix and add the heavy cream, stirring it in with a fork until all the flour/butter is moist. Don’t over mix. If necessary add a little more cream.

Let the mix stand for about 5 minutes, then pour it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Fold and press 3 to 4 time until the mix starts holding together. You may find it beneficial to use the heel of the hand and the wrist rather than fingers or palm. The heel generates less heat into the mix and you don’t want to melt the butter.

Pat it out about ¾” thick or so and cut 3” circles out with a round cutter. You should be able to get 8 out of this dough. Put them on a cookie sheet – either non-stick or greased – brush the top with cream and lightly sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes or until they rise and are slightly browned.

Gently split and butter while they are still warm. A serrated knife works best – these are quite crumbly. {{Herself Sez: OR you can split them using a fork – as with English Muffins.}} Put about 1/3 cup strawberries in each biscuit, put the tops back on. Add a tablespoon or so of strawberries to the top, then cover with the whipped cream topping. Be sure to get some of the strawberry liquid from the bottom of the bowl dribbled over each biscuit.

—– Topping: —–

Whip the cream until almost stiff. Add sugar and vanilla; beat until cream holds peaks.

If you are not going to serve immediately the strawberries and the whipped cream will refrigerate nicely. Just assemble as many shortcakes as you need just before serving.

{{Herself Sez: Lots of Yummy Sounds for this one!}}

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