Archive | April, 2011

Authentic Strawberry Shortcakes

2 Apr

1/4 cup sugar 
2 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon baking powder 
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces  
1 large egg 
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream 
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 

For the compote:
2 1/2 cups hulled and halved strawberries 
2 1/2 tablespoons water 
1 1/4 tablespoons sugar 

Makes 10 shortcakes. 

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 
2. Combine the sugar, flour, and baking powder in a large bowl. Using a fork, cut in the butter until the dough resembles coarse meal. 
3. Whisk together the egg and the whipping cream in a small bowl. Slowly add this mixture to the dry ingredients until the dough comes together. 
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly-floured surface, patting it down to a 1-inch-thick square. Use a 2 1/2 inch cookie cutter to cut the dough into circles. Repeat the process until you have used up all the dough. 
5. Bake until golden brown for 25-30 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes. 
6. For the compote, combine the strawberries, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until the strawberries become soft, having released their juices. 
7. To serve, cut the shortcakes length-wise. Place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the center of the shortcake and drizzle the compote over the ice cream. Top with a few fresh strawberry slices. 

These classic strawberry shortcakes were fun and easy to bake. There is nothing more satisfying than watching the dainty circles of dough puff up into beautiful golden biscuits in the oven. The shortcakes are buttery and flaky on the outside and tear open seamlessly, revealing a soft and airy interior. While vanilla ice cream is decadent and refreshing, freshly whipped cream would work beautifully here as well. The biscuits are also wonderful for breakfast or afternoon tea time, slathered with butter and your favorite fruit preserve.