I started blogging about five years ago, I think last month, or sometime around this month. I was a decent cook by then, but definitely not a baker. If anything, blogging has provided me the opportunity to really push myself to try something new in the kitchen. One of the discoveries that I have found through all of this is that the simplest recipes, made with the best ingredients, are actually the best and the ones that tend to show up again and again at my house. Like this strawberry shortcake. This is, what I believe, is the quintessential dish for the summer. It screams summer all the way through. Tender buttermilk biscuits that are crusty on the outside, and stuffed with juicy sweet strawberries and cool freshly whipped cream. I had a little bit less strawberries than what the recipe called for in this recipe, and wish that I would have had more. Because these biscuits, while tender, they were still sturdy enough to soak in all of the juice from the strawberries. I told Red that I was making these for breakfast, and he wasn’t convinced. I mean, they are basically just strawberries, which falls under fruit category, and a little bit of biscuit and whipped cream – they should pass as a breakfast item, right? So I told him he could have the biscuits without the strawberries and whipped cream. BUT, he was sold. He ate two of them. The second one was probably enough to feed two, he made strawberry “double decker” shortcake. I should’ve taken pictures of it. So technically, almost three. Breakfast will never be the same at our house.
8 cups strawberries, hulled
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 cups flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
2/3 cup half-and-half, plus extra for brushing
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar, to taste
To prepare berries: Slice the berries and sprinkle with 6 tablespoons granulated sugar. Let berries sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.
To make shortcake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place rack in middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.
Add cold butter pieces, working them into the flour with a pastry cutter, or your fingers, until the mixture resembles cornmeal and no large lumps of butter remain.
In a small bowl, whisk together half-and-half and egg. Stir into flour mixture until dough comes together in a sticky mass.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly until it comes together, about 30 seconds. Dust the counter with a bit more flour, then pat dough into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. Cut 6 rounds with a floured 3-inch biscuit cutter, pressing straight down — twisting can seal the layers, leading to a dense shortcake — then place them upside-down on a baking sheet (helps ensure the highest rise).
No biscuit cutter? You also can cut squares with a knife.
Gather the scraps, knead briefly, and cut out 2 more shortcakes.
Brush each round with some half-and-half, then sprinkle with sparkling sugar.
Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, until just golden. Let cool on wire rack.
To assemble: Combine cream with powdered sugar and whip until stiff. With a serrated knife, slice each shortcake in half and lay the bottom on individual serving plates. Spoon a portion of fruit over each bottom, top with a dollop of whipped cream, then cap with the shortcake tops. Serve immediately.