It wasn’t until my 20s that I was first introduced to authentic strawberry shortcake. No pound cake, no fake whipped “topping,” no saccharine strawberry syrup. Instead, old-fashioned strawberry shortcake is made of crumbly, buttery biscuits, fresh whipped cream and whole strawberries. The real deal, needless to say, is a world apart from the stuff most of us had as a kid. Here’s my personal recipe for this dazzling, whole-food summer dessert that’s going to win over both kids and adults with its freshness and ripe berry flavor.
Makes 5 servings
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, chilled, diced
¾ cup heavy whipping cream, plus more for brushing
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 orange, zested
1 quart strawberries, stemmed and chopped
2 to 4 tablespoons sugar, to taste
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; grease lightly.
To prepare the shortcake: Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor; pulse a few times.
Add butter to food processor; pulse until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
Add cream and vanilla to food processor; pulse until ingredients come together and a dough just forms.
Remove dough to a floured surface. Knead with hands a few times until mixture just holds. Roll out to a ½-inch thick circle. Using a cookie cutter or a drinking glass, cut out circles from dough (should yield about 10 circles in total). Arrange evenly on prepared baking sheet; brush tops lightly with cream.
Place in oven and bake until lightly puffed and just golden, 11 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.
To prepare the whipped cream: Whip cream gently in a large bowl; add sugar, vanilla and zest and whip until soft-stiff peaks form. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to assemble.
To prepare the strawberries: Combine strawberries and sugar in a large bowl; toss to coat and add more sugar to taste. Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving for flavors to combine.
To assemble the shortcakes: Place 1 shortcake on a serving plate. Top with a dollop of chilled whipped cream and small scoop of berries. Repeat with another shortcake and layer of whipped cream and berries. Serve immediately.
All images by Kimberley Stakal
Stay in touch with Kimberley on Twitter @GreenGourmetKim