I picked up some lovely end-of-season strawberries at the Farmers Market yesterday so decided to make Strawberry Shortcakes. After all, who doesn’t love Strawberry Shortcakes? It’s a timeless, classic American dessert that was invented in the late 19th century and hasn’t lost any of its appeal since then. I’ll admit, it’s not a dessert that I grew up eating in the Philippines. However, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with it shortly after we moved to the US. The toasty outside and tender inside of the shortcakes, the sweet strawberries swimming in their own syrupy juice, the billowy, lightly-sweetened whipped cream, all combine to make a delicious dessert that leaves you wanting to lick every last bit off your plate.
I’ve seen it made in different ways, from a version that layers yellow cake with strawberries and cream, to Paula Deen’s version which uses angel food cake and which, though delicious, to my mind is actually a trifle. I’m of the old school that believes classic American Strawberry Shortcakes should be made with biscuits. They’re called shortcakes because the butter (or shortening) in the dough makes them tender like cake. They really aren’t hard to make and the individual desserts look so impressive on the plate. Plus, they’re absolutely delicious. Yep…… I licked my plate clean.
- 4-6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/3 cup sugar (use more or less depending on how sweet your strawberries are)
- Cut the strawberries in half and place them in a bowl.
- Stir the sugar into the strawberries, adding more or less as needed.
- Let the bowl of strawberries sit covered in the refrigerator to release their juices while you prepare the biscuits.
NOTE: If you want the strawberry juices to form a thicker sauce, you could mash up to a third of the strawberries with a potato masher. I opted for a thinner sauce and left all my strawberry halves as is.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tbsp. baking powder
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1-1/2 cups cream (can substitute buttermilk, half-and-half, or milk)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- a little extra cream for brushing over top of biscuits
- sanding sugar for sprinkling over biscuits
- Line a cookie sheet with a silpat or parchment paper.
- Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the mixture resembles pea-size crumbs.
- Stir the vanilla into the cream.
- Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream.
- Mix with a fork until the dough just comes together.
- Gather the dough and gently knead 4 or 5 times. If the dough seems dry, add more cream, a teaspoon at a time, until evenly moistened.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into a 3/4 to 1-inch thick square.
- Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Take dough out of refrigerator and cut into 9 squares. Use a sharp knife dipped in flour and cut straight down without dragging the knife back and forth.
- Separate the squares leaving a 1 to 2 inch space between each.
- Brush tops with a little of the extra cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar.
- Bake about 15 minutes or until tops are light brown.
- Set biscuits aside while you make the whipped cream.
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
- Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until it begins to thicken.
- Sprinkle powdered sugar over cream and continue whipping until soft peaks form.
- Cover bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Slice the shortcakes in half horizontally with a serrated knife.
- Place the shortcake bottoms onto 9 dessert plates.
- Spoon some fresh strawberries with their juice over each shortcake.
- Top with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream.
- Place the shortcake tops over the whipped cream.
- Spoon more strawberries and whipped cream over the shortcake tops.
- Place a little strawberry half over the whipped cream to decorate.