Monday, April 18, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake

Best. Shortcake. Ever. Hands down.  Strawberries were on sale, 4 lbs. for $4.98, so we just could not pass up the opportunity to indulge.  Enjoy!


2 qts. strawberries
6 T. sugar

2 c. all-purpose flour, plus extra for the counter
5 T. sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
9 T. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes and chilled
2/3 c. half-and-half (I used part heavy cream and part 1% milk since I didn't have half and half)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 recipe Whipped Cream (see below)


1.  For the strawberries, crush 3 cups of them with a potato masher.  Slice the remaining 5 cups and stir into the crushed berries with the 6 tablespoons of sugar.  Let sit at room temp until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are juicy, about 30 minutes.

2.  While the berries are macerating, preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Pulse together the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combine.  Scatter the butter pieces over the top and process until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses.  Transfer to a bowl. (You can also just whisk the dry ingredients and then cut in the butter if you don't have a food processor).

3.  Blend the half-and-half with the beaten egg and pour into the bowl with the flour mixture.  Stir with a rubber spatula until large clumps form.  Turn the mixture onto a lightly floured counter and knead lightly until the dough comes together.

4.  Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a 9 by 6 inch rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Cut out 6 dough rounds (I used a floured 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter).  Reform the remaining dough and cut 2 more rounds.  Place the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

5.  Bake until golden brown, 12-14 minutes.  Let the shortcakes cool on the baking sheet for at least 10 minutes.

6.  For Whipping Cream, blend together 1 c. heavy whipping cream, 1 Tablespoon sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract on low speed until sugar is dissolved.  Increase mixer speed to high and whip until doubled in volume and soft peaks form (about 3 minutes).

7.  To assemble, split shortcakes in half, spoon a portion of the fruit over each bottom, and a dollop of whipped cream the replace top half of shortcake.