Strawberry shortcake was a plated dessert in America before Americans even knew what plated desserts were. Here I’m continuing in that tradition, though I respect the single “big biscuit” approach that grannies all over North America have been employing for generations. You can adapt this recipe to make a single, large shortcake if you wish, just bake up the biscuit dough in an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan.
Begin your shortcake by preheating your oven to 500 and arranging a rack on the very top shelf. Combine your flour and leavening and sifting it together over a bowl.
Press your cooked egg yolks through a fine mesh strainer into the bowl…
…and add your sugar and salt.
Whisk to combine.
Add your cold butter pieces…
…and work the mixture until it’s about this consistency:
Now pour in the buttermilk…
…and gently bring the mixture together with a scraper or spoon. You’ll want to knead it a bit by hand to form the final dough.
Pat the dough down into a mass about 3/4″ high…
…and using a large, 2 3/4″ cutter, cut out some nice, large biscuits.
Place them on a parchment-lined sheet pan, brush them with melted butter…
…and sprinkle them with sugar.
While the biscuits are baking, sprinkle your sliced strawberries with sugar (this is obviously a very small quantity, since I was just making shortcake for myself on Sunday) and set them aside. Some people like to mash half the berries to create more of a sauce. Feel free to do that if you wish. A squeeze of lemon can be nice here, or a jot of some sort of liqueur. It’s completely up to you.
When the biscuits are nicely browned, remove them from the oven. As they’re cooling, whip up your Chantilly cream.
When they’ve cooled completely, split them in half.
Lay the bottom half down on a plate and spread on a layer of cream. I like mine firmer rather than soupier, so the cake layers don’t slide apart. If you like you can pipe the cream on for a more refined appearance.
Spoon on some macerated berries, which will have created their own “sauce” by now. I should add here that if you’re the type of person that likes a sauce-soaked shortcake, you can reverse the order of the layers. Since I like all my layers distinct, I lay down the cream first to prevent the syrup from soaking in.
Apply the top of the biscuit…
…and another layer of cream, plus more berries. Top with a final dollop of Chantilly cream if you’d like.