Category Archives: Strawberry Shortcake

How to Make Strawberry Shortcake

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.


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Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Biscuits, strawberries, whipped cream. Those are the base components of a classic strawberry shortcake. I vary it a little by using Chantilly cream which is a more indulgent version of whipped cream: heavy cream whipped with sugar and vanilla extract. The biscuits are a variation of my go-to recipe, but sweeter and incorporating Rose Levey Beranbaum’s trick of adding hard-cooked egg yolk for extra color, lightness and tenderness (the regular version also works very well, though I suggest using all butter versus half butter and half lard). You’ll need:

11 ounces (2 cups) White Lily all-purpose (NOT self-rising) flour OR a combination of 5 ounces (1 cup) all-purpose flour plus 6 ounces (1 1/4 cups) cake flour
2 hard-cooked egg yolks, pressed through a fine mesh strainer
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 ounce sugar
2 ounces cold butter, cut into small pieces
6 ounces (3/4 cup) buttermilk

About 4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
4 tablespoons sugar

1 recipe Chantilly Cream (see Components Menu)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, arranging a rack on the top shelf of the oven. Once that’s done, combine the fruit and the sugar and allow to sit (macerate).

Sift the flour and leavening together into a bowl. Add the salt and egg yolk and whisk to combine. Add butter and rub between your fingers until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add cold buttermilk and with a spatula, slowly and gently bring the dough together. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead once or twice to form a smooth dough. Pat into a mass about 3/4″ inch thick and using a biscuit cutter, cut into 2 3/4″ rounds. You’ll have 7-8 portions. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and bake 10-12 minutes until golden.

Prepare the Chantilly cream. When the biscuits have cooled, split them and lay them on individual plates. Spoon on some of the Chantilly cream, then a layer of the macerated strawberries, then apply the tops of the biscuits. Add another layer of Chantilly cream and finish with more strawberries. Consume immediately, with gusto.

Filed under:  Pastry, Strawberry Shortcake | 5 Comments