Local strawberries are finally here! They seem to me to be almost a different fruit than the strawberries you can buy at the grocery store year round and when they go out of season, I spend the rest of the year eagerly anticipating their return. My father’s favorite way to eat them in a dessert, and an all-time classic, is Strawberry Shortcake. My version is below, with a sturdy biscuit base, for sopping up all of those delectable strawberry juices.
1 quart strawberries
¼ cup granulated sugar
2 cups AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1 ¼-1½ cups heavy cream
a few tablespoons more heavy cream for brushing on top
a few tablespoons more granulated sugar for sprinkling on top
For Whipped Cream:
¾ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Thoroughly rinse strawberries and drain. Trim tops and slice. Sprinkle ¼ cup granulated sugar over sliced berries and gently stir to evenly coat. Set berries aside while you prepare the rest of the dessert to allow maceration to occur. Occasionally stir berries to encourage the release of juices.
Preheat oven to 425˚ F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place in a medium bowl the flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and kosher salt. Using a fork or whisk, stir together, breaking up any clumps and lightening mixture.
Slowly pour 1 ¼ cups heavy cream into flour mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture becomes craggy. Check to see if it holds together when pressed, if not, add a bit more cream until it does, stirring to incorporate.
Turn the craggy dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times to get the dough to hold together (careful not to overwork the dough), adding more flour to the surface as needed to prevent sticking. Pat the dough into a flat round approximately ½ to ¾ inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter, or small upside down glass, approximately 2 ½-3 inches in diameter, cut out biscuit rounds, being sure to flour the edge of the cutter between each cutting. Please rounds on cookie sheet, leaving a few inches between each biscuit. Press scraps of dough into another round to use the last bits up. You should be able to get 8-10 biscuits, depending on thickness of dough and size of cutter.
Using a pastry brush, brush each round of dough generously with heavy cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Place in preheated oven and bake for 12-15 minutes, until biscuits are puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool a bit on cookie sheet.
While the biscuits are cooling slightly, prepare the whipped cream by combining ¾ cup heavy cream, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a cold bowl. Whip cream mixture until soft peaks form with a large balloon whisk or hand mixer.
To assemble the dessert, split 4 warm biscuits in half with a serrated knife and place the bottoms of each biscuit in a shallow bowl, cut side up. Spoon ¼ of the strawberries and their juices over each biscuit bottom. Top each with ¼ of the whipped cream and finish with the biscuit top. Serve immediately.
Makes 4 desserts (with leftover biscuits, which are great later lightly toasted with butter and jam).