I'm a fiend for biscuits so it's no surprise I adore this treat, in its most old-fashioned iteration. You're not dealing with many items here, so ingredients have to be of the freshest and highest quality. The cream scone/biscuit base makes the perfect basket for just-macerated sun-ripened strawberries and softly whipped cream. It's a rather triumphant dessert that everyone will coo at. The shortcake also makes a superb accompaniment to morning coffee, the tender butter cakes soaking up the sharp bitter coffee nicely.
serves 10Strawberry Filling 4 cups strawberries, roughly chopped sugar to taste Whipped Cream 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 2 tablespoons sugar pinch salt Cream Biscuits (Shortcake) 4 cups all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup sugar 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, plus extra for glazing 1 tablespoon vanilla 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar Preheat oven to 425°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In the bowl of a food processor (or just a regular bowl) pulse (or stir) the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar to combine. Add the butter cubes to processor and pulse until the butter is cut into the flour, until whole pieces of butter the size of large kidney beans remain (the butter should seem a little bit big to be left like that, but don't worry, you'll process more later). Add the cream and vanilla and pulse again until a shaggy, sandy dough is formed. Turn dough onto a dry, clean work surface and gather all the bits into a ball, handling it as little as possible. You want the dough to be barely holding together. The dough will be sticky. Roll the dough ball to about an inch thick and cut with old jar, glass, biscuit cutter or cookie cutter. Place on lined baking sheet, brush lightly with cream (adds a nice brown to finished dough) and sprinkle the turbinado sugar onto each of the creamed, uncooked biscuits. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until just golden brown. Allow to cool on wire rack. To assemble: First bake the sweet biscuits. While the biscuits are in the oven, chop the strawberries and season with a little sugar, to taste. The sugar helps the fruit become juicy. You want the juice. Set aside for at least 10 minutes to fully develop flavor and juices. Whip the whipping cream in a stand mixer and add sugar and vanilla. Whip until soft peaks form. To serve, slice a cooled shortcake in half, pile high with berries and a dollop of whipped cream. I like it best served at room temperature, but cold or biscuits hot from oven are both fine.
Related: Recipe: DIY Strawberry Shortcake (Images: Leela Cyd Ross)