This is the first in a series of posts about everything I did with strawberries that I picked over the weekend. Somewhat incredibly, they’re almost all gone.
Before I went out to Eckert’s on Saturday, I knew I wanted to make two things with the fresh strawberries: Jam and shortcake. I haven’t made strawberry shortcake in years, and I’m not sure why. It’s one of the easiest things to make and it’s the perfect dessert for a hot summer night when you don’t feel like eating something heavy.
Fresh berries are key in strawberry shortcake. You can use subpar berries but trust me, it won’t be as good. You take the best berries you can find and soak them in sugar and lemon juice. This helps the strawberries break down a little and become more syrupy. It also helps if you take a few strawberries and gently crush them with a fork and add them to the bowl. Then the resulting berries will be even more juicy.
To make the shortcakes, you make the dough and then roll it out about 1/2-inch thick. I bought a special biscuit cutter to make scalloped edges but you could just use the open side of a water glass or a regular cookie cutter.
Then you get to the weird part of the recipe. You brush some melted butter on the open side of one shortcake, and then you place another cake on top of it. You’ll bake the cakes this way so make sure you have an even number on the baking sheet. I got about eight out of my dough, but depending on how thick you cut them, you may have more or less.
Don’t panic though because the cakes will still bake evenly and become golden brown. When you remove them from the oven, you pull them apart and brush more butter on the insides of the top and bottom cake. This will make them extra buttery and flaky.
The last step is making the whipped cream, which is probably the easiest step if you have a stand mixer. You add some heavy whipping cream to the bowl of the mixer with a little sugar. I added some orange blossom water because I wanted the cream to have a little zest. Then you whip the cream until it forms peaks. You’ll see it happen but you can also verify by running your finger lightly down the cream. If it leaves a print, you’re in business.
I ate one of these cakes on Saturday night for dessert and my boyfriend had two. I also had one on Sunday night and Monday afternoon without the whipped cream because I ran out. The shortcakes are delicious on their own, with fresh strawberries, or with a little jam spread on top. They’re a good snack or breakfast.
Here’s a song to get you started on your strawberry shortcake journey. It reminds me of summer.
Strawberry Shortcake with Orange Blossom Whipped Cream
2 pints strawberries
1/2 cup sugar, or more to taste
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 cups flour
3 Tbsp sugar
¼ tsp salt
5 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 cups butter, softened
3 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp orange blossom water
Rinse the strawberries, cut off the green tops and stems, and slice in half or thirds (depending on how large the berries are). Gently crush about 1/4 of the berries with a fork. Add the crushed berries and sliced berries to a bowl and toss with the 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice. Allow to sit for 30 minutes, covered, so the berries get juicy.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add 3/4 cup of softened butter and mix until it looks like small peas in the flour. Add 1 1/4 cups of cream and mix until the dough comes together and there aren’t any crumbly bits at the bottom of the bowl.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times until smooth. Then roll the dough out 1/2 inch thick and cut out the shortcakes. Cut an even number of shortcakes. Place half of them on the prepared baking sheet with the cut side up and brush some melted butter on top. Leave some space in between each cake. Then top with another shortcake. You should have about eight tops and bottoms.
Bake the cakes in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown on top. Remove from the oven, take them apart, and brush both cut sides with more melted butter.
To make the whipped cream, add the remaining heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar, and 3/4 tsp orange blossom water to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until the cream forms peaks.
To assemble, layer the cream, berries, and cakes, alternating so the top of the cake has some whipped cream and berries. Enjoy!
* You can store extra shortcakes in an airtight container at room temperature. They’ll keep for a few days.