(American strawberries with a sweet biscuit)
Strawberry shortcake is a classic American early summer dessert. It comes together quickly and easily and is the perfect way to finish a picnic in May or June.
- Strawberries, destemmed and cut into quarters -- 2 pints
- Sugar -- 1/2 cup
- Flour -- 4 cups
- Sugar -- 6 tablespoons
- Baking powder -- 5 teaspoons
- Salt -- 1 teaspoon
- Butter, chilled and cut into small cubes -- 12 tablespoons
- Milk, half-and-half or cream -- 1 1/2 cups
- Whipped cream -- 2 cups
- Preheat the oven to 450°F. In a large bowl, mix together the strawberries and 1/2 cup sugar. Set aside, stirring occasionally. The strawberries will produce their own syrup.
- Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Add the chilled butter and work it into the flour with your fingers until the mixture takes on a mealy texture. Place the bowl in the refrigerator or freezer and chill the ingredients for 10 or 15 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and stir in the milk, half-and-half or cream until all the ingredients just come together in a ball. Remove the dough to a lightly floured worksurface and knead gently and quickly just enough to smooth out the dough.
- Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 3/4 inch. Use a cookie or biscuit cutter to cut the dough into twelve 3-inch rounds. Place the rounds on a buttered baking sheet and bake until lightly browned on top, about 10 to 12 minutes. Remove and let the shortcakes cool.
- Place one shortcake round in a dessert bowl. Top with a spoonful of strawberries and syrup. Place another round on top of that and top with another spoonful of berries. Top the whole thing with a dollop of whipped cream and serve immediately.
Strawberry Shortcake Variations
- The tops of the shortcake rounds can be brushed with milk, cream or some melted butter before baking to help them brown.
- Cut half the shortcake into 3-inch rounds and the rest into 2 1/2-inch rounds. Use the smaller ones for the top shortcake layer. This gives a somewhat more pleasing presentation.
- The biscuits can also be split horizontally and filled with berries. This will give you about 12 portions for this recipe, but you will need 2 quarts of berries.
- Instead of cutting the dough into individual portions, pat it into a greased 8-inch round cake pan and bake whole for about 15 minutes. After it has baked and cooled, split horizontally and fill with berries. Top with more berries and whipped cream.
- Use any type of summer berries for this dish, or a mixture of different kinds. Or use peaches, nectarines, mangoes...any seasonal fruit.