It may be hard to believe after the snow we had over Spring Party Weekend, but summer is right around the corner. After such an unseasonable surprise, we thought you could use some extra-summery motivation to get you through the last few weeks of the semester. So, we give you this American classic: strawberry shortcake. With its flaky golden pastry, fresh, in-season strawberries and sweet, cold whipped cream, this simple, homey-yet-elegant dessert is always a hit. It’s also fun to make! If you haven’t baked pastries before, this recipe is a great introduction to some of the basic skills involved.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup cold unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup cream or milk
2 lbs fresh strawberries
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Wash, hull and slice your strawberries. Separate out about a third of them and crush them with your hands or a fork in a large bowl. Add in the whole slices and 1-2 teaspoons of sugar (to taste, depending on how sweet the strawberries are). Set the mixture aside for 30-60 minutes at room temperature so the strawberries will soften.
3. Now that your filling is done, start on the scones. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
4. Next, cut your butter into small pieces and throw it in the bowl with your dry ingredients. Then cut those pieces into small, crumb-like morsels covered in flour. You can do this with a pastry blender, or by moving two knives in opposite directions. This process is called “cutting in” the butter, and it’s the key to making pastry dough flaky and delicious.
5. Whisk together the egg, cream and vanilla extract and then add them to your dry ingredients, mixing until just combined. Be careful not to over-mix.
6. Move your dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it gently four or five times. Then use a rolling pin or pat it with your hands to make a round that’s seven inches in diameter and about an inch thick.
7. Using a three-inch cookie cutter (or the lip of a mug, in a pinch) cut out the scones and place them on the cookie sheet.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
9. To serve, cut the scones in half and make a strawberries-and-cream sandwich, then top with more strawberries and cream.
Make your own whipped cream! It only takes a few minutes, the texture is much creamier and you don’t have to worry about any freaky chemicals.
You can use a mixer or do it by hand with a whisk. Either way, put a bowl and the whisk in the freezer ahead of time to chill. Later, pour in a cup of heavy cream and a tablespoon of white sugar (or more, up to you) and whisk until it thickens. It will only keep in the fridge for a few hours, but it’s too good to last long anyway.