I love that strawberries are in season now in California. Whenever we’re at the farmer’s market, we cannot help but pick up a basket or three of them to take home. And besides eating them fresh, this is one application that I love to do using strawberries (the other is the vanilla layer cake that I’ve blogged about before).
I have been wanting to share this strawberry shortcake recipe with you for a while now. This was the recipe that I told you about in my other scones post. This dough is more moist and yet still buttery and flaky enough that it works for so many applications. As a matter of fact, Fine Cooking calls it a multi-purpose baking mix and I’ve used it to make scones, cobbler toppings, savory biscuits and of course, these strawberry shortcakes.
There’s Nothing Better
I will share those other recipes with you in another post but for this one, I need to give the shortcakes their due. There is nothing better than a fresh strawberry shortcake. And with a few pantry staples, you could whip this up pretty quickly to impress your friends with a wonderful dessert! And any leftovers that you have of the shortcakes are great to eat the next day with jam and tea (almost like a plain scone).
This recipe also works very well as a cobbler topping. In a month or two, peaches and plums are going to be in season and this is the recipe to put on top of your fruit cobblers. Add some premium vanilla ice cream and you’ll swoon with every bite!
One other thing, even though the picture that Nate took of the shortcake shows the whipped cream and strawberries wedged between the biscuit, I prefer to split my shortcake and lay both down on the plate. Then I go hog wild with the whipped cream and strawberries and drizzle some of the juices from the strawberries on both halves and just dig in. Yum! Yum! Yum!
Please excuse me while I go make another batch right now…
Strawberries Night and Day
Ok, I’m back (don’t you just love blog time?). I did have to make a comment about the strawberries. Last time I made this, I didn’t buy enough from the farmer’s market, and had to buy another basket from the store—and you know what? It was like night and day! The store bought ones tasted like water, and the farmer market ones made my senses pop with sweet berry sensation. Get thee to your farmer’s market and pay a little extra. It is totally worth it!
So anyway, I had some pretty tasteless strawberries right? That’s when I thank God for the Muscat wine I had. Just soak those tasteless babies up in that sweet wine and you have yourself some ambrosia! Or if you don’t have Muscat handy, use any fruity liqueur you have and add some sugar. Of course, if your strawberries are from the farmer’s market, forget all the above and just cut them up and use fresh (or toss in some lemon juice to extract some berry juices to drizzle on shortcake).
Strawberries Soaking in Muscat Wine
Multi-Purpose Baking Mix Recipe
adapted from Fine Cooking, no. 45
13 1/2 oz (3 cups) all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
6 oz (12 Tbsp) cold unsalted butter, cut in small pieces
1. In a large bowl, stir the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Cut the butter into the flour with a fork, pastry cutter or your fingers (I normally use my fingers) until mixture looks like cornmeal and the biggest pieces of butter are the size of large peas. Be sure not to overmix.
3. Proceed with the shortcake/cobbler (scone and biscuit recipe will be given in future post) recipe or refrigerate or freeze the mixture until ready to use.
Strawberry shortcake biscuit or cobbler topping
yields enough dough to top a 9x13 inch cobbler or makes 9-12 shortcake biscuits.
1 recipe Multi-Purpose Baking Mix (see above)
1 large egg
1 1/4 cups heavy cream; more for brushing (I find 1 cup is usually enough)
1 Tbsp sugar, more for sprinkling
optional: add some almond extract if making apricot/plum cobbler, some chopped nuts for peach cobbler, more vanilla with strawberry shortcakes
1. Heat the oven to 375 F.
2. Put the Baking Mix in a bowl, add the extra Tbsp of sugar and stir to mix.
3. Add the egg to the cream and stir with a fork to combine.
4. Make a shallow well in the dry mix and pour in the wet ingredients. With as few strokes as possible, stir until the mixture is just combined. It should be loose, but if it doesn’t hold together at all, add more cream 1 Tbso at a time. I recommend drizzling the heavy cream mixture in slowly and combining till you get a shaggy dough. The extra cream mixture can be brushed on the top of the shortcakes or cobbler top.
5. Generously flour a counter and turn the dough out onto it; it will be shaggy and very soft. Scrape any bits in the bowl onto the mound of dough.
6. Flour your hands. Shape the mixture into a very loose rectangle with the short side nearest you. Using a bench knife, a pastry scraper or a spatula, fold the bottom third over the center third, and then the top third over the center, as if you’re folding a business letter. Pat down to shape another rectangle and repeat the folding. (If you need a visual of the steps, look at my other scones post for the technique).
7. Pat down again to about 1/2 inch thickness for a cobbler, and 3/4 inch thick for shortcakes.
8. For a cobbler—lay the dough on top of fruit that’s been tossed with some sugar and a bit of flour (and maybe patted with some butter) and spread in a 9x13 inch baking dish. It’s fine if the topping breaks into pieces’ just be sure most of the fruit is covered. Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar. If you want, add some sliced almonds on top. Bake until the topping is golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
For the shortcakes—cut the dough into the shapes you want—circles or squares—and set them on an ungreased baking sheet (or one lined with parchment). Brush with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
Shortcake Rounds Brushed With Cream
Bake until the tops have started to brown and the bottoms are golden, about 20-22 minutes. While the biscuits are slightly warm, split them, fill with your favorite fruit filling and top with whipped cream.
So, another great summer dessert—buttery shortcake biscuits, sweet seasonal strawberries and fresh whipped heavy cream. What more could you ask for? This is easy, so, so easy to prepare! Seriously, if you keep a packet of the multi-purpose baking mix in your freezer, you could have this done in less than half an hour and have nice warm shortcakes to serve friends and family after dinner. Please try it out, you won’t regret it.