I had a hard time tracking down the history of strawberry shortcake. The first mention of it comes in a cookbook from the mid 1800′s. The various components seem to have evolved over the last 150 years. The shortcake clearly comes from England, and then at some point some genius added the whipped cream and the sliced strawberries to create this quintessentially American dish. This is such a fantastic springtime dessert and it is easy to make.
As with all biscuits, use a light hand with the dough. Cutting the cold butter into the flour so that it leaves tiny of chunks of butter in the dough is what makes the shortcake flaky. The tiny pieces of butter should range from the size of a large piece of sand to a small pea. When you add the wet ingredients, do it slowly and until the mixture just holds together. If you overwork the dough, the shortcakes will not be light and fluffy. They are best eaten the day they are made–preferably fresh out of the oven! You can roll and cut them out a few hours in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake them. Enjoy friends, happy springtime!
- Strawberry Shortcake
- 2 cups flour
- 2 TLBS sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt, kosher
- 6 TBLS cold butter, unsalted, cut into chunks
- 1 egg yolk
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 TBLS sugar, for the berries
- 1 lemon or orange
- 1 cup whipped cream, sweetened
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the butter chunks and process until the butter is cut into the dough.
- Add the egg and milk, pulsing just until the mixture holds together.
- Turn the dough out onto a board. Roll out to about 1″ thickness and cut into rounds.
- Put the shortcake rounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment.
- Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 12 minutes, until golden.
- Meanwhile, mix together the strawberries, 1 TBLS sugar, zest of one lemon or orange and juice of 1/2 lemon or orange.
- When ready to serve, split the cakes and top with the berries and cream.