Who doesn’t love a good shortcake? Whenever I make them, they’re adored by everyone, and gone in a flash. Thankfully, they couldn’t be simpler to make: the biscuits come together with a quick pat of butter and a pour of cream and the seasonal fruit is showcased simply, gussied up with only a bit of sugar and cold clouds of whipped cream.
This recipe here is my favorite rendition of shortcakes, and I know you’ll love it too. These biscuits are special because they have both cream and butter, which gives them the richest mouth-feel and they’re laminated to give them extra flakiness and height. There’s spelt flour in there, too, and it adds a lightly nutty flavor and a particular softness to the biscuits. The strawberries, which are at their peak now, get juicy with sugar while the biscuits bake, and the whipped cream, dotted with speckles of vanilla sugar, ties it all together.
Make this classic dessert once and you’re sure to find excuses to make it again, whether it’s for July 4th, a simple picnic, or because you bought an excess of strawberries. Whenever you make these, you’re going to love the classic combination of strawberries, biscuits and cream. Happy Fourth!
Yields: 8 servings
Why I love this recipe: cream and butter make these shortcakes rich and fluffy, and laminating them makes them flaky and tall. Spelt flour adds a little nuttiness, and the sweet, macerated strawberries and vanilla whipped cream are the perfect summery complements to the not overly sweet biscuits.
Variations: infuse the cream with basil or mint for herby flavor and scent. Add a strawberry coulis to the mix for a play between raw and cooked strawberries. Roast stone fruits to use in place of the raw strawberries.
For the biscuits:
- 1 cup spelt flour
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg yolk, mixed with a drop of water, for egg-wash
For the strawberries:
- 1/2 pound strawberries, stemmed and quartered
- 3 tablespoons sugar
For the whipped cream:
- 1 1/2 cups chilled heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
- Make the biscuits: preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar into a bowl. Working quickly, use your hands to cut in the butter until it is the size of small pebbles.
- Add the cream and mix with a spatula until just blended.
- On a lightly floured countertop, briefly knead the dough just until it comes together. Do not overwork the dough- this will make the biscuits tough.
- Pat the dough into a square about 1 inch thick. Fold the dough in half over itself and again, pat it into a square about 1 inch thick. Repeat this process two more times, three in total.
- Then, use a floured round cutter to cut the dough into 8 individual biscuits. Gently re-roll scraps if needed and cut again. Place the cut shortcakes onto the prepared baking sheet. Put the whole baking sheet into the freezer for 10 minutes.
- Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re browned on top and up the sides. Remove from oven and let cool.
- Meanwhile, combine the cut strawberries with the sugar. Let macerate while the biscuits bake.
- Whip the cream until it begins to form peaks, then whip in the vanilla sugar. Continue to whip until it holds its shape.
- To assemble the shortcakes, cut each biscuit in half and place the bottoms on 8 plates. Divide the whipped cream among each biscuit, then top with one or two spoonfuls of macerated strawberries. Add another generous dollop of cream, if desired.
- Top each biscuit with the top half. Serve immediately.