Sunday, June 04, 2006
strawberry shortcake heaven
2005: strawberry shortcake with strawberry-red wine sorbet and vanilla crème anglaise.
Which strawberry shortcake would you prefer?
I seem to make strawberry shortcake at least once a year. I guess it is one of those comfort desserts that is both easy to make and well loved. It is especially good when you have a tender biscuit, fresh local strawberries and vanilla whipped cream.
This recipe comes from Baking Illustrated, which is by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. It makes a wonderfully moist and tender biscuit.
2006: strawberry shortcake with strawberry-balsamic sorbet and balsamic caramel leaf
Start the recipe by preparing the fruit, then set the fruit aside while preparing the biscuits to allow the juices to become syrupy. After cutting 6 perfect rounds of dough, we found that the scraps could be pulled together, kneaded, and cut to get 1 or 2 more rounds. These shortcakes will be a little tougher and less attractive than those from the first cutting.
8 cups strawberries (about 2 1/2 pounds), hulled
6 Tbsp sugar
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the work surface and biscuit cutter
5 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 Tbsp (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp half and half or whole milk
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups whipped cream
For the fruit:
1) Place 3 cups of the hulled strawberries in a large bowl and crush with a potato masher. Slice the remaining 5 cup berries and stir into the crushed berries along with the sugar. Set the fruit aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
For the shortcakes:
2) Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 425ºF. in a food processor, pulse the flour, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt to combine. Scatter the butter pieces over and process until the mixture resembles course meal, about fifteen 1 – second pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3) Mix the beaten egg with the half-and-half in a measuring cup. Pour the egg mixture into the bowl with the flour mixture. Combine with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn the mixture onto a floured surface and lightly knead until it comes together.
4) Use your fingertips to pat the dough into a 9 x 6 inch rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, being careful not to over work the dough. Flour a 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter and cut out 6 dough rounds. Place the rounds 1 inch apart on a small baking sheet, brush the tops with the beaten egg white, and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. (Dough rounds can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
5) Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12 – 14 minutes. Place the baking sheet on the wire rack and cool the cakes until warm, about 10 minutes.
6) When the shortcakes have cooled slightly, split them in half. Place each cake bottom on an individual serving plate. Spoon a portion of the fruit and then a dollop of the whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with the cake top and serve immediately.