Ultimate Strawberry Shortcake

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Makes 8 shortcakes

My family loves strawberry shortcake.  In fact, my eldest son request this dessert for his birthday instead of cake.
I have made several types of shortcake which are basically a sweet biscuit.  But, I thought what about a flaky sweet biscuit?  And then I remembered the flaky blueberry scone (here).  What if we eliminated the blueberries and added sugar to the square and roll that up?  Should work.
Boy, did it work.  This is the best shortcake I have ever tasted.  Sweet and flaky.  Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.  A great combination.  Great by themselves.
But, add strawberries, ice cream and whipped cream  and you have one outstanding dessert.   One that is as near to perfection as you can get.

Recipe follows.

Ingredients

2 to 4 cups of strawberries
1/8 to 1/4 cup sugar depending on the tartness of the strawberries
2 cups  all purpose flour (10 oz)
½ cup   sugar (3.5 oz)
2 teaspoons    baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ cup   whole milk
½ cup   sour cream
16 tablespoons unsalted butter frozen (two sticks or 8 oz)*
Melted butter and sugar for tops
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar, divided (or any other large crystal sugar)
8 ounces whipping cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/8 cup granulated sugar
Vanilla ice cream (optional)

Direction for strawberries

  1. Remove the hull from all the berries.
  2. Take 1/3 of the berried and mix with enough sugar to make sweet berries.
  3. Using a fork or potato masher, mash 1/3 of the berries well.
  4. Slice the remaining berries and add to the mashed berries.
  5. Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.

Directions for shortcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and lemon zest) in medium bowl.
  3. Mix whole milk and sour cream together in another bowl and set aside.
  4. *Take butter out of freezer and score around the middle and take off the paper from one end.  Grate the frozen butter down to the paper on both sticks.  This will give you 8 tablespoons (4 oz)  of grated frozen butter.  Put the frozen, grated butter back in the freezer until you are ready to use it.
  5. Melt three tablespoons of the left over butter.  Set aside for later.  Put the remaining five tablespoons of butter back in the refrigerator for some other use.
  6. Take the frozen, grated butter out of the freezer and fold into dry ingredients.
  7. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined.
  8. Add lots of flour to the bench and turn out shaggy mess onto bench.
  9. Knead dough 6 or 7 times to bring together — it will be sticky.
  10. Flour top of dough and roll out to a 12”x12” square.
  11. Letter fold and then fold in 1/3s to get a square — NOTE:  Because the dough is sticky, use a bench scraper to fold the dough.  Using you hands my cause the butter to melt!
  12. Flour the square it on a plate.
  13. Place the plate and dough in the freezer for about five minutes.
  14. Take dough from freezer and roll out to 12”x12” square.
  15. Brush melted butter on the square and sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over the square.
  16. Roll the dough  to form a log.
  17. Flatten the log to about 3 inches wide.  The dough will be about 3/4″ to 1″ thick.
  18. Cut the log into four pieces and cut each piece diagonally to for triangles.
  19. Brush melted butter over the tops and sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
  20. Bake at 425 degrees F for about about 20 minutes rotating the pan 180 degrees at the ten minute mark.  Check at 18 minutes to make sure they are browning too quickly.
  21. Cool for 10 minutes.

Storage
Store in an airtight container or Ziploc bag.

Direction for whipped cream

  1. Using a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with a wire whisk attachement, add cream, vanilla, and sugar to the bowl all at the same time.
  2. Whip on high speed until soft peaks form.

Assembling strawberry shortcake

  1. In a small bowl, split one of the shortcakes in half and place the bottom half in the bottom of the bowl.
  2. If using ice cream, place one or two scoops of ice cream on top of the shortcake.
  3. Scoop berries over ice cream and shortcake.
  4. Place remaining half of shortcake on top of ice cream and strawberries.
  5. Top with a large dollop of whipped cream.

Enjoy.


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2 Responses to “Ultimate Strawberry Shortcake”


  1. 1 Debbie May 30, 2009 at 7:10 am

    I find your recipe hard to understand. If you end up with round biscuits why do you cut them into triangles?

    • 2 muirfood May 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm

      Debbie: Thanks for visiting. Many shortcake recipes call for cutting the dough into circles. This one does not. It calls for cutting the dough into triangles. This is accomplished in steps 16, 17, and 18.
      The reason I do it this way is that this method results in no scrap and thus no need to re-roll the dough. Re-rolling the dough causes the the shortcakes made from it to be tougher than the first ones.
      So, if you do not want any of the shortcakes to be tough, make triangles, not circles.
      I hope this clears things up.

      Bill


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