As soon as the strawberries begin to ripen in the fields near my home, I’m planning this Classic Strawberry Shortcake. It just seems to herald in the warm, long, fun days of summer ahead.
And as June turns toward July, I’m still making Strawberry Shortcake. And will until the last strawberries come off the vine. If you have everbearing strawberries growing in your garden, that just prolongs the pleasure.
As old as time, it seems, this classic summer dessert. Ever so satisfying and ever so easy.
So easy, in fact, I don’t even roll out the shortcake dough and cut them out. Much like drop biscuits, these shortcakes are made by dropping spoon filled mounds of dough onto a prepared baking sheet. By skipping a couple of steps, I find myself making them more often.
I also never sweeten the berries in our strawberry shortcakes. My mother never did, so I never do. I don’t think her mother did either. Great-grandma? I’m not sure. I’m guessing… no. Isn’t intriguing how classic traditions pass on from one generation to the next? Many times, no one remembers why.
In this case, the strawberries are sweet enough. And when you top these buttery tender shortcakes with freshly whipped, slightly sweetened cream… it’s all the decadence one needs.
A Classic Strawberry Shortcake
As soon as the strawberries begin to ripen in the fields near my home, I’m planning this Classic Strawberry Shortcake. It just somehow seems to herald in the warm, long, fun days of summer ahead.
For the shortcakes:
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 stick cold butter, diced (1/2 cup)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- sparkling sugar (if desired)
For the strawberries:
- 1-pint strawberries washed, hulled and halved
For the whipped cream:
- 3/4 cup heavy cream, well chilled
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and toss with flour. Using a pastry cutter, 2 knives… or your fingers, cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour the egg mixture into the hole. With a spatula mix the ingredients together just until moistened. You want the dough when squeezed to come together. Add additional cream as necessary, 1 tablespoon at a time, to form a soft dough that is wet enough to be dropped from a spoon or scoop.
Using a large spoon or scoop, drop the shortcake dough onto the prepared baking sheet. A spoonful about 2-3-inches wide should yield about 8 – 10 shortcakes, spaced 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sparkling sugar if desired. Bake until the shortcakes are firm to the touch and golden-brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
While the biscuits are cooling on a rack, whip the cream.
Whipping Cream: In a deep bowl, of the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
Halve the warm shortcakes horizontally using a serrated knife. Layer with a dollop of whipping cream, topped with fresh strawberries. Cover with the top half of the biscuit, garnish with additional whipping cream, a spoon of strawberry sauce or strawberry jam if desired, and a mint sprig.