Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes

Any dessert involving fruit and especially strawberries doesn't usually disappoint me. This was no exception. A crusty buttery biscuit, topped with sweet strawberries and sweet whipped cream? Yes please. It has all the elements of sweet, refreshing, creamy, a little crunch from the biscuit and walla...these were simply delicious.

Strawberry Shortcakes

America's Test Kitchen
8 cups strawberries hulled
6 tablespoons sugar

2 cups unbleached flour plus extra for your working surface
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbl spoons of butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup plus 1 tbl spoon of half and half or milk
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 large egg white lightly beaten

Whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbl spoon sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the fruit: Crush 3 cups of the strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher. Slice the remaining 5 cups of strawberries and stir them into the crushed berries along with the sugar. Set aside until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are juicy, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. For the shortcake: Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse the flour, 3 table spoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles course meal, about 15 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

3. Whisk the half and half and lightly beaten whole egg together in a small bowl and then stir into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until it comes together.

4. Pat the dough into a 9 by 6 inch rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Do not over work the dough. Using a floured 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter, cut out six dough rounds. Arrange the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12-14 minutes rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let the shortcakes cool to warm.

6. For the whipped cream: In a medium bowl combine the cream, sugar and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.

7. To assemble: When the shortcakes have cooled split them in half. Place the shortcake bottom down on an individual serving plate and spoon a portion of the berries on top of the shortcake followed by a dollop of whipped cream. Then place the top of the shortcake on top.


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