We didn't have desserts a lot when I was growing up. I mean, except for special occasions, of course. But the one dessert I do remember having in the summer for no particular reason is strawberry shortcake. And it is totally one of my favorite desserts of all time.
It must be the perfect balance of everything I would ever want in a dessert. The shortcake is kind of like a lightly sweetened biscuit. The whipped cream is...well, it is whipped cream, duh. And the strawberries are broken down with a little bit of sugar (but I like them still a little bit tart).
We have had this twice (this shortcake recipe made 5 shortcakes for me), and the first time Scot had it as is. Tradish style. The second time, I melted some chocolate chips and drizzled chocolate over the shortcake. I would never pour chocolate over my strawberry shortcake, but don't judge those who do (shoot, yes I do). :) Anyways, Scot recommends letting the chocolate re-harden before eating. And he loved the chocolate version.
from smitten kitchen adapted from Claudia Fleming and Russ Parsons
1 2/3 cups (224 grams) all-purpose flour
3 1/2 tablespoons (50 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon (20 grams) baking powder
2 hard-boiled egg yolks
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (84 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons lemon or orange zest (optional)
2/3 cup (168 grams) plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1/2 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons (25 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup whipping cream, beaten to soft peaks
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, egg yolks, and salt. Pulse to combine. Add the butter and zest, if using, and pulse until the flour resembles coarse meal. Add 2/3 cup of cream and pulse until the dough comes together.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and gather into a shaggy mass. Knead a couple times to make it into a cohesive mass and then pat it into a rough circle about 6 to 7 inches in diameter, and 3/4 to 1-inch thick.
Using a sharp knife, cut the circle into 6 wedges and arrange on a parchmentlined baking sheet. Alternately, you can use a cookie cutter to make shapes of your choice. Chill for 20 minutes (and up to 2 hours).
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush the tops of the shortcakes very lightly with heavy cream and sprinkle lightly with the coarse sugar. Bake until risen and golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through to ensure even cooking.
While the shortcakes are baking, toss the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Let stand several minutes. (If the strawberries are extremely firm, do this 30 minutes in advance.)
Split the shortcakes in half horizontally and set the tops aside. Place the bottoms on dessert plates and heap strawberries over them. Spoon whipped cream generously over the strawberries and replace the shortcake tops. Serve immediately with any remaining whipped cream on the side.
(Servings: 4-6, Prep time: 60 min., Cook time: 30 min., Difficulty: Easy)