Strawberry Shortcake, July 2011

Ok, so I just realized that my last six posts have all been about strawberries. (Did I mention one-track mind?!?)  Sorry, I can’t help it.  I love strawberries, and when they’re in season and I’m trying to get as many into my freezer as possible, it seems like they’re constantly on the brain.  Admittedly, strawberry season here in southern Maine has been pretty much done for at least a few weeks now, but, if you’ll humor me, I have one last strawberry-themed recipe to share……strawberry shortcake!  I made it for dessert early last week, and every time I have it I’m reminded of how much I love it.   It reminds me of summer more than just about any other dessert.  If you’re out of fresh berries, frozen ones will work well, so no worries there.   Here’s to one last bit of strawberry goodness this season!

Strawberry Shortcake
Makes about 10 servings


(for the biscuits)
2 cups flour (plus a little more for dusting the counter top)
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons lemon juice

(For the strawberry topping)
2 quarts fresh strawberries (Or you can use frozen.  You’ll need between 2 and 2.5 pounds of berries)
1/4 cup sugar

(for the whipped cream)
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar 

(Before beginning, place butter in the freezer until your ready to use it, to ensure that it is well-chilled.  Also, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.)
1.) In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Mix well.
2.) In a separate bowl, combine the milk and the lemon juice.  Mix well.
3.) Working quickly, using a small knife, cut the butter into into the flour mixture.  Then, break up the pieces and combine them with the flour by crumbling them and mixing them with the flour with your hands.  Do not fully incorporate the butter, and do not allow the butter to melt.  In terms of texture, the mixture should resemble coarse bread crumbs, with some pea-sized chunks of butter remaining.
4.) Pour the milk mixture into the flour and mix until just incorporated.
5.)Lightly flour the counter top.  Turn the dough out onto the counter and shape it into a round, about 3/4 inch thick.
6.) Cut out the biscuits.  If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, a small drinking glass works well.  Press it down firmly into the dough to cut out 2-inch rounds.  After you’ve pressed out as many rounds as possible, collect and combine the dough scraps, re-shape them into a 3/4 inch thick piece, and cut out additional biscuits.  Repeat this process as necessary.  The biscuits made from the re-used scraps won’t be quite as tender as those cut from the first batch , but they’ll still be good!
7.) Carefully transfer the biscuits onto a cookie sheet  and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden-brown.
8.)  Remove biscuits from oven, and allow to cool.
9.) Rinse strawberries and remove stems.  Cut berries into quarters. (If you are using frozen berries, partially defrost the berries, then quarter them.)
10.) Add sugar and mix well. Allow berries to sit for at least 10 minutes before using to allow the juice to come out of the berries.  Refrigerate berries until ready to use.
11.)  In a chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream.  Then add the sugar and mix well to incorporate. Whip cream can be refrigerated until ready to use, but it’s best to whip it close to serving time.
12.) To serve,  slice the biscuits in half.  Place the bottom half of biscuit on plate, spoon strawberries over the biscuit, and top that with a generous dollop of whipped cream.  Serve as is, or gently place the top half of the biscuit on top of the whipped cream and serve.  Enjoy!