This is my son’s favorite dessert and since he’s home from college, we’ve had it two nights in a row. I think this rustic, coarse, only slightly sweet biscuit-type cake base saturated with sweetened sliced strawberries and lots and lots of sweetened whipped cream is just about perfect. If you like sweet, soft, cake-y strawberry shortcake, this is not the recipe for you; ALTHOUGH, if you try it, you might be converted to my way of thinking! This is my recipe. No sources. I’ve spent years developing it. Truth be told, I only figured out the right base about two years ago. Before that I used to use the recipe off the box of Bisquick. I am so glad to be done with that! The Bisquick base was really too salty and had a slightly metallic flavor to it, too. Here’s how to make Strawberry Shortcake, a truly American dessert, RIGHT!
For the Shortcake Base
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons butter, chilled/frozen, cut into cubes/grated
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a pretty 8 or 9 inch-diameter pan with nonstick spray for baking. (You will be baking and serving the strawberry shortcake in the same pan, that’s why I specified a pretty pan (if you don’t have a pretty pan, don’t stress, just use the best you have). I use either quiche pan. If you don’t have one, a pretty pie dish will work.
Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Add in butter (cut it in, if you know how, or just grate it in–grate the frozen butter as if it were cheese! Trust me, this works like a charm!). Using fingertips, rub butter into dry mixture until a coarse meal forms.
Make well in center of flour mixture. Add buttermilk, stirring with a fork (yes, a fork!). Gradually stir dry ingredients into milk to blend. Keep using the fork until the dough clumps together. Using floured hands, shape dough into ball. Transfer to prepared (pretty) pan. Using fingertips, stretch dough to fit pan. Bake until golden brown and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Transfer to rack to cool completely.
While shortcake is baking, wash slice and sweeten the strawberries.
For the filling
2 – 3 baskets strawberries (as many as you have or want, really)
sugar to sweeten berries (to taste)
1 pt. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sugar
Rinse, drain, stem, and then slice the berries vertically (depending on the size of the berry, you can probably get 2-5 slices from each berry). Sprinkle sliced berries with sugar, to taste. Let sit for awhile to sweeten. Stir before using.
Up to one hour before serving, whip cream, vanilla and sugar until thick and creamy. Use immediately, or refrigerate until ready to assemble.
To assemble Strawberry Shortcake
Remove shortcake from pan. Carefully split in half horizontally (if the bottom half splits, no problem, if the top half splits it’s a bit more of a challenge to cover–but don’t stress). Place bottom half of shortcake back in pan. Top with 1/2 of sliced and sweetened strawberries. Top berries with half of whipped cream, smooth out to level. Replace top half of shortcake, press slightly. Top with remaining berries (and all of the juice). Pipe remaining whipped cream decoratively around the edge of the shortcake. Serve immediately.
Leftovers don’t keep well. Shortcake can be made early in the day, and strawberries can be prepared early in the day also, but the actual assembly should be done as close to serving time as possible.
This is actually an individual shortcake, not the big one described above (and it had too much whipped cream…, even for me!). To make individual shortcakes, cut dough with round biscuit butter, and bake as above. Recipe above makes 8 rather large servings.