Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Strawberry Shortcakes

I was pretty sick for about a week, and McHubby took great care of me, even going so far as to squeeze fresh orange juice every day for me. To thank him, I made this special treat tonight.

Shortcake is a sweet biscuit, made as a dessert. These shortcakes are a lovely golden brown color, crumbly and lightly sweet. This recipe pairs the little cakes with strawberries, but any sweet seasonal berry could work. Also, I used vanilla sugar instead of regular granulated sugar to enhance the flavors.

Source: Strawberry Shortcakes d’Amour,
Bride and Groom First and Forever Cookbook

3 cups cake flour, plus more as needed
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 ½ cups heavy cream
1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries
1 tablespoon raspberry preserves
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Whipped Cream:
⅓ cup cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

Powdered sugar for dusting
6 mint sprigs

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with vegetable-oil cooking spray.

To make the shortcakes:
Sift together the flour, the ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, the baking powder, and kosher salt in a medium bowl. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the butter and pulse 3 or 4 times at 2-second intervals until the dough resembles coarse meal. Add the cream and process until the dough begins to come together, a few seconds more. It will still be crumbly at this point. Do not overwork or the shortcakes will be tough.

Transfer the dough to a well-floured work surface. If the dough is sticky, sprinkle it with more flour. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll out the dough into a rectangle about 12 inches long. Fold the left end to the middle and the right end up over the left end to form 3 layers. Roll out the dough to ¾-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-wide biscuit cutter, cut into 3 individual cakes. Gather the scraps, roll out the remaining dough, and cut out 3 more cakes.

Place the shortcakes at least 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops lightly with the beaten egg mixture and sprinkle with the 2 teaspoons granulated sugar. Bake until the shortcakes are light golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries:
Stir together the strawberries, raspberry preserves, granulated sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Put 1 cup of the mixture in a small bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher. Add to the strawberry mixture and set aside.

To make the whipped cream:
Combine the heavy cream, sour cream, granulated sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on high speed until soft peaks form, about 1 minute. The cream should slowly fall over forward when lifted with a whisk. Alternatively, use an electric hand mixer.

To serve, using a serrated knife, cut 2 shortcakes in half horizontally and place the bottom halves on each of 2 plates. Top with the strawberries, dividing evenly. Add a dollop of whipped cream and top with the remaining shortcake halves. Dust with powdered sugar and garnish with the mint sprigs.

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