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Classic Strawberry Shortcake

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Serves 6

  • by Karen Barker from Fine Cooking
    Issue 111

These biscuits get their light, tender texture from buttermilk and baking powder, and their rich flavor from an egg, cream, and lots of butter. This simple dessert is best made at the height of strawberry season, using the juiciest, sweetest strawberries you can find.

Watch a video of Fine Cooking's Homegrown/Homemade team making this strawberry shortcake recipe.

For the strawberries
  • 1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar; more to taste
For the biscuits
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream; more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
For the whipped cream
  • 1-1/2 cups heavy cream 
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Prepare the strawberries

Put one-third of the berries in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, crush them into a chunky purée. Slice the remaining berries 1/4 inch thick and stir them into the mashed berries along with the sugar. Taste the berries, adding more sugar if necessary. Let the berries sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.

Make the biscuits

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment.

Sift the flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and heavy cream with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Mix with the fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just comes together; it will still look a little shaggy. Gather the dough and gently knead it three or four times. If the dough seems dry and doesn’t form a cohesive mass, work in more cream, 1 tsp. at a time.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 3/4 -inch-thick disk. With a sharp 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down to cut the dough into rounds and lift straight up to remove (don’t twist the cutter or it will seal the sides of the biscuits and interfere with rising). Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, gently knead them together, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until you have a total of 6.

Lightly brush the biscuit tops with cream (about 1 Tbs.) and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once, until the biscuit tops are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly while you whip the cream.

Whip the cream

In a large, chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer. (Use immediately or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve).

Assemble the shortcakes

Using a serrated knife, split the warm biscuits in half horizontally and transfer the bottoms to 6 dessert plates. Spoon about three-quarters of the macerated berries and their juice evenly over the biscuit bottoms. It’s OK if some of the berries spill out onto the plate. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover each with a biscuit top. Spoon more berries and cream over each shortcake and serve immediately.

Make Ahead Tips

The biscuits can be baked 10 to 12 hours ahead and reheated in a 350°F oven before serving. The strawberries can be macerated up to 2 hours ahead. The cream can be whipped up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered. If necessary, lightly rewhip before using.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 630; Fat (g): 42; Fat Calories (kcal): 370; Saturated Fat (g): 26; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 59; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 330; Cholesterol (mg): 165; Fiber (g): 3;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I am under 15 and it was very easy to make

What an outstanding recipe. Please don't be thrown by the amount of ingredients or length of the recipe. It really does come together quickly and beautifully. It'll be a family favorite if you give it a try. You can read my full review at: http://bit.ly/UptN1b

For years now, Fine Cooking has been such a reliable and brilliant culinary friend- nearly never disappoints! Today's foray was no exception. Absolutely splendid strawberry shortcake as part of our 4th of July BBQ (which also included their honey grilled BBQ chicken and grilled butter lettuce with buttermilk chive dressing-both exceptional)- what a scrumptious ending! The biscuit recipe itself was outstanding, not too sweet- quite worthy of its own stage. A bit of Cointreau found its way into the strawberries and the cream. With that being said and because it was such a hot day here in New England, we did add a few drops of cobasan to our whipped cream to serve as a stabilizer-learned that tip from Rose Levy Beranbaum-works very well. Bravo Fine Cooking!

Awesome. So, so worth the best local berries of the season. Can't wait to try this with peaches. I used half cake flour and half all-purpose, which I think results in a more tender biscuit.

I cook professionally and have been using this recipe for the past couple of years in my catering biz...for sure the best shortcake recipe I have in my reportoire. Made these a few days ago with a 1 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Used Ina's presention of the "deconstructed" strawberry shortcake. My guests loved it :)

Je suis de Québec et je vais souvent à Paris où j'adore les patisseries. Ce shortcake goûte le beurre et la bonne patisserie française. Totallement irrésistible. I'm from Quebec and I often go to Paris where I love the pastries. This shortcake tastes butter and good French pastry. Totally irresistible.

No fail recipe! I had never made shortcake before and was shocked it was so easy. The perfect recipe to prep before a dinner party. I made mine a little bit smaller and got 12-15 biscuits out of this recipe. My guests went back for seconds!

These shortcakes were the perfect sweetness and they were so tender. My favourite part was the colour and texture of the crust after it had been brushed with the whipping cream! Definitely a family favourite!

"The best strawberry shortcake I have ever had", is exactly what one of my dinner guests said when I served this last weekend. There was not a single bite left. The shortcakes are unbelievably light and moist. I'm sure I will be making this again.

The biscuits in this recipe are exellent. I got lots of complements on them when I took them to a dinner last night. Plus the whole dessert is very easy to make.

This is great. I cheated a bit by using the processor for the dough (10 pulses), as I do for all scone recipes. And used turbinado for the prebake sprinkles. Everybody Hoovered their plates and came up looking for more. Think I'll make them for today's party, too.

Made this recipe with freshly picked strawberries. Not only was the presentation as pretty as the picture but the taste was delicious! My guests were impressed with the taste of the biscuit - light & tasty and didn't overpower the berries. I pureed a bit of strawberries to pour over the top for added flavor. Even better than the last strawberry shortcake recipe from FC, and that was fabulous!

I made these today for mothers day and they were great. Just the right amount of sweetness,and the texture is very light and delicate. I think my oven runs a little hot so the bottoms got a bit too brown so I'll adjust the temperature next time to see if that works out.

It came out great. A real winner

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