Planning and preparing for a cookout can be nerve wracking but the dessert part can be a cinch. There is nothing like advance preparation on a few key items that can be quickly put together to create a show stopping dessert…yes, I’m talking about strawberry shortcakes.
It’s really very simple…I use my scone recipe without the blueberries and substitute sour cream for the yogurt for extra moisture and texture. You can also use cream or yogurt or simply stay with the half and half…whatever you have on hand. After all a short cake is basically a scone but so much more delicious if made from scratch rather than using one of those horrible mixes.
The term short cakes comes from the process of cutting the cold butter into the flour creating a coarse meal. This process surrounds the flour with a layer of fat and prevents the added moisture from penetrating through, thus creating a crumbly texture versus a cakey texture. The liquid ingredients are added last and mixed until the batter just comes together…remember not to over mix. Then just scoop and bake.
I served this to my friends and there was not a crumb left on any of the plates…that should tell you something. I make the shortcakes ahead of time and keep them in a container so they stay nice and moist. I cut the strawberries ahead of time and add a good quality strawberry jam, then toss them gently. The jam is actually better than adding sugar, because it creates a more syrupy consistency as the strawberries macerate. Feel free to add some orange oil or Grand Marnier to the strawberry mixture, since those flavors go so well together.
When I am ready to serve, I simply whip the heavy cream with some powdered sugar and assemble the dessert….it’s just that easy.
Strawberry Shortcakes (makes 8 pieces)
4 oz cold butter
15 oz flour
¼ teaspoon salt
4.5 oz sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 oz eggs (2 large eggs)
20 drops orange or lemon oil **optional, but makes them even better, or use 2 teaspoons vanilla
5 oz sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon or orange zest
1 egg (egg wash)
Coarse sugar to sprinkle **optional
2 pints strawberries, washed and sliced
1-14 oz jar good quality strawberry jam
10 drops of orange oil or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier
Heavy whipping cream
Powdered sugar to taste (never use granulated sugar in whipping cream)
Vanilla extract to taste **optional
First wash and slice the strawberries and add the jar of jam and toss gently, If you are going to add any orange oil (10 drops) or Grand Marnier (3 tablespoons), go ahead and add it now. Allow this to macerate for at least a few hours so that the berries surrender some of their juice to create a lovely syrup. Next, add the cold butter along with the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into the bowl of your stand mixer and using the paddle attachment, cut the butter into the flour until you have achieved a coarse meal. Add all of the wet ingredients into a separate bowl and then add this into the flour mixture until just combined. Using a large ice cream scoop, place large scoops of batter onto a lined sheet pan and generously brush on the egg wash and sprinkle with a coarse sugar. Bake at 350°F for approximately 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool completely and store in a lidded container until ready to use. When you are ready to serve, whip the cream with the powdered sugar and vanilla and set aside. Split each shortcake in half and generously add a few spoonfuls of the macerated strawberries along with some juice onto the bottom half, top with some whipped cream, add the lid and dust with powdered sugar….nothing fancy, but oh so delicious.