Strawberry Shortcakes

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In my Mom’s kitchen, there is a dark green granite counter top to the side of the oven. This is where the our recipe development occurs. My Mom has her side and I have mine. Over the years, we have spent countless hours on these two sides of the counter chopping, mixing, stirring and whatever culinary tasks are called for in the recipe.

To celebrate strawberry season, we decided to make a classic comfort food that highlights the berry’s juicy and sweet nature. Strawberry Shortcakes are an iconic dessert. With just three elements to it they are fairly straight and to the point. When you have ripe berries at the peak of their season, straightforward is what you need! Shortcake, a ripe berry filling, and a bowl of fluffy home made whipped cream are the makings of a great dessert.

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When these three ingredients are put together there is no wrong outcome. You can create a shortcake sandwich, like you will see in the shots below, or you can have your cake open faced with mounds or juicy ripe berries topped with fluffy whipped cream. If you like your shortcakes to turn pink and absorb all the delicious strawberry juice, then the open faced presentation is for you.

You can even take your strawberry short cake on the go! After recipe testing and photographing the recipe, I took a leftover short cake home. The only challenge was that I wanted to assemble it right before I would eat it later that night. The solution was to think like I was tailgating and separate the components of the dish. By packing 2 shortcake halves in one bag, strawberry filling in a second, and the whipped cream in a third, I had made Strawberry Shortcake to go. When ready to eat, I places the 2 cakes in a bowl and poured the bag of berry filling on top. To add the whipped cream, I turned the plastic bag into a piping bag by pushing all the whipped cream to one corner. I then cut the corner of the bag with scissors and topped my open faced shortcakes. With this set up, you can take your shortcakes to any picnic, tailgate, or other outdoor event! It is also an easy way for guests to take leftovers home with them

The process for shortcakes is pretty simple and something that young children can enjoy! Once the dough is made, roll it out into a layer of even thickness.
strawberry_shortcake_1 copyCut into into circles. If your children want to make stars, hearts, or other shapes feel free to break out the cookie cutters and have fun!
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Poke holes on the top with a fork.
strawberry_shortcake_4 copyAnd brush the top with cream.
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Take the left over dough and repeat the process until all of your dough has turned into round shortcakes.
Once the shortcakes have cooled, all you need to do is slice them in half, and add the berry filling and whipped cream!
Below is the sandwich method of assembly, but feel free to create them however you like. If you want to put everything in a bowl and mix it up that is fine! Remember, with home made shortcake, peak season berries and fresh whipped cream, you really can’t go wrong. Later this summer we will share you other versions of fruit shortcake, so keep an eye out for those.
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Strawberry Shortcakes

Makes 8

For the Shortcakes:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

6 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

1 cup heavy cream

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

For the strawberry filling:

8 cups sliced strawberries

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

For the whipped cream:

2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold

1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/8 teaspoon almond extract

small pinch salt (1/16 teaspoon)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir until flour mixture is well blended. Set bowl aside. In a small bowl, add the cream, egg and the extracts. Stir the cream mixture until well blended. Set the bowl aside. Cut the cold butter into 16 pieces and add the the flour mixture.Using a pastry blender or 2 forks, cut the butter into the flour mixture until the flour resembles coarse meal. Some visible bits of butter in the flour mixture are OK. Add the cream mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a fork until a dough forms. Gather the dough into a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let the dough chill for 15 minutes.

2. While the dough is chilling, make the strawberry filling. In the work bowl of a food processor, add 3 cups of the sliced strawberries, the sugar and the lemon juice. Pulse the strawberries on/ off in the processor until a chunky strawberry puree forms. Put the remaining 5 cups of berries into a medium bowl. Pour the strawberry puree over the sliced strawberries. Stir the mixture until well blended. Set Strawberries aside.
3.Put the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough until it is 3/4 inch thick. Cut the dough into 8 circles using a 3 inch biscuit cutter. Put the shortcakes onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes until the shortcakes are a light golden brown. Remove the shortcakes from the oven and let cool on the baking sheet.

4. While the shortcakes are cooling, make the whipped cream. In a medium bowl add the cold cream, confectioners sugar, extracts and salt. Whip the cream with a hand mixer or wire whisk until soft peaks form. To assemble the short cakes, split the biscuits in half and cover each half with a generous portion of the strawberry filling and top with whipped cream. Serve immediately.

If shortcakes are one of your favorite desserts, check out these other shortcake recipes that you may enjoy.

Grilled Shortcakes with Raspberries and Orange Whipped Cream

Strawberry Shortcakes with BBQ Shrimp and Citrus Rice

Want to learn more about how this picture was created? Check out the behind the scenes look on photographingfood.com

Recipe ©Sally James Mathis

Photography ©Taylor Mathis

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