Sunday, May 19, 2013

Strawberry Shortcake and the Best Ever Biscuit

We have been getting amazing strawberries lately and this seemed like the perfect dessert for M's 1st birthday!  The biscuits were delicious by themselves and since I had extra dough I made enough of the biscuits to take, along with some jam (aka scones), to L's school for teacher appreciation week.  


1312 oz. (about 3 cups) all-purpose flour
3 Tbs. granulated sugar; plus about 3 Tbs. for sprinkling
112 Tbs. baking powder
34 tsp. table salt
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
112 cups heavy cream; plus about 3 Tbs. for brushing
112 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
1-2 Tbs. cold water, as needed

5 cups strawberry slices (from about 3 pints)
1 to 3 Tbs. granulated sugar, depending on the sweetness of the berries

Whipped cream:
112 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. confectioners' sugar

Line a heavy baking sheet with parchment. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Toss with a fork to combine. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until the largest pieces of butter are the size of peas. Combine the cream and vanilla, make a well in the center of the flour and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it will look shaggy and still feel a little dry. Gently knead by hand five or six times to pick up any dry ingredients remaining in the bottom of the bowl and to create a loose ball.  If the dough will not hold a ball, add the cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough holds a loose ball.

Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and pat into a flat disc.  Refrigerate the dough for about an hour.  Heat the oven to 425°F.  Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out until about 14 inch thick.  Using a 2 12 - 3 inch round cookie cutter cut out the dough placing them about 2 inches apart on the baking sheet.  Brush each biscuit with a thin layer of cream and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake until the biscuits are medium golden brown on top and the bottoms are golden brown, about 18 minutes.

To prepare the berries toss them with 1 tablespoon sugar and taste. If they’re still tart, sprinkle with another 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar. Let sit at room temperature until the sugar dissolves and the berries begin to release their juices, at least 30 minutes but no more than 3 hours.

Pour the cream and confectioners' sugar into a cold mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until it until soft peaks form.

While the biscuits are still warm, split them in half.  For each serving, set the bottom half of a biscuit on a plate. Scoop some of the berries and their juices over the biscuit, add a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover with the top half of the biscuit.  Serve and enjoy.  

Makes about 20 biscuits

Adapted from Fine Cooking 58 , pp. 50 June 1, 2003

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