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Homemade strawberry shortcakes are the very best way to showcase freshly picked, super-juicy spring berries. This simple recipe is quick to whip together and lets the naturally sweet strawberries shine.
It boasts the best, easiest biscuits. The drop biscuits used in this recipe let you skip the kneading, cutting and re-rolling often found in shortcake recipes. Instead, you'll stir together the dough with a fork and your fingers, then scoop mounds onto a baking sheet -- taking all of 5 minutes.
It makes smart use of your ingredients. Lemon zest flavors the biscuits, while the juice is used to macerate the berries (and balances their natural sweetness). Heavy cream is used for whipped cream and stirred into the biscuit dough to make them ultra-tender. Granulated sugar draws the juices out of the strawberries, and sweetens the biscuits and cream.
"Short" is an English word meaning to make crisp with fat (such as butter or lard). While shortcakes these days take on many forms -- from those yellow sponge-y store-bought rounds to fluffy cake-like layers -- I prefer crisp and buttery biscuit-like shortcakes (which, it seems, may be the most traditional too).
The lemon-scented drop biscuits featured in this recipe are super tender on the inside (thanks to the heavy cream), and crisp and golden on the outside (thanks to the small pieces of cold butter in the dough). They're a far cry from the dry, bland shortcakes you might be used to -- and they pair perfectly with the super-juicy strawberries and fluffy, barely sweet whipped cream.
Yes! Macerated strawberries can be covered and refrigerated up to 24 hours before serving. The longer they sit, the more their flavors will concentrate and intensify. They'll also get softer and release more juices, so you may want to use a slotted spoon to scoop the berries onto the biscuits to avoid a soggy shortcake. Macerated strawberries are also delicious spooned over ice cream or stirred into yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast.
Although the biscuits are best eaten warm, you can make the dough a day in advance and store in the fridge until ready to bake. (You also can make whipped cream in a day in advance; you may want to briefly re-whisk before assembling.) To serve, spoon strawberries over the bottom half of a warm biscuit, top with whipped cream, and finish with the top biscuit half. Or, really go for it and add another layer of cream and berries.
For the strawberries:
2 pounds strawberries, rinsed, stems removed, and quartered
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Juice from 1 medium lemon (2 to 3 tablespoons) -- zest the lemon first, and reserve the zest for the biscuits
For the biscuits:
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
For the whipped cream:
1 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1. Macerate the berries. Combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl, and toss to combine. Set aside to macerate while you make the biscuits.
2. Begin the biscuits. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 400 F. Place the zest and 1/4 cup of the sugar in a large bowl. Rub between your fingertips until sugar is aromatic.
3. Add the dry ingredients. Add flour, baking powder and salt, and stir with a fork.
4. Add the butter. Add the butter and use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until it forms pea-sized pieces.
5. Add the cream. Drizzle in the cream and mix with a fork until combined. (Dough will be sticky.)
6. Form into mounds. Form dough into 8 large, tall mounds using a large spoon or ice cream scoop and space 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet (the taller the mounds of dough, the easier they will be to slice in half).
7. Sprinkle with sugar. Sprinkle the top of the biscuits with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar.
8. Bake the biscuits. Bake until the bottoms of the biscuits are deeply golden and the tops are lightly brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
9. Whip the cream. Combine the heavy cream and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium-high speed just until stiff peaks form (do not overwhip), about 90 seconds. (Alternatively, use a large bowl and a hand mixer.)
Assemble the shortcakes. Split the biscuits in half crosswise. Spoon strawberries over the bottom half and top with a dollop of whipped cream. Finish with the top biscuit.
This article is written by Grace Elkus from The Kitchn and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.