Strawberry Shortcakes

There are two types of strawberry shortcakes: one is a yellow cake with layers of whipped or pastry cream and strawberries and the other is a biscuit that is split open and filled with whipped cream and berries.

My version is the latter and relies on pre-made unbaked biscuits. Sounding better and better? I generally buy the frozen ones that come in a bag, but there are refrigerated ones that come in a tin. I also use canned whipped cream to save time, although feel free to whip up a batch of homemade.

This recipe makes six shortcakes, so if you want to make fewer, just divide the ingredients accordingly. For a little extra pizzazz, try adding a tablespoon of Creme de Cassis or Grand Marnier to the sliced strawberries.

Do you know how to choose strawberries? The first thing you want to do is smell the container because sweet and juicy strawberries will emit a pleasant odor. Next, look at the bottom of the container to make sure you don’t see many smashed or  moldy berries. You need to rinse them before using, so let them air dry a bit in a strainer.

 The recipe calls for a coarse sugar, such as Demarara, which is a large grained, unrefined sugar with a golden hue. Other coarse unrefined sugars are Turbinado and Sugar in the Raw. Please don’t substitute regular white sugar because the sugar will melt and make a mess!

STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

Makes 6

  • 1 quart ripe strawberries ~ 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of liqueur ~ optional
  • 6 frozen or refrigerated buttermilk biscuits ~ unbaked
  • 1 tablespoon Half & Half or heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons coarse sugar
  • canned whipped cream or homemade

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or whatever temperature is written on your biscuit package).

2.Rinse the strawberries and let them drain in a colander.

3.Using the tip of a paring knife, remove the green stem from each strawberry.

4.Slice the strawberries crosswise and if the slices are more than a mouthful, slice them crosswise again. Place in a mixing bowl along with the white sugar. Grate the zest of the lemon into the bowl and then slice the lemon in half and squeeze one of the halves into the bowl. Be careful not to include the seeds and if they fall into the bowl, fish them out! Reserve the other lemon half because you might want to add more, depending on the sweetness of the berries. Add the liqueur if using. Refrigerate until ready to fill the biscuits. Before serving, taste the strawberries and make adjustments as necessary — more sugar? more lemon?

  

5.Place the coarse sugar into a small dish and the Half & Half into another. Dip each biscuit top first into the coarse sugar and then into the cream. You want only the tops wet. Place the biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and make sure they’re touching one another. It makes them rise higher.

             

6.Bake according to the package directions or until slightly golden in color.  Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

7.Split each biscuit in half and place the bottom half onto a plate. Spoon a generous amount of the berries on top and then a large dollop of whipped cream. Place the top slightly tilted on top and serve.

Grocery Bag: Strawberry Shortcakes