Jun 5, 2013 8:01 PM by Jennifer English
June and strawberries. The first sweet flavors of early summer.
When I saw Strawberry what is the first thing that pops into your mind?
Strawberries come into season now so we see them in our markets at the peak of red, ripe sweet flavor and the best prices of the year. Now is the time to say thank you to the strawberry growers and take advantage by using strawberries in everything. I add them quartered into my salads with a quick balsamic vinegar dressing. But my favorite way to serve them to maximum delight is in a classic strawberry shortcake. For over a century Strawberry Shortcake has been a beloved June treat. Did you know that Driscoll's, have been the berries in that tradition for over 100 years? Maybe because my birthday is in June and those first sweet shortcakes with their beautiful dry hint of salty satisfaction, (the perfect foil for the sweet berries) always felt like a birthday cake kick-off for me. Enjoy!
o 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
o 1/2 cups plus 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
o 2 teaspoons baking powder
o 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
o 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
o 1/4 teaspoons salt
o 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
o 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
o 1 large egg yolk
o 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
o 2 packages (16 ounces or 3 cups each) Driscoll's Strawberries
o 3 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
o 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
o 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
o 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
o Fresh orange zest strips for garnish (optional)
17. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine flour, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl whisk together 1 cup buttermilk, egg yolk, and vanilla extract and stir into flour mixture until just moistened.
18. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 to 5 times with floured hands. Gently pat dough to 3/4-inch thickness. Using a 3-inch-round biscuit cutter, cut out 8 shortcakes, gathering scraps and patting out again if necessary, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Brush tops of shortcakes with remaining 2 tablespoons buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
19. Bake shortcakes until lightly golden, 12 to 14 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack 10 minutes. Carefully split shortcakes horizontally using a serrated knife.
20. Hull and chop 15 strawberries and toss in a bowl with 2 teaspoons sugar; set aside. Combine heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and orange zest in a bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on high until stiff peaks almost form. Refrigerate until ready to use. Hull and halve 20 berries lengthwise. Hull and vertically slice 8 strawberries. Use any remaining strawberries for garnish or reserve for another use.
21. Place the bottom halves of shortcakes, cut side up, on eight serving plates and spread each with 2 tablespoons whipped cream. Arrange 5 strawberry halves, on their sides (with the cut side facing in towards the center) around the edge of each shortcake to form a ring. Spoon chopped strawberries into the center of the ring. Top with 2 tablespoons whipped cream and place shortcake tops, cut side down, on top. Spread tops with 1 tablespoon whipped cream, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Decoratively arrange 4 to 5 strawberry slices on top and sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Drop a small dollop of whipped cream in the center of sliced berries and garnish with the orange zest strips if using. Serve or refrigerate until ready to serve.