Favorite Strawberry Shortcake

I’ve toured enough strawberry fields and interviewed enough growers in my lifetime to realize this: sometimes strawberries blow your mind and sometimes strawberries leave you with that “meh” feeling. And the difference isn’t something you spot visually – sometimes even the most anemic-looking berries can pack a flavor punch while large beautiful red ones can leave you wanting more.

While it’s true that strawberries can grow year round here in California it doesn’t always mean they taste great. For the record I’m not a snob and will buy berries all year long if needed but it doesn’t always make me happy. But you know what makes me happy? When things are in season, when berries taste like berries and not flavored lipstick, and just a simple preparation is enough to seal the deal.

Strawberry Shortcake is one of my favorite desserts. It’s perfect really. A small cake or biscuit, strawberries, some syrup and whipped cream. What is not to love? But like most desserts the quality of the ingredients is paramount. No amount of perfect strawberries can save a hockey puck and why go through the trouble of creating a perfect biscuit if you only top it with substandard berries? It’s just not worth it.

My friend Elise wrote about this recipe a few years ago and we only recently tried it. One dessert became two. Two became three. Three became four and over this past weekend I was appalled that my diet consisted of a few pounds of strawberries from the farmers’ market and these biscuits with slightly-sweetened whipped cream. I couldn’t help myself, really. Perfect biscuits, slightly sweetened with a scone-like density, did me in. Or was it the strawberries, perfectly sweet with the right about of tart zing? Wait, it could have been the whipped cream, something I’m a sucker for on just about anything. Whatever it was, this dessert is now officially my most.favorite.thing.ever because it’s not too sweet and it’s just right.

Strawberry Shortcake

Kindly reprinted from Simply Recipes (and adapted from Fine Cooking) because I begged Elise if I could once I tried it. Make this and you’ll understand why.

For the strawberries and the whipping cream

3 baskets of fresh strawberries. Make sure they are the best you can use!
1/2 cup sugar
Whipping cream
Vanilla

Remove the stems from the strawberries. Slice into thin (1/4″ to 1/8″) slices. Put into a large bowl. Add 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of sugar (depending on how sweet the strawberries are to begin with) and mix into the strawberries. Set aside at room temperature to macerate. After 20 minutes, gently mash the strawberries with a potato masher.  Go easy, you only want to bring out the juices and not crush the berries.

Whip the cream, adding a drop or two of vanilla and a teaspoon of sugar.

To serve, break one biscuit into big pieces and ladle strawberries on top. Add a dollop of whipped cream and a drizzle of the strawberry liquid if desired.

For the biscuits

3 cups all purpose flour
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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. (Or pulse several times in a food processor.) Combine the cream and vanilla in a liquid measure. Make a well in the center of the flour and and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just combined; it should look shaggy and still feel a little dry. Gently knead by hand five or six times to create a loose ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and pat it into an 8-inch square, 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Transfer the dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment or silpat, cover with plastic and chill for 20 minutes in the refrigerator. Heat the oven to 425ºF. Remove the dough from refrigerator. Cut the dough into 9 even squares and spread them about 2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the biscuits are medium golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

Makes 9 biscuits. (Adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, July 2003)




Comments

  1. says

    Whoever said strawberry was overrated must have lost his mind. Spring and strawberry shortcake are the best couple.

  2. says

    Simple and delicious. Let not over complicate our food. As always love your photo, simple white and let the strawberries pop. I’m really looking forward to your book.

  3. says

    I generally try and buy organic as they’re rated high on the pesticide list, but sometimes the organics have literally no flavor. So then what’s the point? Bought some huge ones at the farmers market @ 3rd and Fairfax the other day and have no idea if they’re organic, local or whatever, but they were juicy and delicious and sometimes that’s all you’re lookin for:)

    Thanks for the recipe. Gonna try this later this week!

  4. melissa mcgee says

    strawberry shortcake is a staple at our family’s sunday lunch table all summer long. this is just about exactly the same recipe – simple – as i use, as handed down by my mother, and by her mother before her. here in texas, if the strawberries come from poteet, the shortcake is guaranteed to disappear almost immediately! lovely post filled with great memories, beautiful photos and a need for strawberry shortcake…

  5. says

    Growing up in India, strawberries were an exotic foreign fruit. Now, as I live for most of the time in socal, my diet too includes a frighteningly large number of strawberries! Thank for your sharing :)

  6. Stacy Bakri says

    Oh! I wish I had seen your recipe last week when I made my strawberry shortcake. The vanilla in the dough and the sugar on the top of the biscuits would have made a world of difference. As it was, my biscuits were bland. Next time I want to dip my biscuits in melted chocolate. YUM!

  7. says

    I love strawberry shortcake! I can’t wait until strawberries are available in NY. I have heard this year is supposed to be a particularly good year for strawberries across the country.

  8. says

    I woke up with a craving for carbonara until I saw this. Now I want to be virtuous and eat whipped cream with strawberries and cake :)

    Gorgeous!

  9. says

    I just did a post on strawberry shortcake, too! And I’ve been making them for dessert (and eating them for breakfast and lunch) a little too often, just like you have. Someone as my farmer’s market has the BEST little strawberries and they are totally the key ingredient.

  10. says

    Too true. A bad strawberry is a bad strawberry. Sort of like an orange, right? I hate a bad dry orange. This recipe looks absolutely great. I’m always looking for the perfect strawberry shortcake recipe. I can’t believe it’s time of year to start trying them again. Thanks, Matt! I love your blog!

  11. Giovani says

    Love the new design for the site & the new sections. Matt + flying donuts is one of my favorite portraits of yours. I haven’t read anywhere as to why your flickr account is no longer active. I miss looking through your self portraits.

  12. says

    Strawberries ABOUND right now! I made strawberry shortcake (and blogged about it) a month ago as an emergency birthday cake. It’s a similar recipe – though I used buttermilk in the biscuit. I do have to say I’m HORRIFIED at the idea that you would mash (no matter how gently) the strawberries beforehand!

    But that’s just me. I like a firm fruit. *cough*. I use the zest and juice of a meyer lemon in the strawberries to make the syrup. With the macerating, no mashing is required.

    Your photos of the shortcake and the strawberries are gorgeous! I love Elise over at Simply Recipes! Thanks for the post though. Strawberry shortcake. I may have to make it again before my ever growing short attention span switches from strawberries to cherries.

  13. says

    strawberry shortcake is a staple at our family’s sunday lunch table all summer long. this is just about exactly the same recipe – simple – as i use, as handed down by my mother, and by her mother before her. here in texas, if the strawberries come from poteet, the shortcake is guaranteed to disappear almost immediately! lovely post filled with great memories, beautiful photos and a need for strawberry shortcake…
    +1

  14. says

    I’m with “The French,” the organic strawberries around here usually don’t taste like much but the ones I’ve found at the farmers market recently have been outstanding.

    Thanks for the luscious post Matt; after next week’s trek to the farmers market, strawberry shortcake is going to be on the menu. By the way, great new look on your site!

  15. says

    Oh goodness =). I have a lovely gluten-free biscuit in mind. I think I’ll have to make this happen. Really quite soon.

  16. says

    You read my mind! Strawberries are about to be ready in my home town and the one dessert my whole clan can agree on is strawberry shortcake! We are getting ready for a big graduation celebration and I am going to make these over that weekend! Who doesn’t love fruit that is at its peak, whipped cream and a perfect biscuit…can’t wait to make some dough! thanx!

  17. says

    And the dollop strikes again! Flavorwise, the chilled whipped cream is what brings the whole thing together I think. I can just TASTE early summer days (and we’ve had rain for almost 3 weeks)..

  18. Levi Atkinson says

    This strwberry shortcake looks so delicious i cant explain, im goin to copy this recipe and make it asap.

  19. says

    But you make the strawberries look so preeettttty.

    Here is my strawberry tip, or warning, depending on how you view it.

    The best strawberries in Southern California come from Harry’s Berries. They’re probably at your local farmer’s market. They are amazing. The Gaviota are good but the Seascape are all that a strawberry should be. My cousin works for Thomas Keller, and she says all their berries come from Harry’s.

    However, they are fiendishly expensive (in comparison to the other stands at the farmer’s market this time of year) and once you eat them they spoil you for normal strawberries. So be warned.

  20. says

    Strawberry season is soon – can’t wait to head to the market and pick up some pints and test this recipe out!

  21. says

    ah these look fantastic and i really do love biting into a beautiful red and plump juicy sweet strawberry

    i think i wanna invest in my own strawbbery patch.. :)

  22. says

    It’s true. The strawberries coming out right now (thanks, Harry’s Berries) are RIDONCULOUS. Nothing beats the perfect berry, whipped cream, and a soft biscuit. Or five. :)

  23. says

    Lovely! The strawberries are ripe here in CT and I am going to go strawberry picking this weekend. I will definately use your recipe. Thanks!

  24. says

    Man, I love strawberry shortcakes!!!! Love your site too, the photos are stunning. I wish my site’s photos were even half as good. Only have time to take quick iphone pics sadly.

  25. says

    The strawberries in my area are phenomenal right now and this has inspired me to make a shortcake… how could I not?! The photo is gorgeous. Can’t wait to try the recipe!

  26. says

    I feel like when you make a recipe that is this simple but looks this good you should hand-deliver a bowl to your viewers so they can taste it! I’m lazy today and don’t want to go buy strawberries but man does this look so good! Great photos!

Trackbacks

  1. […] in mente. Da quando Matt ha postato la ricetta (e la FOTO!) dello strawberry shortcake sul suo sito, non ho avuto in mente altro che trovare fragole e fragoline che valessero la pena di accendere il […]

  2. […] Strawberry Shortcake | MattBites.comI’ve toured enough strawberry fields and interviewed enough growers in my lifetime to realize this: sometimes strawberries blow your mind and … While it’s true that strawberries can grow year round here in California it doesn’t always mean they taste great. … Strawberry Shortcake is one of my favorite desserts. […]

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