Here we are once again with a Candid Appetite Classics on our hands. Where have the days gone? This time around I decided to take the sweet route, since the last one was so savory and cheesy. Not that there’s anything wrong with savory and cheesy. I actually prefer it that way. I just wanted to switch things up a bit, that’s all. Since strawberries are in season at the moment, here in Southern California, I thought the best thing to do was to take all those fresh berries I have lying around in the fridge, and turn them into something more useful and productive. (Yes, dessert can be productive. Just go with it). I decided to stuff said strawberries into homemade sweetened biscuits with a ridiculous amount of freshly whipped cream. I’m declaring this whole week “Dessert for Breakfast Week” so you better get a move on it and make these shortcakes pronto. I’m giving you a whole week to celebrate, rather than just one day, because I know we all get busy and don’t always have all the time in the world to get in the kitchen and bake something sweet. Let alone eat it for breakfast. So don’t worry about it, take you time. You have a week to stuff your face with whipped cream, biscuits and berries first thing in the morning.
I was just talking to a friend the other day about strawberry shortcakes, because that’s what you do with your friends. You talk about rich whipped cream slathered desserts on your way to brunch, where you’re about to eat too much food and drink way too many drinks on a late Sunday morning, well into late Sunday afternoon. We both sighed in disgust when our very important discussion lead to sponge cake strawberry shortcakes. We decided then and there that no strawberry shortcake should ever be made with those rubbery twinkie wannabe store bought sponge cakes that could double as something you wash your dishes with (I’m exaggerating). It’s blasphemous. They should only ever be made with lightly sweetened biscuits, and you should make them yourself, if possible, or trick your friends into making them for you. That’s the smart way to do it. Clearly we both have a love of biscuits, that’s why we’re friends, and furthermore we think biscuits should be incorporated into every one of our meals. Don’t you? He’s Southern so it’s allowed and I’m Southern at heart so it’s okay.
In case you’ve missed any of the other Classics in this series, you can search for “Classics” in the search bar to the right, on the site. Or you can just click here, I went ahead and did it for you because that’s how much I care. I CARE ABOUT YOU! You know what else I care about? Strawberries and biscuits, and since this dessert has both of them in one mega treat, I really care about this dessert. I won’t go ahead and say it’s my favorite thing to eat in the summer, that’s a loaded statement, I’m no fool. But I also won’t say that it isn’t my favorite thing to eat during the summer. Maybe because it’s easy enough to make without having to spend too much time in a hot kitchen when all I really want to be doing is laying under the air conditioning vent with a pair of sunglasses and a cocktail. Hey, you enjoy the heat the way you want to, and I’ll (not) enjoy it the way I want to. Either way, strawberry shortcakes are on the top of our summer lists. I just know it.
Since this is a strawberry shortcake after all, we need fresh strawberries. Lots of them. If you’re lucky enough to have a farmer’s market near you, pay them a visit over the weekend and pick up a few pints. If you’re like me and don’t want to fight through all of the crowds, then just go to your local grocery store and pretend like it’s a farmer’s market. When your friends ask you where you got these delicious strawberries, you compose yourself, laugh on the inside and tell them (with a straight face) that you got up super early and went to the farmer’s market just for them. Make your friends feel special.
The first thing we need to do is macerate those farm fresh berries. Macerate is just a fancy term for letting them soften in some sort of liquid. In this case, the liquid comes from lemon juice and sugar. The sugar extracts the natural juices from the berries. I’m teaching you science here. FOR NOTHING! Cut off the ends from the berries and thinly slice them. In a large bowl, combine the berries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla bean seeds.
**Note: To remove the seeds from the vanilla bean, run a sharp pairing knife, lengthwise, along the bean. Then scrape the seeds from the insides. If you can’t get a hold of a bean, you can just omit it or add a splash of vanilla extract instead.**
Toss everything together until evenly combined. Cover in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for about half an hour. Leave at room temperature, if you plan on eating them soon.
**Tip: You can also wrap the bowl in plastic wrap and store them in the fridge for up to five hours before using! You don’t want to do it longer than that because the berries will break down too much. Mushy berries are no bueno.**
Let’s talk biscuits now. These aren’t the buttermilk Southern biscuits we all know and love. Those are awesome. But these are sweet cream biscuits that are made perfectly for being slathered in fresh berries and whipped cream. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Add the cold diced butter and break down with your fingers, a pastry blender or potato masher, until it resembles coarse crumbs the size of peas.
Make a well in the center and add the cold heavy cream.
**Tip: For the most fluffiest of biscuits (this recipe or the Southern variety) make sure to use super cold ingredients like butter and buttermilk and/or heavy cream. The cold butter and liquid ensures that the biscuits puff up and get flaky when they bake. Well that, and not handling them too much when you go to roll and cut them, but more on that later.**
Using a rubber spatula, fold until just combined and evenly moistened. DO NO over mix. The dough will be very sticky. That’s okay. You’re doing this right.
Lightly flour a work surface and then dump out the dough. Working quickly and delicately (or as delicately as you can if you have man paws like mine) knead it a few times, not more than 2 or 3, and then roll or flatten it out into a large circle about 3/4 of an inch thick. Then using a round biscuit cutter, cut out the biscuits.
**Note: You can use whatever biscuit cutter size you have on hand, or whatever size you want to make your biscuits. I made mine using a 3-inch round biscuit cutter.*
**Tip: When cutting out your biscuits, do not twist and turn the cutter. That seals the edges and causes your biscuits to not rise and get fluffy. Just cut them in a straight up and down motion.**
Place the biscuits on a parchment lined baking sheet and brush with heavy cream. Sprinkle with granulated or raw turbinado sugar on top of each.
Bake the biscuits in a preheated 400ºF oven for about 15 to 18 minutes (maybe 20 depending on your oven) or until golden brown. Allow to cool down.
As the sweet, sweet biscuits bake and cool and the berries sit and do their thing, get the whipped cream going. It’s a simple whipped cream recipe. Nothing fancy at all. In a large bowl, beat the cold heavy cream until starting to thicken. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until soft peaks form.
**Tip: Do not over beat the cream or you’ll end up with butter. If you do lose track of your mixer and you end up with super thick cream on the verge of butter, you can add a splash or two more of heavy cream to soften it out. If it’s completely butter, don’t add cream. That’s it, you’ve ruined it. Keep the butter for something else and try again. It happens to the best of us.**
Once the the biscuits are cooled, split in half horizontally with a serrated knife and top with whipped cream and lots of berries.
You can strain out some of the strawberry juice with a slotted spoon so you don’t end up with too much liquid on your shortcake before spooning it on top of the cream. Life lesson number 23: No one wants a soggy shortcake. I promise you that. Serve it by placing the cap back on the biscuit and maybe a bit more cream, if you’re into that sort of thing.
You can also add a sprig of mint for garnish, but don’t. I’m not really into garnishes you can’t eat. I mean, I guess you can eat mint just like that, but why? Why would you?!?! WHY?!! Leave the mint for something else. Just look at this dessert though. It doesn’t need a garnish. It’s perfectly awesome all on it’s own.
The biscuits are really best the same day you make them, but I’m no monster. If you really really really are strapped for time and you need to make them early on, you can make them the night before. Store them in the fridge, well-wrapped and then just rewarm them in a preheated 300 degree oven for about 3 to 10 minutes until warmed through. The whipped cream could also be made a day before. Just stir or rewhip for a few seconds before serving. Save the strawberry prep for the day of! BOOM. I got you covered.
Don’t forget to tag your “Candid Appetite Classics” with #TCAclassics on all social media! If you make any of the classics for yourself and family or friends, take a picture of it and share it online using our hashtag. I always love to see the dishes you guys make from the site! If it’s not a classic and you’re just making another recipe from the site, tag it with #candidappetite. I keep track of both. Looking forward to seeing all of you on the internets! Enjoy!
- 2 pints strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (about half of a medium lemon)
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons sugar, plus 2 more for topping
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream, plus 2 tablespoons
- 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the sliced strawberries in a medium bowl and toss with the sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and vanilla bean seeds. Stir until evenly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve. Stir them every so often to evenly distribute the flavor.
- To make the shortcakes, in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 2 tablespoon sugar, and salt until evenly combined. Add the cold diced butter and rub with your fingers (or a pastry blender) working quickly, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1 cup heavy cream and stir with a rubber spatula until it comes together into a sticky dough. Do not over mix.
- Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead 2 or 3 times and then using a rolling pin, roll out into ¾ of an inch thick. Cut using a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Make sure to not twist or turn while you cut the shortcakes out, or they wont rise in the oven. Just go straight down. Cut out six and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons heavy cream and sprinkle them with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake for about 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. In a large mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream until just starting to thicken. Add the sugar and vanilla and continue to beat on high until medium peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do not over mix or you'll end up with butter.
- To assemble, split the shortcakes in half horizontally, and fill the bottoms with cream and berries. Place the tops on and serve. Enjoy!