There was a time when I was little I remember having a memorable strawberry shortcake at a local summer fair. Everyone around me was eating it, when I walked through the entrance gates of the fair almost every other person I saw was eating strawberry shortcake. I simply couldn't wait to get to the strawberry shortcake stand and devour one--no, I was having two orders (I reasoned with myself because I knew there'd be a line). Patiently I waited in line like everyone else, staring at every single order of strawberry shortcake that went by. Once I finally got to the front line, I was able to see inside the truck: a massive bucket filled with bright red strawberries in a red syrupy sauce, a large tray had slices of cake ready to assemble, and cans of whipped cream all lined up assembly style. Taking my first bite I couldn't wait--but it was awful. The cake was angel food (or as I like to call it angel-air cake), the berries were limp and partially frozen, and the whipped cream was nothing but chemicals. Such a dissapointment. But what kept my mind stirring about for the rest of the day was why did all the people love it so much and not me? What was wrong with me? As I got older and became more of a foodie I realized that real strawberry shortcake is made with real strawberries, real whipped cream and strawberry shortcake made with REAL biscuits, not angel-AIR cake.
So every time I make strawberry shortcake I'm always brought back to that moment and wonder how many people, right now, are truly missing out and eating those horrid versions seen at some local fairs.
strawberry shortcake w/ chocolate topping
for the strawberries:
½ pound strawberries, washed, hulled & chopped
2 TB white sugar
1 TB fresh lemon juice
It’s best to get the strawberries done first as you want them to sit for a while at room temp before serving. I like to let mine sit for at least ½ hour to 45 minutes before serving (room temp).
adapted from cook's illustrated
2 cups flour
1 TB baking powder
1 TB sugar
1 ts salt
½ ts baking soda
4 TB unsalted butter, grated (I used 5 TB)
1 ½ cup buttermilk
2 TB melted butter
Course chunky sugar for dusting tops of biscuits before baking
Grate your 5 TB of butter with a cheese grater or food processor, place back in freezer till ready to use. Preheat oven to 500ºF. Spray a 9 inch springform or cake pan with some nonstick spray. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt to a bowl and mix the ingredients together evenly.
Using a fork or pastry blender, mix the butter. Stop once you have the dough in small crumbles. Fold in the buttermilk until everything is just blended, and there are no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix, the mixture should still be lumpy.
Line a plate or tray with some flour and using a 1/4 C measuring cup or 1/4 C ice cream/cookie scoop, scoop out balls of the dough onto the tray of flour.
Flour your hands and roll each ball around in the flour to evenly coat them in a layer of flour.
The dough is very wet and very sticky.
Place the dough balls into the prepared pan. Place 9 balls around in a ring and 3 balls in the center of the pan. Brush the tops of the biscuits with melted butter, then dust them with coarse sugar chunks.
Bake for 5 minutes at 500ºF (middle rack) and then lower the temperature to 450ºF and bake for another 15 minutes. Should make 12 (you can halve this recipe to make only 6 biscuits).
Place your whipping bowl and the beaters in the freezer at least ½ hour before using. This is good for keeping the whipped cream nice and cold.
I use about ½ cup of whipping cream, beat till almost whipped, then add in a couple splashes of pure vanilla extract, then resume whipping till done.
I just melted some 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips in the microwave.
I only used 6 of the biscuits and froze the rest. Cut the biscuits in half, spoon on the strawberry mixture, put a little bit of the melted chocolate, put on the other half of the biscuit, then top with whipped cream and maybe a bit more melted chocolate.