Just once this season, treat yourself and the people you love – or just yourself, if you’re real ornery – to real strawberry shortcake with whipped cream.
The biscuits that this recipe makes are worlds better than the yellow spongy discs they try to foist off on you at the supermarket.
2 quarts strawberries, sliced
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
For the shortcake:
2 1/2 cups flour
6 tablespoons sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons minced lemon zest (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
9 tablespoons butter, chilled, cut in pieces
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
For the whipped cream:
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Toss the cut strawberries with sugar and brandy, if using, and let sit for an hour or more, tossing occasionally. Press with a potato masher, if desired, to extract more juice.
Set oven to 400 degrees. Put flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and zest, if using, in the bowl of a food processor. Add the cold butter, and pulse six to eight times, just until mixture turns sandy looking. Pour into a bowl; add cream and stir until dough comes together.
Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead a half-dozen times. Flatten to b inches thick, and cut out rounds with a cutter or glass. Reshape the scraps and cut out more. Place rounds on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and puffy. They’re best served warm, and can be reheated in a gentle oven.
While the cakes bake, whip cream in a chilled bowl with sugar and vanilla.
To assemble, split cakes open and put the base, cut side up, on plate. Layer berries and juice, cream, then the second half of the cake, cut side up. Add more berries and cream, and serve.