Breads, Desserts, Sweet Snacks

Traditional Strawberry Shortcake

for the buttermilk biscuits
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons baking powder
1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoons salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
3/4 cup cold buttermilk
2 tablespoons melted butter, for brushing

for the strawberries and cream
2 pounds fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced (reserve a few whole for garnish)
Juice from half a lemon
3 tablespoons sugar
2 cups very cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 400F. Prepare a cookie sheet with silpat or parchment paper.

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Pulse several times to combine well. Add the butter, and continue to pulse in 2-second increments, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces (about 5 pulses). This can also be done using a pastry blender or 2 forks if you don’t have a food processor.

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, pour the buttermilk over it, and use a fork to mix for about 1 minute, or until the dough just comes together. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, knead with floured hands, and pat into a rectangle about 6×10 inches and 1-inch thick. Fold the dough like a business letter (the right most third over the center third, then the left third on top). Turn the dough a quarter of a turn, pat it into another 6×10 inch rectangle, and fold it upon itself in thirds again. Repeat one more time, then pat the dough into a 6×10 inch rectangle a final time. (Note: this is to get all those nice flakey layers in the biscuits.)

Using a floured 2 or 3 inch biscuit cutter, cut the biscuits from the dough and place them about 1 1/2 inches apart on the cookie sheet. Pat the scraps into a 1-inch thick rectangle and cut more biscuits.

Brush the tops with half the melted butter, and bake 15-20 minutes, or until the tops are just beginning to brown. Brush the tops again with the remaining butter once they come out of the oven. Let cook on wire racks.

Meanwhile, prepare the strawberries. Place half of them in a small sauté pan over medium heat, along with the lemon and juice and sugar. Heat until the strawberries are soft and juicy. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Add remaining non-cooked strawberries to the mixture.

Then make your whipped cream. Whip the cream to medium peaks. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip to stiff peaks.

To assemble, Split the biscuits in half horizontally and arrange the bottom of each one split side up on an individual plate. Divide the strawberries and then the whipped cream among them. Replace the top half of each biscuit, garnish with whole strawberries and mint (if using) and serve immediately.

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