Strawberry Shortcakes with Chantilly Cream

There is really not a lot to say about strawberry shortcakes.  They are delicious.  They are simple.  They are a perfect summertime dessert.

I’ve tried many a recipe and this is probably the best.  The biscuit is very simple to make and is perfectly balanced between a traditional biscuit and a dessert biscuit with just a hint of sugar.  But really, who am I kidding?  The recipe had me when I saw there was heavy cream in the shortcake.  I’ve never seen that before and its wonderful.  So, go find yourself some strawberries and make yourself this dessert that is a true celebration of summer.

You can make the shortcakes a day in advance, simply wrap them in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.  The Chantilly Cream can also be made a day in advance, covered and refrigerated, but it will lose some of its thickness the longer it sits.  Lightly whisk before serving to restore to original consistency.

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
grated peel of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons  cold unsalted butter
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream, divided
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, rinsed, hulled and sliced

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

To make the shortcakes, combine the flour, salt, 3 tablespoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and the lemon peel in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and add it to the dry ingredients.  Using a wire pastry blender or the paddle attachment to an electric mixer, or two knives or a fork, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is pea sized.  Add 1 cup of the heavy cream and stir until the dough comes together.

Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface.  Pat or roll it out to 1 1/2 inches thick.  Cut the dough, using a cutter or round glass,  into 2 ½ inch circles.  (The original recipe is for 8 servings, but I like my biscuits a bit taller, so I usually get 6 out of this.)  Place the dough circles on the prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart.  Using a pastry brush, brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon heaving cream and then sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar.  Bake the shortcakes until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

To make the Chantilly Cream, whisk or beat 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 tablespoon sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract in a large bowl until soft peaks form. The cream should hold its shape but still be satiny in appearance.

To serve the shortcakes, heat them in a preheated 300 degrees oven for 10 minutes if they are no longer warm.  While the shortcakes are baking or heating, rinse, hull and slice the strawberries.  If they are not naturally sweet enough, add some of remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired sweetness is reached.

Cut the shortcakes in half horizontally.  Place the bottom of a shortcake on a dessert plate  and spoon some fruit and then some Chantilly Cream on top.  Place the second shortcake half over the cream and serve immediately.

Adapted from A Passion for Desserts.

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