In Paul Harvey style here’s “The Rest of the Story.” The rest of the strawberries that is. Each year we kick off the strawberry season with Strawberry Shortcake for dinner, yes for dinner I said! I am the best wife in the world. I started doing this years ago when the kids were little and it seems as though the season gets earlier and earlier each year as the winter supply of fruits has improved. While the yellow sponge disks from the grocery store are nice, I prefer a biscuit style shortcake. This time I made, with high hopes, the Cream Biscuits recipe from the February Bon Appétit and I must say it was the worst biscuit I have ever eaten. But we didn’t figure that out until after we paired them with those gorgeous berries and cream. We ate everything but the biscuit, ok just a little nibble hoping, just hoping we were wrong. Who would have guessed that something so simple as a biscuit could be messed up by a great chef who gets published in such a popular magazine, it happens I guess. Here is the recipe I usually use with great success and happy faces each time.
Biscuits Supreme as per Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook 1968
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cream of tartar
2 t. sugar
1/2 cup chilled butter
2/3 cup cream
Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, cream of tartar, and sugar; cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk all at once; stir only till dough follows fork around bowl. Turn out on lightly floured surface; knead gently. Pinch off enough dough to make a 2 inch ball. Roll gently between your palms and place on a baking stone. Once all are rolled then bake for 10-12 minutes in 450 degree oven until golden brown and cooked through (watch closely so they don’t burn.) Makes about 8 biscuits depending on the size you pinch off. I always double recipe. The key to light and flaky biscuits is to mix until they just come together, no more.
For the strawberries- Wash, hull, and slice one pound strawberries and mix with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar. Set out at room temperature until they render their juices.
For the cream- Whip 2 cups fresh whipping or heavy cream with one packet “Whip It” and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar until cream is thick and set. Chill until ready to use. “Whip It” is in a small blue packet usually found in the baking isle, it is made by Dr. Oetker and keeps the cream from becoming watery the next day. Although the packet says to whip with one cup cream I like to use 2-3 cups cream. When done with one cup the cream takes on a gel-like texture but with more cream the “Whip It” helps it to set up nicely and remains creamy.
To assemble the Shortcakes- Slice the biscuits open and place on pretty serving plates. Top with strawberries and their juices. Top with whipped cream and serve. Then cheer loudly.