What are strawberry shortcakes?
Unlike British shortcakes which are crumbly, short, buttery biscuits, this recipe is an American bake which is more like our English scones.
They are made with a dough of flour, sugar, butter and double cream, the last of which is an unusual ingredient but gives the shortcakes a lovely soft texture. Bicarb is added to give an extra lightness to the dough.
How do you make strawberry shortcakes?
- As in scone-making you should aim to handle the dough as little as possible, as this can make the shortcakes tough and chewy if it is overworked.
- It’s best made in a food processor if you have one, pulsing together the flour and butter base. It’s also important to keep everything as cool as possible, so we include a step to chill the butter and flour after pulsing.
- Once you’ve brought the dough together for cutting, have a shallow bowl of extra flour ready that you can dip your cutter into. This will help release the dough in perfect circles.
- To prevent sticking, line large baking sheets with baking paper and make sure there is plenty of space between the shortcakes as they will expand.
How do you prepare strawberries for the shortcakes?
The classic filling for these is a whipped vanilla cream (sometimes called Chantilly cream) and strawberries. For the strawberries, cut off the green stalks and down into the white cores a little, then slice. To bring out the strawberry flavour, you can sprinkle with a couple of pinches of caster or icing sugar, toss then leave to macerate for 15 minutes.
How do you make whipped cream for strawberry shortcakes?
When whipping cream, it’s best to use cream that has come straight from the fridge. You will need to use double cream or whipping cream as it needs a high fat content in order to whip properly. Single cream or low-fat cream won’t work for this.
Put the cream in a large bowl with the vanilla and icing sugar, and start whipping on a medium speed with electric beaters. Keep going until the cream starts to thicken but keep an eye on it and stop occasionally to lift the beaters out the bowl to check how thick it is. You don’t want to overwhip as it can become grainy or even separate and turn to butter if you go too far.
If you think you have overwhipped, take the beaters from the bowl, scraping the excess cream back in. Add 1-2 tbsp of milk and use a spatula to whip into the cream, adding a little more milk if needed. You should be able to soften the cream back to softly whipped.
What tools do you need to make strawberry shortcakes?
How do you store shortcakes?
If you want to make the shortcakes ahead of time it’s best to bake them, then store in an airtight container for a couple of days before filling. You could also freeze them for up to three months. Defrost at room temperature overnight before filling, following the recipe.
- self-raising flour 325g
- caster sugar 80g, plus extra for sprinkling
- bicarbonate of soda ½ tsp
- unsalted butter 130g, diced and chilled
- lemon 1, zested
- double cream 200ml, plus extra for brushing
- egg 1, beaten
- double cream 300ml
- vanilla extract ½ tsp
- icing sugar 2 tbsp
- strawberries 250g, hulled and thinly sliced
- strawberry jam 100g, warmed in a small pan