Nothing says summer like a batch of warm freshly baked shortcakes drenched with fresh local strawberries and topped with whipped cream. This particular recipe for my gold standard shortcakes is surprisingly easy to make, all you really need to do is stir some cream into some flour and bake away. And there’s lots of room for improv when you’re making shortcake!
Yield: 12 average sized biscuits and 2 cups or so of whipped cream
For the nutmeg cream biscuits
4 cups (1 L) of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (60 mL) of sugar
2 tablespoons (30 mL) of baking powder
1 tablespoons (15 mL) of ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of fine salt
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) of whipping cream
1 teaspoon (5 mL) of pure vanilla extract
For the orange whipped cream
1 cup (250 mL) of whipping cream
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of white sugar, brown sugar or honey
1 tablespoon (15 mL) of Grand Marnier, Triple Sec or your favourite liqueur
1/2 teaspoon (3 mL) of pure vanilla extract
For the sweetened strawberries
2 quarts (2 L) of fresh local berries, halved
A few spoonfuls of white sugar or honey
Preheat your oven to 450ºF (230ºC) degrees. Turn on your convection oven if you have one. Line a baking pan with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
Start by making the biscuits. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Pour in the cream and vanilla extract, and stir until it comes together and form a loose dough. Briefly knead by hand just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated and you can pick up the whole mass.
Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface. Pat it down by hand until it forms a rough disc about 1 inch thick. At this point you may simply cut the disc into wedges or you may use a set of biscuit cutters, a glass or a can to cut circles. You may also brush the tops with a bit of milk and lightly dust them with white sugar for a fancier look and a bit of crunchy texture.
Transfer the biscuits to the prepared baking pan. Bake until the biscuits have risen, are golden brown and are no longer doughy, about 12 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool as long as you can stand it.
Next make the sweetened berries by tossing them with the sugar. Let rest for a few minutes or longer. The sugar will draw moisture from the berries and form a flavourful syrup.
Finally, make the orange whipped cream. Using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a whisk and a strong arm, whip together the cream, sweetener of your choice, liqueur of your choice, and vanilla extract until pillowy smooth and can just hold its shape, 3-5 minutes depending on the method.
To assemble the shortcakes, cut each biscuit in half horizontally and place on a serving plate. Generously pile on the strawberries on the bottom half and top with the other half of the biscuit. Scoop a big dollop of whipped cream on top. Serve and share!
Photo courtesy of Village Feast
My favourite dessert is a thick slice of just-baked pie, with apples fresh from our local orchard, and still warm from the oven. But I’m always careful to save a thick wedge because I believe apple pie is at its best the next morning for breakfast. I prefer an easy-to-make butter pastry crust. Its secret is frozen butter, which adds flavour and is much easier than shortening to “cut” into the flour.