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Everyone has those busy nights when you need a quick dessert. If you have strawberries on hand this will do, it’ll even impress.
My son wanted strawberry shortcakes for his birthday dinner this year. I grabbed a just-add-water biscuit mix. I could have added a couple tablespoons of sugar to sweeten the biscuits but I didn’t bother. Biscuits are close to authentic shortcakes and shortcakes are not very sweet.
(If I wanted something more authentic than biscuits, I would add sugar and instead of water use whipping cream as a liquid. I’ve done that but there is so little liquid in your biscuits, the whipping cream doesn’t make much difference.)
Slice the strawberries, whip the cream, and then pop the biscuits in the oven just as you finish the meal. You’re almost done. If you have a strawberry slicer, you’ll cut your prep time at least in half. If you have a just-add-water biscuit mix, you’re really set. I think you can be done in about 20 minutes.
By the way, here’s the quick, easy way to hull your strawberries. Grab a sturdy plastic straw and push it up through the core of the berries. I understand the straws at the burger places are perfect.
I like this better than strawberries and cream piled on soft, white cake. I love the smoothness of the whipped cream with the crispness of the biscuits. Serve them while they’re still warm and you’ll have the contrast of warm against the cool of the whipped cream. Delightful.
Consider using a flavored whipped cream like Lemon or Orange Cloud whipped cream. It’s a nice touch. Recipes follow.
If you don’t have a biscuit mix handy, you can make your shortcakes from scratch.
Classic Shortcake Recipe (Scratch)
2 cups pastry or unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter cut in pieces
2 large eggs whisked with 3 tablespoons of cold milk added
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry knife or two sharp knives. Keep cutting until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
Add the egg and milk mixture. Stir until the dry ingredients are moistened but not smooth. Turn the dough onto a lightly-floured counter and roll or pat the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 3-inch circles or squares and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until the tops begin to turn brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Note: Like biscuits, working the dough too much will leave the product tough, not melt-in-your-mouth tender.
Three Other Ways to Bake Shortcakes/Biscuits
- Make them as drop biscuits. The dough must be moist enough to drop from a spoon and pat into a flat disc. Add more milk as needed to get the desired consistency.
- Make them as cut-out biscuits. The dough must be slightly firm to cut into shapes on the counter. Sprinkle a little flour on the counter or add flour to the dough if needed. Don’t add so much flour that the dough is firm like sugar cookie dough. Pat the soft dough out on the counter and cut into three –inch discs. If the dough is wet and the shape is a little ragged, it’s perfect.
- Make one large shortcake. Spread the dough into an eight-inch cake pan or nine-inch pie pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
More about Whipped Cream
And we love to tinker with the whipped cream. No spray cans here. We dump a carton of whipping cream in the bowl of our stand-type mixer and whip away with the whip attachment. Maybe we’ll sweeten it with brown sugar instead of granulated and we’ll experiment with flavors adding a flavor other than vanilla. Caramel and butterscotch whipped cream is outstanding with strawberries but we may like Lemon Cloud Whipped Cream even better.
We use these flavored whipped creams not just on the strawberries but on any dessert that calls for a whipped cream topping. Usually we just scour through the cupboard to see what sounds good with whatever we’re making. You can use almost any flavor and can even make chocolate whipped cream. You’ll see how in this article.
(There is an amazing array of flavors available once you get outside your grocery store. I just counted what’s in the cupboard in our test kitchen—44 different flavors.)
Never settle for plain whipped cream. It’s so easy to make very special whipped cream. Often, it’s as simple as adding a flavor to the whipped cream. Sometimes you’ll want to sweeten your whipped cream with brown sugar instead of granulated sugar. We often add lemon zest to lemon whipped cream and orange zest to orange whipped cream. The zest adds a little flavor and the colored flecks are pretty.
Here are a few sample recipes to get you started. You will find outstanding and hard-to-find flavors at our store.
Lemon Cloud Whipped Cream
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon flavor
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar, flavor, and zest and continue whipping.
Caramel Whipped Cream
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon caramel flavor
Whip the cream to soft peaks. Add the sugar and flavor and continue whipping.
Enjoy your scrumptious shortcakes!
About the Author
Dennis Weaver has burned food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of “How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking” available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon. Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and six beautiful granddaughters.