Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake is really a rich baking powder biscuit; in this case, a very rich drop biscuit with a high portion of butter and two egg yolks. You can’t get more old-fashioned than that. And, as they could only gild a lily in the good old days, I suggest you butter the biscuits, too. You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten shortcake this way — and, very important, straight from the oven. These would thrill everyone at a summer party.
- 1 quart strawberries
- 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
- Kirschwasser or framboise liqueur to taste (optional)
For the shortcake:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 egg yolks
For the cream:
- 1 pint heavy cream
- 1 or 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional)
- Softened butter (optional)
To prepare the berries, wash, hull and either cut them in half or slice them. Toss with the sugar and optional kirschwasser. Do not let them stand more than several hours.
To make shortcakes, into a mixing bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and rub the dry ingredients with the butter between the fingertips until the mixture looks like coarse meal.
In a small bowl, with a fork, beat the milk and egg yolks together. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and, still with a fork, mix gingerly until the dough binds together.
Onto a lightly greased or non-stick baking sheet, drop the dough off a large spoon, dividing the dough into 8 neat but irregular mounds. Space the shortcakes at least 2 inches apart.
Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the biscuits are tinged with brown.
While the shortcakes are in the oven, in a large bowl, whip the cream. When it is starting to mount, add a tablespoon or 2 of sugar and the optional vanilla. Whip just until the cream is thick but still loose enough to roll off a spoon.
To assemble: When the biscuits are done, let them cool a minute, then split them in half with a fork, as you would an English muffin. Butter the shortcakes lightly, if desired, placing the bottom of each biscuit on a serving plate.
Cover with the berries and some of their juice, then the top halves of the biscuits.
Spoon the whipped cream over each shortcake and top with a few more berries.
To prepare in advance: The berries must be macerated no more than a few hours, but the biscuits can be prepared and refrigerated on the baking sheet, covered with plastic, for 1 day. The cream should be whipped at the last moment.
Variation: Naturally, you can use any macerated or poached fruit, instead of strawberries.