Once summer is on the horizon, and delicious, sweet strawberries become available again, one of my favorite desserts to make is strawberry shortcake. They are a perfectly light and refreshing way to end a hot summer meal, but still rich and decadent enough to be a bit indulgent.
For my shortcakes, I use the Dreamy Cream Scones recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I tried that recipe out a couple years ago, promptly fell in love, and it has been my go-to recipe since then. I use it as a base to make all kinds of scones, simply by changing up the mixed in ingredients – lemon zest and poppy seeds, dried cherries and walnuts, orange zest and candied ginger, etc. The possibilities are endless! However, my favorite way to make these scones is just plain – they are rich and flaky and delicious, all on their own.
These scones are really quick and easy to make, and the method is similar to the method used to produce a light, flaky biscuit – so get ready to practice your skills at cutting butter into your dry ingredients!
1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
6 T sugar, divided
1/2 t salt
5 T butter, very cold, cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 cups heavy whipping cream, cold, divided
1.) Start by preheating your oven to 425°. Then wash and cut your strawberries, and place them into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle them with 1 T sugar (or less, if your strawberries are super sweet), and mix everything up until all the sugar has dissolved. Set them to the side.
2.) In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, 3 T sugar, and salt. Add your butter to this mixture, and quickly cut it in using a pastry blender, two butter knives, or your hands; keep working until there are bits of butter the size of small peas throughout the mixture. (A better description of cutting in can be found in my buttermilk biscuit post.)
3.) Once the butter is cut in, pour in one cup of your heavy whipping cream. Stir the mixture together with a fork, until everything is well-combined and moist.
4.) Lightly sprinkle your work surface with flour, and then dump your dough out onto the floured surface. Working quickly, press the dough together with your hands so that it makes one large mass (as opposed to a big crumbly mess). Once it’s a solid lump of dough, quickly shape it into a square about 1/2″ thick. Remember that you want your hands to interact with the dough as little as possible; the heat from your hands will start to warm up the butter in the dough, and you really want it to be super cold. If you think you’ve spent a little too much time shaping your dough at this point, you can wrap it up in saran wrap and toss it into the fridge for 10-15 minutes before baking, so the butter will firm back up.
5.) Using a knife or a bench scraper, cut your dough into 8 equal rectangles. Place the scones onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat liner, and bake for 12-15 minutes, until the scones have risen significantly and are lightly browned all over.
6.) While the scones bake, it’s time to make your whipped cream. Start with one cup of very cold heavy whipping cream in your bowl, and begin with your hand mixer on low (if you want to put your mixing bowl and hand mixer beaters into the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you start working on the whipped cream, that will help, too). As your cream starts to thicken a bit, slowly increase the speed on your mixer.
7.) Once your heavy cream is whipped to the point of forming soft peaks (after about 7-8 minutes), add in 2 T of sugar, and continue mixing. Whip until the cream has tripled in volume, and holds fairly stiff peaks.
8.) When your scones are done baking, let them cool on the baking sheet for a couple minutes, and then move them to a wire rack to cool completely.
9.) Once the scones are completely cool, you can slice or break them in half, and load them up! Pile a big scoop of strawberries and a big scoop of whipped cream onto the bottom half of each scone, and then top it all with the top half of the scone.
This is a great recipe to make for a summer barbecue, or just for a sweet ending to a Sunday night dinner at home. If you have leftover scones, they are great with a cup of coffee or tea, just topped with a little butter or honey. Store any leftovers in an airtight container or bag; this will cause them to lose their crisp edges, but a couple minutes in a 350° oven will freshen them right up.
Thank heaven for summer strawberries,