All About Strawberry Shortcakes

Strawberry shortcake may be a 200 year-old American invention. With the advent of chemical leavenings in the early 1800's, biscuits became popular. Since strawberries have always been readily available, it is likely that biscuits and strawberries have been together for quite some time. Before the middle of that century, strawberry shortcake recipes were showing up in the recipe books.

Today strawberry shortcakes are made from every recipe from biscuits to white cake and even angel food cakes but the original recipes always called for biscuits. Usually these biscuits are made richer with dairy products and sugar. This is an original biscuit-like shortcake. It is rich and tender and flaky and very, very good.

What follows are a strawberry shortcake recipe, a blueberry cream cheese shortcake recipe, and a chocolate caramel raspberry shortcake recipe.

Three Ways to Make Shortcakes

1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.

Strawberry Hints

Always use fresh, succulent, ripe strawberries. Choose plump looking strawberries with green caps and avoid those that look bruised or mushy. Do not wash them or remove the caps until they are ready to use. Strawberries should be used promptly; they will not stay fresh long.

Original Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (or more--see above)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter cut into chunks
1 large egg
3/4 cup cream (or more--see above)

1 tablespoon melted butter or cream for brushing
2 tablespoons large crystal sugar such as turbinado sugar

2 pints ripe strawberries
1/4 cup sugar

1 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons sugar

Directions

For the shortcake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the ingredients just stick together. Drop into biscuits on a greased cookie sheet and then pat with the back of a spoon to make to about 3/4-inch thick. To make cut-out biscuits, pat the dough into a sheet on a floured countertop and cut into three inch shapes with either a knife or a cookie cutter.
4. Brush the tops with the melted butter or cream. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for about fifteen minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Serve while still fresh and warm.

Note: For the best results, always serve shortcake fresh. The dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to two hours while waiting to bake.

For the strawberries:

Wash and slice the strawberries. Sprinkle the strawberries with sugar and toss to coat.

For the whipped cream:

Combine the whipped cream, two tablespoons sugar, and the vanilla in a chilled bowl. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the additional sugar if desired.

To serve:

Split the warm biscuits open. Fill with berries and whipped cream. Top with additional whipped cream and berries.

Chocolate Caramel Raspberry Shortcake Recipe

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or more--see above)
1/4 cup cocoa
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter cut into chunks
1 large egg
3/4 cup cream (or more--see above)

1 tablespoon melted butter for brushing
2 tablespoons large crystal sugar such as turbinado sugar

1 1/2 pints ripe raspberries

1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2-4 tablespoons sugar

Chocolate syrup
Caramel syrup

Directions

For the shortcake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Combine the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the ingredients just stick together. Drop into dough on a greased cookie sheet and then pat with the back of a spoon to make to about 3/4-inch thick. To make cut-out biscuits, pat the dough into a sheet on a floured countertop and cut into three inch shapes with either a knife or a cookie cutter.
4. Brush the tops with the melted butter. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for about fifteen minutes or until done. Remove to a wire rack. Serve while still fresh and warm.

Note: For the best results, always serve shortcake fresh. The dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to two hours while waiting to bake.

For the raspberries:

Wash the raspberries. Garnish the dessert with the raspberries.

For the whipped cream:

Combine the whipped cream, two tablespoons sugar, and the vanilla in a chilled bowl. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Sweeten with the additional sugar if desired.

To serve:

Split the warm biscuits open. Fill with berries and whipped cream. Top with additional whipped cream and berries. Drizzle with chocolate and caramel syrup.

Blueberry Cream Cheese Shortcake Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour (or more--see above)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter cut into chunks
1 large egg
3/4 cup cream (or more--see above)

1 tablespoon melted butter or cream for brushing
1 1/2 pints ripe blueberries
2 tablespoons sugar

2/3 cup heavy cream
1 eight-ounce package cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Directions

For the shortcake:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
2. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the cream mixture into the well. Mix with a fork until the ingredients just stick together. Drop into biscuits on a greased cookie sheet and then pat with the back of a spoon make to about 3/4-inch thick. To make cut-out biscuits, pat the dough into a sheet on a floured countertop and cut into three inch shapes with either a knife or a cookie cutter.
4. Brush the tops with the melted butter or cream. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake for about fifteen minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack. Serve while still fresh and warm.

Note: For the best results, always serve shortcake fresh. The dough can sit in the refrigerator for up to two hours while waiting to bake.

For the blueberries:

Wash the blueberries. In a small bowl, smash the berries, add the sugar, and stir. Cover the bowl and heat it in the microwave until the berries are hot and starting to bubble.

For the whipped cream:

Pour the whipped cream into a chilled bowl. Whip on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and lemon zest and beat until combined and fluffy.

To serve:

Split the warm biscuits open. Fill with whipped filling. Top with additional whipped filling and berries.

See photos and the printable version of All About Shortcakes.

For more recipes like this visit The Prepared Pantry's Recipe Box.

© 2005 The Prepared Pantry

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