Once spring arrives, our thoughts often turn away from the comfort foods we’ve enjoyed throughout the winter to lighter fare. Even our desserts move away from the heavier breads, pies and cakes, and delectable spring flavors tempt our taste buds. This month, we’re sharing a strawberry shortcake recipe from Bon Appétit that offers a light yet delicious departure from the heavier, more sugary desserts of winter. The surprise note of basil creates an interesting flavor experience for you and your guests to enjoy.
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (and more for surface)
- 6 tbsp. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1½ pounds fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered (about 3 cups), divided
- 4 tbsp. sugar, divided
- 2 sprigs basil
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tbsp. crème fraîche
For the shortcakes: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Whisk sugar, baking powder, salt and two cups flour together in large bowl. Work butter into dry ingredients until texture of coarse meal, with a few pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add cream and mix until dough just comes together.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, pat into 12×4” rectangle about ¾” thick. Cut rounds with 2 1/2 “ biscuit cutter, to make 8 rounds. Whisk egg and 1 tbsp. water in small bowl. Transfer rounds to parchment-lined baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash. Bake until tops are golden brown and shortcakes are fully baked, 15-20 minutes. You can bake shortcakes up to two days ahead – just make sure you wrap them tightly and store at room temperature.
For the berries: Coarsely chop 2 cups of strawberries (use bruised and imperfect ones). Cook these with 2 tbsp. sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally until berries are softened and mixture is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Let cool.
Toss basil, 1 tbsp. sugar and remaining 1 cup strawberries in a medium bowl. Allow to rest until fruit releases juices, about 10-15 minutes. Remove basil.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream, crème fraîche and 1 tbsp. sugar to soft peaks, about 4 minutes.
Split shortcakes and fill with berry compote, whipped cream mixture and macerated strawberries.
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