I celebrated a birthday last week. We had a low-key get together at home with some friends and there was strawberry shortcake. One of my most favorite desserts of all time, and this recipe in particular is worth sharing. It comes from Rustic Fruit Desserts, a book I come to again and again. Yes, for this shortcake but especially for a stellar blueberry cobbler with a cornmeal biscuit (it is worth buying the book for that recipe alone).
I'm getting excited about all the berry pies, crumbles and cobblers to be made in the coming months - one of my most favorite things about summer.
STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE Adapted slightly from Rustic Fruit Desserts
2 pints ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 1/2 C (12 1/2 oz) flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 C (2 1/2 oz) yellow cornmeal
2/3 C (4 1/2 oz) sugar + 1/3 C (1 3/4 oz) to top shortcakes
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 C heavy cream
4 tsp lemon zest
4 tsp orange zest
1/4 C (2 oz) unsalted butter, melted
Whipped cream for serving
Toss the strawberries in a bowl with the sugar and lemon juice. Mash a small amount of the berries so they release their juices. Place berries in refrigerator for 30 minutes to macerate.
Mix together flour, baking powder, cornmeal, sugar and salt in a bowl, then stir in cream, and lemon and orange zests until just combined. (I had to add a touch more cream to get it to come together.)
Form dough into a ball and turn out onto a floured board. Knead a few times until it holds its shape but be careful not to overwork it. Cut dough into 8 equal portions and roll into balls. Dip each ball into the melted butter, then dip half of the ball into a small bowl with 1/3 C sugar. Place each ball on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, sugar side up. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
To serve, cut the cooled shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon berries on top of the bottom half and top with whipped cream. Lay top half of the shortcake loosely over the berries and cream. Serve immediately.