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The best part of summer is the fresh produce. I love how each month brings a new berry into rotation. And even though berries of all types are available throughout the year, eating a fresh berry that is ripened on the plant is simply unbeatable.
Growing up, during strawberry season, I remember Mom always used to keep a bowl of sliced berries in the refrigerator and a shortcake on the stove. How idyllic does that sound? But it’s true! Mom always knew that you have to enjoy the most of the berries while they’re fresh! I’ve tried to carry that philosophy into my own life and this strawberry shortcake recipe is one way to achieve that!
What is a shortcake?
In America, a shortcake is a cake with a crumbly light texture. The “short” comes from an English word for something that was “crisp,” usually from the use of fat such as lard.
During strawberry season, shortcakes are made from biscuits that are just a bit sweet, but function as a perfect base layer for ripe strawberries. Like all biscuits, these start with butter worked into the flour to create a light and crumbly texture. To help create layers, the dough is pressed into a rectangle, then cut and folded onto itself to create layers, similar to what’s done with a puff pastry.
What are macerated strawberries?
Maceration is a technique used to soften and slightly break down fresh berries, traditionally using sugar or salt. Once fresh berries are sprinkled with some sugar, the juices in the berries release and create a quasi-sauce.
Instead of adding sugar and masking the fresh flavor, I always add a splash of Limoncello (lemon liqueur). The Limoncello acts as a maceration agent and draws some of the juices out. It also adds a nice sweet brightness to the berries.
Watch how to make this strawberry shortcake
Strawberry Shortcake with Buttermilk Biscuits
- 2 cups flour
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 8 tbsp butter
- ⅔ cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp turbinado sugar
- 2 cups strawberries
- 2 tbsp Limoncello
For the biscuits
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix to combine. Cut the butter into ½-inch cubes and add to the flour. Using hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles wet sand with pieces of butter no bigger than the size of a pea.
- In a measuring cup, combine the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Whisk to combine. Add to the flour and butter mixture. Using a fork, mix together the dough. When the mixture begins to hold together and is very shaggy, pour onto a well-floured surface. Knead together until a dough is formed.
- Once formed, press the dough into a large rectangle. Fold the rectangle in thirds as you would for a letter. Press into a 12×8-inch rectangle.
- Cut into 8 biscuits and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in preheated oven until golden, 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes.
For the strawberries
- In a medium bowl, hull and slice the strawberries. Add the Limoncello and stir to coat berries. This can be made up to two hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
- Slice biscuit in half. Add desired amount of berries. Top with whipped cream.