Nothing brings out my inner food nerd like fresh Oregon strawberries. I felt I owed them a great shortcake recipe and came up with this classic, buttery biscuit on their behalf. Of course, you can use any kind of strawberries, but if you can find them locally grown, you’re going to have a sweeter berry and a happy farmer.
There are a few things to keep in mind when making a shortcake recipe like this one, which is really a sweet biscuit. First of all, you want your ingredients, specifically your butter and milk, to be cold. Second, the method by which you incorporate the flour with the butter is important, so I first fully combine the flour with half the butter then add the remaining butter allowing for some pea-size chunks. Put simply, loose flour combined with liquid can get pasty, but chunks of butter allow for little pockets of flakiness. Last but not least, do not overmix the dough. All of these tips will help yield a lighter, flakier shortcake. I apply the same rules when I make pie crusts and scones.
I bought a flat of strawberries at a local farmstead, Paradise Produce, yesterday. I plan to make some freezer jam and freeze what I don’t use for smoothies. Also, my neighborhood farmers’ market opened today, and it was so lovely to see smiling faces without masks. It’s just a block from my house, so I look forward to summer Saturdays perusing the stands and bringing home fresh produce and meat from local farms. I’m sharing this thoughtful blog post from Joel Salatin, aka The Lunatic Farmer, on the importance of supporting our small farms. I’m as guilty as anyone opting for the convenience of Costco or the supermarket, but I’m going to make a concerted effort to be more mindful of my purchases moving forward.
If you are part of my Recipes & Ramblings community (and if you’re not, I encourage you to join us!), you may have seen that I experimented with a couple gluten-free versions of this recipe yesterday. While I did end up with an edible version using sorghum flour, it still needs tweaking before becoming blog-worthy, so I’ll revisit it in the future. Most of my family politely ate it, but they really wished I’d made this version. They’ll be much happier tonight.
Classic Strawberry Shortcake
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cold
1/2 cup milk, cold
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
turbinado sugar (optional)
4 cups sliced strawberries
2 – 4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
whipped cream (I used Land o’Lakes whipped heavy cream, it’s a good cheat if you don’t want to whip your own)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or coat it with cooking spray.
In the bowl of a food processor or a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Give it a couple pulses in the food processor or whisk together in the bowl.
Cut the butter into small pieces.
Add half the stick of butter to the flour mixture and pulse or mix with a pastry cutter/fork until the flour is fully combined with the butter. Add the remaining butter. If using the food processor, give it just about ten pulses, then transfer to a large mixing bowl. If you’re using a pastry cutter/fork, work in the butter but be sure and leave some small chunks.
Next, using your fingertips, work the dough just enough to reduce the larger chunks of butter to pea-size (or smaller) pieces.
Combine the milk and vanilla extract, pour the mixture into the bowl, and stir (a wooden spoon works well) until it is fully combined with the flour/butter mixture, forming a sticky dough.
Spoon onto the prepared baking sheet in six equal parts. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar (if you like).
Bake in preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes, baking times may vary depending on your oven. The edges should be golden brown.
Slice the strawberries. Add sugar to your taste. These Oregon strawberries were so sweet they didn’t need any but normally I would add a couple tablespoons.
Slice the cooled shortcakes in half and fill each with 2/3 cup of sliced strawberries. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.
When you have the best and tastiest ingredients, you can cook very simply and the food will be extraordinary because it tastes like what it is. Alice Waters