Last spring, we had one of our parish priests over for dinner. He’s a young guy, and was thrilled when I made his favorite dessert…..he claimed it was the best strawberry shortcake ever. I gave him the recipe and he set out to find the elusive pastry blender…unsure of exactly what this mystery item looked like. After checking the appliance aisles of numerous retailers he called a parishioner who brought him one of hers. He was amazed when he realized he owned one himself, but called it a tuna masher…used only to make tuna salad. He went on to make this dessert a number of times….the ultimate compliment for a baker! That shortcake with white chocolate whipped cream has always been my go to recipe…but when I saw a Cook’s Illustrated version, I had to compare…no special equipment needed…just your fingers~
The Indiana strawberry season was short this year due to monsoon-like rains and then record heat. I bought 2 large containers of sweet Indiana berries at our nearby produce stand…and when the boys saw them, they immediately requested shortcake. They gave this version high praise…so now I have two company worthy recipes.
Strawberry Shortcake…adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
3-4 cups fresh strawberries, 1 cup crushed, the rest sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) frozen butter
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half and half
1 egg white, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon Demerara sugar (regular sugar may be substituted)
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, optional
Mix crushed and slice berries with sugar. Let sit while preparing biscuits.
Preheat oven to 425º.
Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and sugar in a medium bowl. Using the largest holes on a box grater, grate frozen butter into dry ingredients. Toss butter with flour, then using your hands, rub the butter into the dry ingredients till mixture looks like cornmeal.