Since I was raised in New England with its four distinct seasons, summer foods and dishes meant many things to me, but one always stood out — Strawberry Shortcake. It just doesn't seem like summer without it.
My mother made the best Strawberry Shortcake (it was my grandfather's favorite) and she, of course, made her own biscuits.
They are not too hard to make and are so much better than store-bought. Try this recipe. You can't mess up the biscuits as there is no rolling, cutting or shaping.
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
4 T sugar
½ tsp. salt
4 T unsalted butter, cut into cubes
¾ cup light cream
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse/process until the butter is completely incorporated into the flour mixture. (If you don't have a food processor, put all the ingredients into a large bowl and use a pastry knife or pastry blender to incorporate the butter into the flour mixture.)
Transfer the flour mixture from the food processor to a mixing bowl. Stir in the cream, egg and vanilla. Mix with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined, but don’t over mix.
Don’t worry — the biscuit dough will be very, very sticky.
As best as you can (wet hands), divide the dough into 6 portions and plop them on a cookie sheet fitted with a piece of parchment paper. They will look like 6 freeform, but rounded mounds.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 16 minutes. Transfer immediately to a wire rack.
About 4 cups sliced fresh strawberries mixed with 3-4 T sugar – let sit in the refrigerator for a few hours to become juicy.
Real whipped cream:
1 pint whipping cream
1 T sugar
½ tsp. real vanilla extract
With electric beaters, beat the cream, sugar and vanilla until medium peaks form.
For each serving, take one biscuit and cut in half. Some of my relatives like to lightly spread the biscuit with softened butter. On top of one half with the cut side facing up, smother with about ½ cup of strawberries and juice. Add the other half of the biscuit as the top and add a few more strawberries. Top with a big dollop of whipped cream.
For smaller-sized desserts, serve half of the biscuit with strawberries and whipped cream on top. This version makes 12 portions.