This Classic Strawberry Shortcake recipe is peak summer: plump, juicy and sweet fresh berries, flaky and buttery shortcake biscuits and fluffy whipped cream make the ideal warm-weather treat.
Is there anything better than summer recipes? The weather is warm, the produce is fresh and vibrant, and everyone just wants to be outdoors.
This recipe comes from a fun new cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen, The Complete Summer Cookbook. ATK sent me the cookbook to review and it’s a great summer cooking resource.
The cookbook has 500 recipes. The recipes make the most of the season’s warm weather, lots of grilling, salad, and sandwiches recipes. Pressure cooker and slower cooker recipes.
Picnic ideas, ways to use summer’s glorious produce, and so much more, including one of my favorite chapters, summer desserts which included this delightful homemade strawberry shortcake recipe.
Making Classic Strawberry Shortcake
There are three components to this classic strawberry shortcake recipe: the strawberries, macerated in sugar to make a thick, syrupy fruit sauce. The homemade biscuits, flaky and soft. And finally, light and airy whipped cream.
Macerate the Strawberries
Each recipe in the cookbook has a Why This Recipe Works section which explains what makes the ATK recipe special. For this recipe, ATK wanted a juicy strawberry filling that would stay put in between the biscuits.
Their solution was to mash some of the strawberries into a chunky sauce, sliced the rest, mix in some sugar. Then let the berry mixture macerate, exude the flavorful juices, for at least 30 minutes.
I use a similar technique when I make Strawberry Crepes, except I use frozen strawberries for the mashed berries instead of fresh berries. Both fresh or frozen berries will work for the mashed berries in this recipe as well.
Make the Biscuits
Next, start your biscuits. You can use a food processor, as written in the cookbook. But a pastry cutter will also work.
When mixing the egg and half and half mixture into the dry ingredients, you only need to mix until just combined. Overmixing can cause dense and tough biscuits. The shortcake dough will be a little sticky when it’s ready to be cut.
To cut the biscuits, generously flour a work surface and dump the dough straight from your mixing bowl onto the counter. You really want to handle the dough as little as possible. Then use a spatula to scrape any remaining dough from the bowl. Dust your hands and fingers with a generous amount of flour and knead the dough a few times, until it holds together.
Flatten the dough into a circle about 1 inch thick. Before cutting, put about a cup of flour onto a plate nearby. This is to coat the edge of your biscuit cutter in flour before cutting the dough. The flour prevents the dough from sticking.
Tip: When cutting biscuits, be sure not to twist your biscuit cutter, which can flatten your flaky layers. Instead just cut straight down and up.
Before baking, brush the top of each biscuit with a beaten egg white for shine. If you like, you can also add a sprinkle of sugar on top. I use sugar crystals because they add a nice sweet crunch to the shortcakes.
Homemade Whipped Cream
To make light and airy whipped cream, ATK recommends whipping the ingredients on medium-low speed to start to ensure that the sugar and vanilla are evenly dispersed in the cream.
Then simply increase the mixer speed until light and airy. The cream is done when you remove the whisk, stand it upright and the cream clings to the tines in soft upright peaks.
Assembling and Serving Classic Strawberry Shortcakes
When ready to assemble and serve dessert, use a fork to divide the biscuits in half. Place a bottom half on each plate and pile high with a scoop of strawberries. Next add a dollop of whipped cream and finish your masterpiece off with the biscuit top.
Of course, you can also make this into a fun DIY dessert spread by bringing everything to the table and letting friends and family serve themselves.
Can I Make Strawberry Shortcake Ahead of Time?
This is one of those recipes that is really best enjoyed soon after making it. However, you can store leftover biscuits in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature, or up to one month in the freezer. To serve, refresh thawed biscuits in a 350°F oven for 3 to 5 minutes or 7 to 10 minutes for frozen biscuits.
Leftover whipped cream and strawberries can be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator. When you’re enjoying the leftovers, you may want to give the cream another thorough whip at the last minute, as it can fall while it rests.
Here’s a helpful tip from the cookbook: Whipped cream can be refrigerated in a fine-mesh strainer set over a small bowl and covered with plastic wrap for up to 8 hours.
More Fruity Summer Desserts
Strawberries may take the shortcake, so to speak, but there are plenty of other delicious summer fruits to turn into desserts. Here are some of our other favorite recipes to try:
- Red White and Blue Cheesecake in a Jar has it all: strawberries, blueberries and a no-bake Oreo cheesecake filling.
- Raspberry White Chocolate Rugelach Bites balance sweet white chocolate with tart raspberries in a delightful two-bite dessert.
- Lattice Topped Peach Raspberry Pie from That Skinny Chick can Bake is a true celebration of summer fruit in a homemade pie crust.
Classic Strawberry Shortcake
- 2 ½ pounds strawberries hulled (8 cups), divided
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces and chilled
- ⅔ cup half and half
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg white beaten
- 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
- Prepared whipped cream for serving
- Crush 3 cup strawberries with a potato masher. Slice remaining berries and stir into crushed berries with ⅓ cup sugar. Let sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally until fruit begins to release its juices, about 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pulse flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until combined. Scatter butter pieces over top and pulse until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, about 15 pulses. (Don’t over mix.) Transfer to a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, whisk half-and-half and egg together. Add half-and-half mixture to flour mixture and stir with rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn mixture onto lightly floured counter and knead lightly until dough comes together.
- Using your fingertips, pat dough into a 9 by 6-inch rectangle about 1 inch thick. Cut out 6 biscuits using floured 2 ¾-inch biscuit cutter. Pat remaining dough into 1-inch thick piece and cut out 2 more biscuits. Place biscuits on parchment-lined baking sheet spaced 1 inch apart.
- Brush top of biscuits with egg white and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake biscuits until golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Let biscuits cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes.
- Split each biscuit in half and place bottoms on individual serving plates. Spoon strawberry topping over each bottom, then top with a dollop of whipped cream. Cap with biscuits tops and serve immediately.
Disclosure: America’s Test Kitchen sent me a free copy of The Complete Summer Cookbook, but all opinions expressed are always my own.