This traditional Anglo-saxon dessert is a springtime classic: ripe strawberries and freshly whipped cream are folded inside a slightly-sweet, scone-like biscuit. In this version, I use both fresh and cooked berries, and added a twist of basil to keep things interesting. You can prepare the biscuits and the cooked berries a day in advance, but I recommend assembling the rest of the dessert right before serving.
Strawberry Shortcakes with Basil
- ¼ cup (50 g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
- 6 tablespoons (90 g) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 cup (230 g) heavy cream
- 1 egg
Berries and Cream
- 1½ pounds (about 700 g) fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 2 sprigs basil (optional)
- 2 cups heavy cream
For the biscuits: Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
In a food processor, pulse 50 g sugar, baking powder, salt and flour until combined. Add cold butter chunks, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal but with some small chunks of butter remaining. Pour cream over flour mixture, and pulse until some large clumps begin to form.
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for one minute, then pat it out to about 3/4 inch thickness. Using a 2.5-inch biscuit cutter, cut out 8 rounds and transfer them to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make an egg-wash by combining 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of water, and beating with a fork until well combined. Brush the tops of the biscuits with the egg wash and transfer them to the preheated oven. Cook until tops are golden brown and biscuits are cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
For the berries and cream: Divide the strawberries in half: use any bruised or ugly berries to make the compote, and reserve the fresher ones to use fresh. Combine half of the strawberries with 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let compote cool.
Meanwhile, toss basil, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and the other half of the strawberries in a medium bowl and let marinade for 10–15 minutes. Discard basil.
Using an electric mixer, beat cream and remaining 1 Tbsp. sugar to soft peaks, about 4 minutes. Split shortcakes and fill with berry compote, whipped cream mixture, and macerated strawberries. Serve immediately.