These biscuits get their light, tender texture from buttermilk and baking powder, and their rich flavor from an egg, cream, and lots of butter. This simple dessert is best made at the height of strawberry season, using the juiciest, sweetest strawberries you can find.
For the strawberries
1 lb. ripe strawberries, hulled (about 4 cups)
2 Tbs. granulated sugar; more to taste
For the biscuits
9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for rolling
1/3 cup plus 1 Tbs. granulated sugar
2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
4 oz. (1/2 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 large egg
1/4 cup heavy cream; more for brushing
1/4 cup buttermilk
For the whipped cream
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbs. granulated sugar
Prepare the strawberries
Put one-third of the berries in a medium bowl and, using a potato masher, crush them into a chunky purée. Slice the remaining berries 1/4 inch thick and stir them into the mashed berries along with the sugar. Taste the berries, adding more sugar if necessary. Let the berries sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Make the biscuits
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 425°F. Line a large heavy-duty baking sheet with parchment.
Sift the flour, 1/3 cup of the sugar, the baking powder, and baking soda into a large bowl. Stir in the salt. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.
In a small bowl, beat the egg and heavy cream with a fork. Mix in the buttermilk. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the cream mixture. Mix with the fork until the dough is evenly moistened and just comes together; it will still look a little shaggy. Gather the dough and gently knead it three or four times. If the dough seems dry and doesn’t form a cohesive mass, work in more cream, 1 tsp. at a time.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and roll it into a 3/4 -inch-thick disk. With a sharp 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, press straight down to cut the dough into rounds and lift straight up to remove (don’t twist the cutter or it will seal the sides of the biscuits and interfere with rising). Transfer the rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Gather the dough scraps, gently knead them together, re-roll, and cut out more biscuits until you have a total of 6.
Lightly brush the biscuit tops with cream (about 1 Tbs.) and sprinkle with the remaining 1 Tbs. sugar. Bake, rotating the baking sheet once, until the biscuit tops are lightly browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the biscuits cool slightly while you whip the cream.Whip the cream
In a large, chilled metal bowl, whip the heavy cream and sugar to soft peaks with an electric hand mixer. (Use immediately or refrigerate, covered until ready to serve.
Assemble the shortcakes
Using a serrated knife, split the warm biscuits in half horizontally and transfer the bottoms to 6 dessert plates. Spoon about three-quarters of the macerated berries and their juice evenly over the biscuit bottoms. It’s OK if some of the berries spill out onto the plate. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and cover each with a biscuit top. Spoon more berries and cream over each shortcake and serve immediately.
Make ahead tips
The biscuits can be baked 10 to 12 hours ahead and reheated in a 350°F oven before serving. The strawberries can be macerated up to 2 hours ahead. The cream can be whipped up to 2 hours ahead and refrigerated, covered. If necessary, lightly rewhip before using.
Calories (kcal): 630; Fat (g): 42; Fat Calories (kcal): 370; Saturated Fat (g): 26; Protein (g): 7; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12; Carbohydrates (g): 59; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 330; Cholesterol (mg): 165; Fiber (g): 3;
Susie Middleton is editor at large for Fine Cooking magazine.