There are only a handful of American dessert staples, and most of them have found their way onto Reading and Recipes–chocolate-chip cookies, brownies, banana pudding, apple pie.
But the American dessert staple for early spring has to be Strawberry Shortcake. During strawberry season when I was growing up, my mom would make a large buttermilk biscuit in a cake pan, slice it in half horizontally, layer in the strawberries fresh-picked from the garden on the lower half, put the other half of the biscuit on top, put a large bowl of fresh-whipped cream (ladled off the top of the unhomogenized whole milk) alongside, and turn us kids loose on that delight. And she would do this daily for what seemed weeks on end! It wasn’t the tidiest dessert to serve or eat, but then kids don’t care about that sort of thing!
So in homage to that childhood memory, and in recognition of the start of the traditional strawberry season (quietly forgetting that strawberries are now available year-round), we’re posting Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcakes as this week’s recipe. The biscuits are single-serving size, and thus neater and easier to serve and store; but the flavor and smell and colors of this spring staple are every bit as enticing as those cake-sized mountains of springtime joy from yesteryear.
So make your own fond memories now with these Buttermilk Strawberry Shortcakes from Reading and Recipes!
1/2 cup all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled
3 Tablespoons buttermilk*
1 1/4 cups sliced fresh strawberries
4 teaspoons strawberry jam (optional)
In a small bowl, combine sliced fresh strawberries and 2 teaspoons of granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
When ready to make shortcakes, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar, and salt to a food processor. Pulse until dry ingredients are combined. Add the chilled butter to the food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Add the buttermilk to the food processor and pulse until the dough is moistened.
Divide the dough into two. Place biscuits on a nonstick cookie sheet. Brush each biscuit with a little bit of buttermilk and sprinkle with remaining teaspoon of granulated sugar. Bake shortcakes for 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.
When ready to serve, split the warm biscuits in half. Spread 1 teaspoon of jam onto each half. Top bottom half of the shortcake with fresh strawberries and whipped cream. Place other half of shortcake on top. Serve immediately.
Makes 2 shortcakes.
*Buttermilk is highly recommended, but you can use regular milk or dairy-free milk if you do not have buttermilk on hand.
**Feel free to use whipped cream out of a can or Cool Whip. If you want to make homemade whipped cream, beat 1/4 cup whipping cream until soft peaks form. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #9, audio © Jeffrey Anderson
Two Sisters Times Two, Serial #9, text © Jeffrey Anderson