I whipped up this three-way strawberry shortcake recipe for a promotion sponsored by Driscoll’s. It features home-made buttermilk biscuits and three different preparations of strawberries: quick-pickled, macerated and fresh. 12 servings.
For the biscuits:
2 c unbleached all purpose flour (I use King Arthur)
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
¼ t baking soda
½ t salt
8 T unsalted butter (1 stick), frozen
½ c buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
For the strawberries:
6 c ripe strawberries, each strawberry cut on the bias into 3-4 pieces with maybe a few whole strawberries for garnish
½ c sugar
1 T lemon juice
½ c cider vinegar
Rosemary, small sprig or 1 t dried
For the whipped cream:
½ pint heavy cream
2 T good floral honey
1 t vanilla extract
Method: The night before serving, quick-pickle about 1 c of strawberries. Bring water and cider vinegar to boil in a saucepan with rosemary and half a dozen peppercorns. Cool and strain into a bowl with strawberries. Refrigerate.
Biscuits: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a half sheet or two quarter sheet pans with parchment paper or Silpat. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and 3 T sugar in a bowl or food processor. Cut butter into ½ inch cubes and add to dry ingredients. Pulse food processor or “cut” with pastry blender until butter is finely dispersed. Mix beaten eggs and buttermilk in a separate bowl and pour into dry mixture with butter. Blend quickly, just until dried flour streaks disappear. The dough will be very sticky. Using a tablespoon and your fingers dipped in water, transfer dough to sheet pan in clumps that are about 2 inches across and 1 ½ inches high. You want to end up with 12 clumps, evenly spaced on the sheet pan. Use your finger dipped in water to smooth them out so they are more biscuit-like. Bake approximately 18 minutes or until slightly brown on top, rotating pan halfway through. Cool about 10 minutes in the pan, then flip over onto a wire rack to continue cooling. The biscuits can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until needed; reheat in 350 degree oven for 10 minutes before serving (or zap them a few seconds in the microwave).
Macerated strawberries: Mix ½ c sugar and 1 T lemon juice in a bowl. Add 2 ½ c cut strawberries and toss to combine. Allow to macerate 15-30 minutes until a good amount of liquid is given off.
Whipped cream: Start with cold heavy cream and bowl and whisk or beaters that have been chilled in the freezer a few minutes. Whip cream until it starts to set up; add 2 T honey and 1 t vanilla extract; continue beating till it forms soft peaks.
Assembling the shortcakes: Slice each biscuit in half (if you make them in advance, do this before reheating). Place each pair of cut biscuit halves, sliced side up, on a serving plate. Drizzle a little of the liquid from the macerated strawberries onto each biscuit face. Evenly divide the macerated berries across the 12 servings, then add drained quick-pickled berries (if they taste too pickle-y to you, rinse in water and drain before using). Finish with 2 ½ c of fresh strawberries, cut on the bias. Spoon a generous amount of whipped cream onto each serving and top with a small whole berry as garnish if you like.