It’s that time of year again when prices start to come down on delicious, bright berries. Through the winter in New England strawberries are almost always available, but they don’t always have flavor – most times, in January and February they taste more like mush. What I can’t wait for is June – because in June the Strawberry U-Pick at CN Smith Farm in Bridgewater Massachusetts opens for business. Last year I was too lazy to pick, and I regretted it. I’m out of jam, I have no frozen strawberry jewels in the freezer, and so I was forced to settle for those tasteless, bruised up berries that are shipped in from California, all icky, often moldy, and watery.
I picked some farm stand berries up today on my way home from work. I didn’t know what I would make with them, but Strawberry Shortcakes sound wonderful right about now. Let’s do this, okay?
adapted from Joy the Baker
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
3 tablespoons vanilla sugar
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2+ cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons vanilla sugar (for sprinkling)
Slice the strawberries.
Sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
Whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla together.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, vanilla and heavy cream.
Cut the cold butter into small pieces and use your fingers to incorporate into the flour mixture.
Make a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and pour in the wet ingredients.
Mix just until the dough comes together.
Dump out onto a floured surface and bring it together with your hands.
Knead once or twice then pat the dough out into a rectangle roughly 7 x 4 inches.
Cut the dough into 6 equal pieces.
Place the shortcakes onto parchment lined baking sheet.
Brush the tops of each shortcake with a bit of cream and sprinkle with vanilla sugar.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until nicely browned.
Remove from oven. Cool completely.
Cut the shortcakes in half, top with a few spoonfuls of berries and juice, whipped cream and the biscuit top.