Spring keeps flirting with us. But if you look at our list of local pick-your-own farms, you’ll see that strawberries have definitely arrived.
Whether you make the trek to a field or a farmer’s market, stop by a roadside stand or pick up a box at a supermarket, this is the time to eat your fill of berries. There are all kinds of forms of shortcake, but our favorite is the biscuit-style. It’s substantial enough to hold up under lots of whipped cream and strawberries, and it gives you a chance to practice your biscuit skills.
We have thousands of recipes in our recipe collection. Use the blue search form to find uses for strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and all the other things coming as the weather warms up. In the meantime, here’s a classic biscuit-style shortcake to get you started.
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Southern Biscuit Shortcake
Adapted from Martha White.
2 cups self-rising, Southern-style flour
Flour for rolling out pastry
2 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup half and half
6 cups sliced strawberries
Sugar to taste
1 cup whipping cream, whipped with 1 tablespoon sugar
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
Combine flour and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. With pastry blender or two knives, cut butter into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add half and half; stir lightly with a fork just until flour is moistened. (Dough will be moist.)
Sprinkle a work surface with flour. Turn out dough and pat out just until smooth. (If necessary, sprinkle dough with a little flour to keep your hands from sticking.) Roll gently to about 1/2 inch thick. Using a floured biscuit cutter or knife, cut into desired shapes. Place about 1 inch apart on baking sheet. Bake for 9 to 12 minutes, until golden brown.
Wash, hull and slice strawberries while biscuits are baking. Toss with sugar and let stand at room temperature until strawberries are juicy. Beat whipping cream until it starts to hold its shape; add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form (when beaters are lifted, peaks will fold over but hold their shape).
Serve biscuits warm or at room temperature. Split or cut biscuits open. Top bottom layer with strawberries and a little juice. Replace top and spoon on more berries, topping with a dollop of whipped cream.
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.