…because there’s no reason I can’t have my cake and drink it too…
This recipe came to me out of literally nowhere. I had the strawberries because they’re in season here in Ohio and there’s an amazing market by us called Ohio City Provisions (story on them up-and-coming in the Cleveland tab on the blog by the way. Because they’re just awesome.) I was thinking of making more of my strawberry jam, since I’m obsessed with it, when I saw the bottle of champagne in the refrigerator door. Ipso facto- Strawberries and Champagne shortcakes.
If you have a chance to get fresh strawberries when they’re in season, I cannot stress trying them enough. If they're local and small-looking, don’t be discouraged. The bigger ones are usually pumped full of water and lackluster in taste anyway. The smaller ones, however- those are the ones that ruin you for strawberries for the rest of your life. They’re PACKED with sweetness, flavor and color.
I’ll be doing a post here on why you should buy local and eat seasonally whenever possible. It’s not just a snobby thing that self-proclaimed “foodies” say. There's truth to it that bears repeating.
Anywhoo…back to the shortcakes. I cant and in no way will claim this to be MY shortcake recipe. I made a vow when I started this blog that I’d always give credit where credit was due. And in this case, Bon Appetit magazine published this in an issue several years back, calling it the best shortcake recipe EVER. They also had a few tips that intrigued me- such as using cooked egg yolks IN the shortcake batter because it prevented gluten development and kept the consistency of the dough perfect. I made it once and fell completely head-over-heels in love with it. It’s the recipe I crave like nobody's business and that I will continue to make over and over again until the day I die. You have to give them credit- it really IS the best recipe ever, and I will attest to that. I will always tell you which recipes Ive actually taken the time to make and that feel are really, really worth your time, money and energy. I’ve spent plenty of time making recipes that don’t live up to their potential or the effort I spend making them. So you can trust that if I tell you this is worth it, it’s because I’ve already done it..and it is.
So grab yourself a quart of the cutest little strawberries you can get your mitts on, quarter them (or halve them if they’re super small) and put them into a bowl with some sugar, lemon juice and a splashy-splash of your favorite champagne, prosecco, rose, whatever you like! Let them get all cozy and marinate together while you make the whipped cream.
For the whipped cream, I always chill my mixer bowl AND whisk for about a half hour before using them. It makes your whipped cream whip up faster and it will keep longer with working time than you’d have with a warm or room-temperature bowl. When baking- two ingredients you can’t buy or cheat on are time and temperature. Patience though, grasshopper. Good things come to those who wait!
Strawberries & Champagne Shortcakes
2 hard-boiled egg yolks, cooled
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons semolina flour or fine-grind cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into pieces
⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
Sanding or granulated sugar (for sprinkling)
1 Pint Strawberries, quartered or halved
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ C. Granulated sugar (For strawberries)
¼ C. Champagne/Prosecco/Rose
FOR WHIPPED CREAM:
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
¼ C granulated sugar (for whipped cream)
¼ tsp almond extract
Pulse egg yolks, both flours, baking powder, salt, and granulated sugar in a food processor to combine. Add butter and pulse until only pea-size pieces remain. Drizzle in ⅔ cup cream, then pulse 2–3 times to barely incorporate. Transfer dough to a work surface and gently fold on top of itself several times just to bring it together and work in any dry spots.
Using a 2-oz. ice cream scoop, make 6 balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Do not flatten. (Or measure out mounded scoops with a ¼-cup measuring cup.) Cover and chill until cold, 20–25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°. Brush tops of shortcakes with remaining 2 Tbsp. cream and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden and sides are firm to the touch, 28–32 minutes. Let cool.
Place mixing bowl and whisk attachment in the refrigerator to allow them to chill.
Place quartered strawberries in a large bowl and cover with the sugar, lemon juice and champagne. Let these macerate for at least 15-30 minutes.
For whipped cream:
In the bowl of a stand mixer with the chilled bowl and whisk now attached, put in the whipping cream, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste and almond extract. Whisk on med-high for 3-5 minutes until soft peaks form and the mixture is whipped.
Assembly: Slice the shortcakes lengthwise in 2-3 levels. With a slotted spoon, place a layer of strained strawberries over the bottom layer of shortcakes, followed by a layer of the whipped cream. Continue the shortcake/strawberry/whipped cream one more time.
Serve immediately, preferably with a glass of champagne!
Shortcakes can be made a day ahead of time and kept in a resealable container. You can also make the whipped cream ahead of time, I piped mine on with a zip-top bag with one corner cut a little bit. The strawberries should be made as close to serving time as possible though, as they start to get soggy over time marinating in the champagne.
Shortcake recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
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