Apparently, the cool wet spring we've had is good for one particular crop, strawberries. The season usually ends in late-June but may last until sometime in July this year thanks to a bumper crop. The farm sent us three pints in our CSA box last week. They are smaller than the berries we often see in the store from places like California but the taste is so superior. I seriously can't remember the last time I had strawberries that tasted this good. We've been eating them sliced on vanilla ice cream & in the morning on oatmeal but last night Matt asked for a Strawberry Shortcake.
He told me to just get those little yellow round sponge cakes from the store but I knew that wasn't a real shortcake. Shortcake should be a flaky, sweetened biscuit & that's what I was going to make.
These are a snap to make. The only trick is to make sure to keep your butter cold. I'll be making them again & again this summer to top with whatever fruit is in season.
2 T cold unsalted butter
1/2 c flour
1/8 t salt
3/4 t baking powder
3/4 t sugar
3 1/2 - 4 T half & half
Preheat oven to 450.
Dice the butter into about 1/4-inch pieces. Put it in the freezer while you prepare the dry mixture.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder & sugar together. Using two knives or a food processor cut the butter pieces into the flour mixture. Work until its about a course corn meal texture. Do not allow the butter & flour to form a paste.
Add in 3 1/2 T of the half & half. Stir with a folk just until moistened. If it appears to be too dry add a little more half & half. Use your hand to knead the dough 5 or 6 times in the bowl. Don't over work it or the butter will get too warm.
On a cutting board flatten the dough with your hand to a 5 x 2 1/2 rectangle. Cut in half to form two squares. Place about an inch apart on a baking sheet lined with a silicone pad or parchment paper.
Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove to a rack to cool. Split in half with a fork to serve. We like it layered with fruit & fresh whipped cream.
Makes 2 cakes (this is easily doubled for 4)