An impressive dessert, despite the fact that they are so simple! I believe these are the best Shortcakes I’ve ever had!
This recipe is from the cookbook The Best Recipe, by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. They test each recipe different ways to come up with the best result, and explain their process before the recipes. It’s a handy reference, and some of their recipes are truly the “best.”
Start the recipe by preparing the fruit, then set the fruit aside while preparing biscuits to allow the juices to become syrupy.
1 recipe Fruit Fillings for Shortcakes
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface and biscuit cutter
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons sugar, divided
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half or milk
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
2 cups Whipped Cream
1. Prepare fruit and set aside to macerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.
2. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, salt and 3 tablespoons sugar in work bowl of food processor. Scatter butter pieces over mixture, tossing to coat butter with dry ingredients. Cut butter into dry ingredients with five 1-second pulses. (I don’t know if it was just because I made a double batch, but it took me a lot more than 5 pulses). Continue cutting in butter until flour is pale yellow and resembles coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about four more 1-second pulses (again, it took me a lot more). Turn mixture into medium bowl.
3. Mix beaten egg with half-and-half; pour into bowl with flour mixture. Combine with rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn mixture onto floured work surface and lightly knead until it comes together.
4. Pat dough with fingertips into 9 by 6-inch rectangle about 3/4 inch thick, being careful not to overwork dough. Flour a 2-3/4-inch biscuit cutter; cut out 6 dough rounds. Place rounds 1 inch apart on small baking sheet; brush tops with egg white and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. (Can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 hours before baking.)
5. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Place baking sheet on wire rack; cool cakes until warm about 10 minutes.
6. When biscuits have cooled slightly, look for a natural crack around the circumference of the biscuits. Gently insert your fingers into the crack and split the biscuits in half crosswise. Place each cake bottom on individual serving plate (or bowl). Spoon portion of fruit and then dollop of whipped cream over each cake bottom. Cap with cake top and serve immediately.