During the peak of their season fresh perfectly ripe strawberries are just about the most delicious things that you can eat. And what better way to eat them than by indulging some strawberry shortcakes. They’re not something that you come across that often in the UK, probably because we’re so fond of our own cream teas (and rightly so!). Incidentally you cannot begin to imagine how excited I am about having unfettered access to clotted cream again in a few weeks…
To be fair there really isn’t a whole heap of difference between a shortcake and a traditional British scone. They’re larger (yay) and a little bit more rich, lighter and fluffier but that’s kind of it. When you infuse them with fresh rosemary and spike the strawberries with gin though they make a delicious change to your classic cream tea.
200g plain flour
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar (plus a bit extra for finishing)
pinch of salt
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
150g ripe strawberries
1/2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp gin
whipped cream, creme fraiche or even clotted cream if you’re feeling especially decadent
Pre-heat your oven to 220°c and lightly grease a baking tray.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and then lightly rub the butter into this with your fingertips. Mix through the rosemary.
Beat together the buttermilk and egg and then use this to bring the dry ingredients together to form a soft dough. You may not need all of the liquid so just add it a bit at a time. Try not to over work the dough, or your shortcakes will become tough.
Pat the dough out onto a lightly floured surface so that it’s about 1″ thick. Use a pastry cutter to stamp out your shortcakes, being careful not to twist it. Re-roll the off cuts of dough as necessary.
Place the shortcakes onto the prepared baking tray and brush the tops with any of the remaining egg/buttermilk mixture (or just buttermilk if you used all of the egg mix in the dough) and then sprinkle them generously with sugar. Bake them for 12-15 minutes and then leave them to cool on a wire rack. They should be lightly golden once they are baked.
Slice or chop the strawberries and mix them with the gin and sugar. Let them macerate for 25 minutes whilst the shortcakes cool.
To serve, slice each shortcake in half, pile on some of the strawberries and add a dollop of cream. Gorgeous.