What’s not to love about strawberry shortcake? It’s one of those desserts that’s stood the test of time. Last week was my son’s 15th (!) birthday. His request for breakfast … you guessed it: homemade strawberry shortcake. While not a regular on our breakfast menu by any means, you only turn 15 once, so what the heck.
How did strawberry shortcake become popular?
I recently read an article by Gil Marks on Tori Avey’s blog about the history of strawberry shortcake in America. I was fascinated to read that with the transcontinental railroad in America, strawberries became more widely available starting in 1869. By transporting strawberries across the country on ice, they became more accessible to households around the country. Additionally, advances in home refrigeration made whipped cream more available. Strawberry shortcake became so popular, people would host strawberry shortcake parties to kick-off the start of summer. There’s even a National Strawberry Shortcake day on June 14! I’m adding that one to my calendar….
The recipe below uses a food processor to make the shortcake dough. Anytime I can use an appliance to do the work for me, I’m a happy girl! I bet those 19th century home bakers would have loved to have gotten their hands on a food processor for this dessert!
Strawberry shortcake directions
First, wash, hull and slice the strawberries. Stir in the sugar, cover and refrigerate while you make the shortcakes. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. In a food processor, pulse the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt until combined. Add butter pieces and pulse until pebbly. Next, add the half-and-half and egg to the food processor. Process until the dough forms a ball.
Turn dough onto a floured surface and pat into a 9 by 6-inch rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a floured 2 3/4-inch round cookie cutter or upside-down glass, cut dough into six rounds. Place shortcakes on prepared baking sheet. Brush tops with the egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until shortcakes are golden brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for about 10 minutes.
While shortcakes cool, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase mixer speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. To assemble, cut shortcakes in half. Spoon berries over each bottom. Add whipped cream and cap with the shortcake tops. Serve immediately.
- 8 cups strawberries, hulled
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups flour
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 1 egg
- 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream, chilled
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Mash 3 cups of the strawberries with a potato masher. Slice the remaining strawberries and stir them with the mashed berries along with the sugar. Set aside at least 30 minutes.
- Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, pulse the flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, the baking powder and salt until combined. Add butter pieces and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
- Add the half-and-half and whole egg to the food processor. Mix until well combined.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently.
- Pat the dough into a 9x6 triangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Using a floured glass (about 2 3/4 diameter), cut the dough into six rounds. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Bake until shortcakes are golden brown, about 12-14 minutes.
- While shortcakes cool, whip the cream, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Increase the mixer speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1-3 minutes.
- When shortcakes have cooled, split them in half horizontally. Spoon a portion of the berries over each bottom, add a dollop of whipped cream and cap with the shortcake tops. Serve immediately.