In this strawberry shortcake that feeds a crowd, a tender biscuit cushions a cloud of lightly sweetened cream and a tumble of juiced-up berries.
Technique tip: To bring out the best in the fruit, we tossed it with sugar, lemon juice and a generous pinch of salt.
Swap option: Peaches, plums, or nectarines can be swapped in for the strawberries if you prefer.
- 4 cups cake flour (not self-rising), such as Swans Down, plus more for dusting
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 5 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ sticks cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1¼ cups buttermilk
- Heavy cream, for brushing
- Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Berries and cream
- 4 cups sliced strawberries (from 2 quart containers)
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- Scraped seeds from 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons pure vanilla paste
- 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Freeze-dried strawberries, finely ground, for serving (optional)
For the biscuits:
1. Preheat oven to 450°F. In a bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add butter-milk; stir until just combined.
2.Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; knead once or twice to help it come together. Pat into a 10- by 7-inch rectangle, about 3/4-inch thick. Cut lengthwise into thirds, then crosswise into fourths to create 12 equal pieces. Using a spatula, transfer to a 9½- by 12½-inch rimmed baking sheet or other pan, arranging pieces to roughly re-create original rectangle but leaving 1/2 inch between them.
3. Brush tops with cream; sprinkle generously with sanding sugar. Bake, rotating sheet once, until golden brown and cooked through, 25-28 minutes (gaps should be gone, so you have a single but easily separable biscuit). Let cool on sheet 10 minutes, then carefully lift with 2 large spatulas onto a wire rack. Let cool almost but not quite completely, about 1 hour.
For the berries and cream:
Meanwhile, combine strawberries, granulated sugar, salt, and lemon juice; let stand, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 30 minutes. Beat cream with vanilla and powdered sugar on medium-high speed to stiff peaks.
Carefully slide biscuit onto a serving platter. Spoon 2 cups whipped cream over biscuit; top with 3 cups berry mixture, drizzling with some juices. Sprinkle with berry powder; serve immediately, with remaining whipped cream and berries on the side.