Summertime means super weather, sunshine, and of course, shortcakes.
However, I have decide to spin this ubiqutious dessert on its head.
Primer and Proper strawberry gems become happy drunken sailors as they submit themselves willingly to drinks of orangey booze. Should any of them teeter, they are cushioned by soft, cakey, cocoa shortcakes. They are given a jolt of sobriety with tangy sour cream hidden in a guise of fluffy whipped cream. If you happen to find creme fraiche, by all means, use that instead. Either way, you’ll feel like sailing away of this superb summery strawberry shortcake.
Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes
Recipe by Lori Longbotham from her book, Luscious Berry Desserts
(she did not split the cakes and put the berries and cream on top instead, but I thought they looked a lot prettier with the sandwiched appearance)
For the Biscuits:
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dutched process but I’m sure you could use natural too, oh, and sift it)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (I used half light brown sugar and half granulated)
1 tbsp baking powder (I added an 1/8 of a tsp because I accounted for the heaviness the b.sugar could have on the cakes)
1/8 teaspoon salt (used 1/4 tsp of kosher salt)
1 cup chilled whipping cream (35%)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Strawberries:
2 pounds small strawberries, hulled, quartered (about 3 1/2 cups)
8 tbsp powdered sugar, divided (sift it)
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur
1/2 tsp finely grated orange peel (orange zest.. makes life easier and tastes just as great)
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup chilled whipping cream (35%)
1/2 cup chilled sour cream ( full fat)
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line baking sheet with parchment. Whisk first 5 ingredients in large bowl. Using electric mixer, beat cream and vanilla in medium bowl until firm peaks form. Stir cream into flour mixture until moist clumps form. Transfer mixture to lightly floured surface and knead gently until dough forms ball, about 10 turns. Pat dough out to 3/4-inch thickness. Using 3-inch cutter, cut out biscuits (cut them into square-ish pieces for a more au naturale look). Gather dough, pat out again, and cut out total of 6 biscuits. Place biscuits on prepared baking sheet.
Bake biscuits until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean, about 15 minutes (do not overbake!). Transfer to rack; cool. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.
Stir strawberries, 6 tablespoons powdered sugar, and next 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Cover and chill at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours (do this first.. I don’t know why this set of directions comes after the biscuit steps).
Using electric mixer, beat chilled whipping cream, sour cream, and remaining 2 tablespoons powdered sugar until soft peaks form. Place 1 biscuit on each of 6 plates. Place large spoonful of berries with juices atop biscuits. Top with whipped cream. Pass remaining berries alongside.
Yield: Makes 6 servings
(should you have any leftovers… which I highly doubt– but if you do, I have found that they are still as delicious the next day. Just wrap in tin foil and stick it in the oven at 350F for a few minutes to revive its flavour and texture. Slather some cream cheese on it and you have yourself a sumptuous breakfast treat)