Mmmmm.... I LOVE strawberries. Nothing beats buying a 4 pound crate of strawberries for $6. I've never made strawberry shortcake before, so I thought this was the perfect opportunity to give it a try. We had friends over for dinner, and everyone was quick to finish dessert. I LOVED the vanilla/strawberry combination. However, the shortcakes themselves were a little more crumbly than I had hoped for.
VANILLA STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES (Adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup white sugar + an additional tablespoon or 2
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold (1 sticks) butter, cut into small pieces
1/3 cup heavy cream + an additional tablespoon
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Seeds from 2 vanilla beans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In a food processor, pulse flour, baking powder, sugar, and the salt until combined. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal but with some pea-size bits of butter remaining, 10 to 12 times.
In a medium bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup cream, the eggs, vanilla & vanilla seeds; pour over flour mixture, and pulse until some large clumps begin to form, 25 to 30 times.
Using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, gently pack dough, invert, and then tap out onto a baking sheet. Repeat to form 6-7 biscuits.
Brush tops of cakes lightly with cream. Sprinkle sugar on top (I used vanilla sugar for this step). Bake until lightly golden, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool, about 15 minutes.
Let shortcakes cool completely. Slice in half horizontally. Spoon strawberries & their liquid onto 1/2 of the cakes, top with whipped cream, and the other 1/2 of the shortcake.
VANILLA STRAWBERRY TOPPING
1-1.5 pounds strawberries, sliced
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
Combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl and cover. Place in fridge for several hours, stirring occasionally.
VANILLA WHIPPED CREAM
I highly recommend actually whipping heavy cream for this - so much better than "whipped topping." I have a whipped cream dispenser (like the coffee shops have), and flavored mine with about 1 teaspoon vanilla. If you are whipping the heavy cream in a bowl, feel free to add a tablespoon or 2 of sugar to sweeten it.