This timeless dessert is a sweet sign that summer’s coming
“The true shortcake is neither bread, nor cake, nor pastry, though bearing what might be called a ‘differing likeness’ to each. It is the modern form of the pandowdies of our grandmothers.”
– May 1894 issue of The New England Kitchen
The “short” in shortbread has nothing to do with height, but is derived from the 15th-century British usage of short, akin to crumbly, which is the result of adding fat to flour, hence “shortening.”
Strawberry season in Texas begins in April, making it the perfect time for strawberry desserts, including the classic shortcake.
5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1⁄2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 1⁄2 tablespoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 cup cold, unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 large eggs
2 1⁄4 cups whipping cream divided
1⁄4 cup sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
Stir together first 3 ingredients, let stand 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Combine flour, 1⁄2 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl, cut butter into flour mixture until crumbly.
Stir together eggs and 3⁄4 cup whipping cream, add to dry ingredients, stirring until just moistened.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead 3 or 4 times. Pat dough to 1⁄2-inch thickness, cut with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. Place shortcakes on an ungreased baking sheet.
Bake at 425 F for 10-12 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Beat the remaining 1 1⁄2 cups whipping cream at medium speed with an electric mixer until foamy, gradually add 1⁄4 cup sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Stir in vanilla.
Split shortcakes. Place 1 cake bottom on each of 8 individual serving plates. Spoon half of whipped cream over the shortcakes. Top with strawberry mixture and dollop with remaining whipped cream. Add cake tops and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Phil Newton is a Galveston baker/cook. He’s the owner/operator of Stiglich Corner with partner Cindy Roberts.